Well, we've nearly made it. The 30th day of Pinktober. I've been in a little bubble at an artists' colony in Florida for much of it, but made my way into civilization a couple of times, and holy fuckballs. Pink ribbon cupcakes. Pink ribbon golf. Even the newspaper was dyed pink.
The thing about this awareness stuff, is that I think we're pretty aware that breast cancer, you know, exists. We know that women get mammograms. And that's pretty much where the message stops most of the time.
What we aren't aware of, many of us, is the reality of this disease. We're aware of be-pinked triumph over death, forgetting that it's temporary (like, for all of us). Forgetting that nearly 40,000 American women a year die from this disease.
Look at Angelo Merendino's stunning photographs of his wife Jen.
We aren't aware of the insidious sexism inherent in so many pink ribbon campaigns. Save the Tatas? I'd rather we saved the women. And those guys with the motorboating...let's just say I'd like to see them try to motorboat me. I think they'd take one look and my radiation-burned, caved-in chest and run screaming from the building.
Check out PolicyMic's article, Why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Actually a Huge Insult to Women.
We aren't aware of the creepy chemical/pharmaceutical game being played, in which companies make products that can cause cancer, and then turn around and sell you a treatment. I'm grateful to have these treatments, as they may have saved my life. But I'd also rather not have gotten cancer to begin with. We need SO MUCH MORE research into the environmental causes of cancer.
Read Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, and watch Pink Ribbons, Inc.
We're aware of breast cancer, as a thing, as a marketing campaign, but we're not aware of it as a reality. As an experience that takes over peoples' lives, as a disease that sometimes takes those lives outright. It's clear to me that the Pink Industrial Complex isn't interested in this part of the story, so it is up to us, as individuals, to make it known. I posted the other day a quote from Audre Lorde, but I think it bears repeating: "Silence has never brought us anything of worth."