My Yearly Pink Soapbox – Reposted
Each October, I still have one or two Facebook friends post “pink parade” things on my wall. It’s not because I am a breast cancer survivor. It’s because of the post below.
In 2009, I had just re-entered the colon cancer game after 8 years in remission. At age 25, I was facing cancer yet again. Thankfully, only surgery was needed. But the emotions that came with it hit me harder than ever before. So when October rolled around that year and everything came out pink, I tried to funnel my opinion into the nicest way I could put it. And below is what came out (on my old blog.)
I wanted to make sure this post made its way to the Semicolon blog, so here it is re-posted. Also, it gives me goosebumps to see that at the bottom of the post, I had linked to a fellow Colondar model’s blog – Becca’s blog – where she wrote about the same topic. I had forgotten this until tonight. She passed away 6 months ago; I hung out with her mom this weekend. I re-post tonight in her honor. I met her only once, but her legacy ripples throughout our community.
I will say it again – I fully support breast cancer awareness. But I also support the other cancers. And hopefully one day, other organizations, sports teams, manufacturers and marketers will catch on too. Hopefully.
So with that – here it is. My yearly pink soapbox.
My Yearly Pink Soapbox
(originally posted Sunday, October 4, 2009)
Most of you’ve heard this rant before. But this year’s outrageous display of pink EVERYTHING has fueled the fire. It seems even more hyped this year. And it’s just Oct. 4th.
I’m not a cancer hater. Obviously, one is closer to my heart than the others. But I genuinely want the world to be rid of them all. I will state for the record, I support breast cancer awareness. I’ve got family and now two fellow ’09 Colondar gals who’ve fought it. But I support it just as much as I support lung cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, etc. Anyone have an idea what month brain cancer awareness is? Know what color represents lung? Understand the severity of pancreatic? Realize it’s just as important for MEN AND WOMEN to get frequent colonoscopies, especially after age 50, as it is for women to get mammograms? Shocker!
Maybe I wouldn’t be so turned off by the ridiculous pink ribbons on every product lining super market stores if I didn’t have a marketing communication background. I hardly believe it’s a coincidence that the target audience of most of those well-loved store brands are moms who manage the household and do the grocery shopping. How convenient, slap a pink ribbon on your product and give a few pennies to breast cancer research and you’ve got a loyal customer to your brand and more money in your pocket. As much as I’d love to believe it – I don’t think the pink’s there for the cancer stuff as much as it is the brand loyalty of the female customers. If that was the case, there would be blue stars all down the toilet paper aisle come March. But butts aren’t as fun nor pleasant to hype up than boobs, let’s face it.
My point is this: if you’re going to support a cause, support it through genuineness. Don’t have strings attached. Don’t stand behind the cancer cause to really make money or fluff up your brand. Don’t go get drunk with a team of people at a cancer crawl and feel better about it because you did it for “a great cause.” People are dying from this disease, it’s pretty serious. I urge companies and individuals to remember this as we use the “cause” to further our own agendas or pleasures. It can be seen as a slap in the face to many of the 10 million diagnosed each year.
You want to help promote cancer awareness? Get screened and tell somebody. Figure out your family history. Meet people who have been through it, and help them find ways to tell their story. Raise money for cancer societies. Wear the t-shirts, the bands, etc. But don’t think slapping a ribbon on something you’re trying to sell is going to cut it. Us survivors see right through it. And we’re not BUYING it.
Want more insight from another cancer survivor? Read fellow ’08 Colondar model Becca’s blog.