I Love Komen’s Pink Ribbons

My Name is Lisa—I ♥ Pink.

I’ve “met” a lot of awesome breast cancer survivors/bloggers since I started my blog.  The thing that’s so neat is that while we may not agree with the other’s point of view, we respect the person.  That just doesn’t happen in the real world, unfortunately.  Some of my favorite bloggers have pink-aversion.  I try to understand it, really I do, but I still ♥ Komen and pink breast cancer ribbons.

I’d like to present snippets of my fellow bloggers’ thoughts regarding “pink” because what they have to say needs to be heard.   I encourage you to read their entire posts so you have a full understanding of their opinions, because I’m only posting some parts pertaining to “pink.”  I  get what they are saying, but I can’t diss the pink, which I’ll explain below.

Stacey, Bringing Up GoliathMy brother asked if I’m anti-pink.  Not exactly.  Like so many these days, I’m against what “pink” has come to represent. The happy-go-lucky, early stage, still having fun, never sick, all is right in the world, let’s get coffee with perfect hair and makeup, cancer survivor.  My skin prickles at this unrealistic vision created by major marketing machines.

***

The thing is, it hasn’t worked.  Thirty years, no cure and more questions than answers.  The promise most of us grew up with, has yet to come true.  We’re still being told we have breast cancer.

Nancy, Nancy’s PointRecently someone said to me, I’m paraphrasing here, you bloggers need to be careful not to alienate people about pink. Most people are just trying to do the right thing. Most people are just trying to do something.

I get that.

Whenever I write a post I always try to bear this in mind. It is never my intention to put anyone down for buying pink stuff, wearing pink ribbons, running in races or donating to their favorite charity. I think doing any or all of these things is wonderful. In fact, if truth be told, I still like pink.

But turning everything pink this month is just not good enough!

Katie, Uneasy PinkI know why we would rather look at people in cute pink boas and capes racing for a cure instead.  I understand it way down into my gut.

***

The question is… do we care enough about REAL awareness?

***

That’s why I won’t wear the pink shirt.  That’s why I know we’re not racing for a cure.  That’s why I wanted to spit on all the teenage boys wearing their FBI – Female Boobie Inspector shirts at this year’s race.

None of it has anything to do with reality.

That’s why pink has me down this year instead of angry.

I can’t say it eloquently enough; I know what I feel in my heart.  Have I been pink-washed?  I don’t know.  Honestly, I was clueless about breast cancer and Komen five years ago, and I’m not sure I’m that much more informed now.  I just know I can never tell Lovely Daughter that the pink she wears every single day in October doesn’t mean anything.  It does; it means that, God-willing, she understands how important self-awareness of her body is to her future health.  It means she loves me and is aware, and acknowledges, the pain I’ve gone through.   Do I care if she wears a shirt that says:  Save the Ta-Tas?  Absolutely, positively not.   (By the way, those are her hands above.)  Did (or do) I expect cure for cancer in my lifetime?  No.  Would it be awesome?  It would be unbelievable.  So would a cure for AIDS.  So would ending world-wide hunger.  Could I tell the men and women below that the Komen Rally tennis tournament last Sunday meant nothing?  It meant everything to me; their generosity humbles me.  The women who walk the Race for a Cure as a member of “Lisa’s Ladies”?  You should be so lucky to have those friends in your life.  Do I think the money raised goes toward research and research only?  No.  Without marketing, funds are not successfully raised and without money being raised research is hindered.  Don’t tell me pink isn’t “real awareness.”  You are giving it attention (e.g., awareness), are you not?

To be angry about pink is a waste of good energy!  Comments such as, “pepto-pink sea makes me turn my head and shut my eyes,” ” Pink is covering up the reality of the disease,” makes me sad.  Pink isn’t offensive to me; anger about millions of people just trying to help by wearing pink is what is offensive to me.

Maybe I just have pink-colored glasses on all the time.  Maybe I wear it just for me and my fellow sisters; I hope they don’t think I’m not into “real awareness.”  I just know that if coloring my hair pink and marching down the streets of Little Rock with 55,000 “friends” helps in even a teeny, tiny amount to not only find a cure for cancer, but develop better chemo drugs, or provide a wig or scarf, or just make one woman perform a self-exam, then I will wear my pink ribbons.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah S @RunningOnWords
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 06:02:32

    The one problem I have with the pink stuff is a lot of the so-called charities don’t seem to donate any money to research. I think awareness is important and I would say that I think breast cancer has one of the most visible communities and certainly seems to generate the most awareness. I’d just rather buy pink things from charities that I’m sure will use my money for more than overhead. But I also think it’s great that you and your daughter like to promote awareness this way!

    Reply

  2. Lovely Daughter
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 12:28:02

    Love you Mommy! I do the self exams once a month and wear pink everyday in October not just to support you, but because people ask whats up with the ridiculous amounts of pink, and that gives me a chance to tell them about breast cancer awareness and risk prevention, which will hopefully turn into them taking step to do self exams and such. I got your back Momma! <3

    Reply

  3. Stacey
    Oct 09, 2011 @ 11:43:40

    Hi Lisa, I totally get your point and understand why you feel as you do. I agree with you on many points. I think awareness is a good thing and I don’t really have issues with the way the message gets out there. What bothers me and this is my take on it, is the movement seems to have gone too far over to awareness and less action is being given to research. I don’t like the message that early detection can be a “cure.” Not for most people and I think that gets forgotten. Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox here, but please know I’m happy you shared your opinion on this! My favorite thing about this whole “pink” community is the support we give to each other.

    Reply

    • Karma Per Diem
      Oct 09, 2011 @ 19:59:59

      What so nice Stacey, is that I really get your point as well. I really do wish I was better informed regarding funding for research, but alas, like most “pinksters” I am not! I just don’t want to ever give off the idea to people who support the “pink” that their money and supported is wasted and/or unappreciated… I sure don’t mean to imply that you or anyone else feels that way, but I do worry about those supporters…. You know I totally love reading your blog and receiving, at times, something that really makes me think! I heart you!! :-) Lisa

      Reply

  4. BreastCancerSisterhood.com
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 12:18:45

    I’m afraid the anti-pink movement will fracture the breast cancer community into lots of separate groups, with more infrastructures to finance, which means less money available for breast cancer research. Or, what if the general public decides not to contribute to “pink” because they’re afraid their dollars aren’t going to the right things? That’s why I’ve invited Komen to my blog this week, to begin an open dialog with the breast cancer community, to come together on our common ground of seeking a cure, not come with the purpose of defending our positions. Komen is the big dog on the pink fundraising block. The anti-pink movement has the potential to be very destructive!

    Reply

    • Karma Per Diem
      Oct 09, 2011 @ 06:08:31

      I agree with everything you’re saying. I also saw where you had invited Komen to your blog. I too am so concerned about the general public (/e.g.,/ supporters) deciding that supporting “pink” is a waste of money, which is so not true. Thank you for all you do Brenda, and I look forward to the dialog with Komen!

      Reply

  5. Sue
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 19:23:19

    Lisa,
    I love pink, but I had no idea there were people who were against it although I should not be surprised since there are members of the autism community who are against autism awareness month and there are too many who totally ignore bullying awareness. Wear you pink with pride my friend! I love your daughter’s bracelets, hand paint and her t-shirt too.

    Reply

    • Karma Per Diem
      Oct 08, 2011 @ 06:36:43

      I wish I were better informed to understand those who abhor the idea of “pink” but frankly I’m not…. However, I so understand and respect that they are much more knowledgeable about research than I, but I don’t want that to make those that are not feel uncomfortable about their support of all things “pink.”

      Reply

    • Lovely Daughter
      Oct 10, 2011 @ 12:25:16

      Thank you for loving my bracelets and such! :)

      Reply

  6. nancyspoint
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 11:59:23

    Lisa,
    I understand your viewpoint and also surprisingly maybe, I still love pink too! I really do.

    I have always said, I don’t care about the “pink hoopla.” Well actually, I do have some opinions on the sexualization aspects and a few other things too, but…

    Mostly, what I do passionately care about is the lack of inclusion of the mets community in all the “pinkness” and the deplorable lack of funding sent toward research. To me these two omissions are simply unacceptable. I stand by the words in my post. Also, I am certainly not anti-awareness, but awareness is simply not enough. Turning all things pink is not enough either.

    Like you, I appreciate all opinions. Thanks for sharing yours and for including my post above.

    Reply

    • Karma Per Diem
      Oct 07, 2011 @ 15:56:45

      Oh Nancy, you are so welcome. That’s what I really like about the mutual admiration and respect not only we survivors have for each other, but we bloggers share as well. I am so interested in reading what you, Stacey, and others say because usually it is a perspective that I hadn’t quite thought about, and I have to realize that we don’t all have the same experience. Also, it forces me take off those pink-colored glass for just a bit… and that is a good thing. Hugs, Lisa

      Reply

  7. Joyce
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 11:44:44

    Such an emotional and well-written post. Love you and everything you stand for…..

    Reply

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