Pink ribbon fatigue

ssp2 Pink ribbon fatigue
 Pink ribbon fatigue
westcoast breast cancer large pic 01 1024x715 Pink ribbon fatigueSo, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I hear that there is this crazy Facebook meme going around about women telling all and sundry where they like it.

I like it on the floor
I like it on the couch
I like it in the closet …

With the “it” being their purse.

What does it have to do with breast cancer awareness? Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Last year women were declaring their bra colors to show solidarity for the cause. Really? Is that the best you can do, ladies?

Share the color of your underwear and “support” breast cancer awareness?

Attach sexual innuendo to a purse and say you’ve done your bit to spread awareness?

What about sharing information about the disease? Actual facts instead of titillating personal information that no one cares about, but everyone snickers at?

What about telling people — in real life and online — how common and widespread the disease is? How about informing the men and women you know about how preventable fatality from this disease is?

Is that really too much to ask? Especially when it’s a cause you purportedly support?

While this whole Facebook nonsense gets me in knots, another thing that drives me absolute nuts is people asking me for donation and then judging me when I politely refuse.

At Staples yesterday, the cashier said to me, “Would you like to buy this pink pen in support of the Susan J. Komen Foundation?”

I said, “No, thanks.”

“But it’s only two bucks!” she insisted.

“I know … thanks for asking. I’m good,” I responded.

“It’s for a good cause you know…” she said her voice trailing off, her face disappointed.

“I know. And in the last five days I have donated to this good cause at Safeway, Walgreens, Target, and Payless,” a little curtly. “I don’t want to accumulate cute pink stuff — which, as you probablybreast cancer1 spread1 Pink ribbon fatigue recognize, too — is a marketing ploy. I want to help and I will, but this really isn’t the way I choose to do it.”

The cashier’s co-worker stepped into the conversation at this point. “It really isn’t a lot of money, you know. It’s just two bucks … and it can help save a life,” she said.

“Can you guarantee that?” I asked her.

I know I was being a bitch, but I felt pushed into a corner and for some reason I decided to argue it out instead of giving in this time.

I’d already been guilted into this at the other retail stores.

“Of course, I can’t,” said the hefty middle-aged lady. “But they are doing research…I am sure it’ll help with that.”

“So, what percentage of my two dollars will go toward the research?” I asked.

Both employees looked at each other. They had no idea.

Exasperated, the cashier gave me the evil eye, handed me my receipt for the goods I had intended to buy and pay for, and told me to have a good day.

I courteously told her to have one, too.

I am not a hard-hearted, money-pinching person. I’ve seen what breast cancer does.

An aunt died from it — her disease was diagnosed at such a late stage that chemotherapy wasn’t going to help much. Another aunt survived it, but is now battling brain cancer.

Cancer is lethal. And breast cancer the easiest one to catch before it turns fatal.

I want to support breast cancer research but I want to do it directly — not by supporting pink marketing campaigns that belittle the seriousness of the disease and do nothing — absolutely nothing — to make people more aware of the risks.

2908853746 33b73ec9b8 b 300x225 Pink ribbon fatigueAsk those who are sporting these pink ribbons, pink bracelets, pink shoes, pink purses and eating fatty sugar-laden pink desserts that have carcinogens in them what they really know about breast cancer.

Ask them if they know that men are susceptible to breast cancer, too.

Ask them if they have ever supported someone with breast cancer by helping out with chores or doing their groceries.

Ask them what the symptoms of breast cancer are.

Ask them if they know that only five percent of breast cancer research money goes toward cancer prevention studies.

According to WebMD, “approximately 1 in almost every 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer — and is the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 35 to 54.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, approximately 192,370 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and approximately 40,610 will die.

Although these numbers may sound frightening, research reveals that the mortality rate could decrease by 30% if all women age 50 and older who need a mammogram had one.”

It’s great to make a fashionable statement about a cause — but are you really helping anyone?

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Pink ribbon fatigue

Normally, I don’t tag bloggers, but in order to support IndusLadies’ campaign, I would like to invite the following people to share their thoughts on this important issue:
Susan Deborah from
Meanderings and Reflections

Savira from Living Laughing Breathing

Nalini Hebbar from Open Mind

Duane Scott from Scribing the Journey

Mohan from My Experiments in Life

dp seal trans 16x16 Pink ribbon fatigueCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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  14 comments for “Pink ribbon fatigue

  1. October 8, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    //I am not a hard-hearted, money-pinching person. I’ve seen what breast cancer does.//

    So true…people who have really seen the gory face of breast cancer will not have heart to conceptualize and market the pink ribbon. I live with my mother who is battling with it…..its a one sided battle…. but even in this situation, I am not able to convince my aunts for a mammogram. Such is the awareness and they just done understand. All I could do to do my part was to change the homepage of my webpage. With a faint hope that atleast one person will do something.

  2. AnuNo Gravatar
    October 9, 2010 at 6:14 am

    very well expressed, Mansi! I have been seeing this stuff too, and it never fails to irritate me….having lost one parent to cancer, I know what its like, and I also know that what is needed is awareness – a great deal of it – and the ability to talk about it. there are so many women who still wont even consider a breast examination or a mammography, as Mr.Narayanaswamy said…pink ribbons or fb statuses wont change all that.. the women who need it dont even know about these things… as to the money, well, less said the better…

  3. October 10, 2010 at 2:32 am

    You have expressed my thoughts very well here.. totally agree with you.

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar
      October 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

      Thank you, Farida. I commend you on your triumphant journey and your strong spirit in fighting this disease.

  4. October 10, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Powerful post, Mansi, and oh so true.

    So many of these campaigns to “raise awareness” don’t do anything of the sort, though some are more offensive than others.

    I turned my Twitter picture green last summer during the Iranian unrest. However, I did it to show solidarity with the Iranian people, not out of any misguided sense that I was “raising awareness” of what was going on. Nobody’s going to ask me “hey, why are you green?”

    In the same sense, what is the purpose of pink ribbons for breast cancer? Solidarity? Ok, sure. But they never say that. It’s for “awareness.” How many people wearing pink ribbons get asked what they’re for? If nobody, then how are you raising “awareness?” Those who see it and understand are already aware of it.

    I also hate being guilted into any kind of donation. If I want to donate, I’ll donate directly, thank you very much. Don’t try and guilt me into it. I get these calendars and mailing labels sent to me by various organizations, because they know that a large number of people will feel obligated to donate to them because of it.

    Not me! I may donate, I may not. But it’s never because of what they sent me.

    Thank you for posting this. It needs to be read.

  5. October 11, 2010 at 12:49 am

    I have had similar conversations on various topics. Here in my hometown, I grow very weary of dodging the fire department at every local traffic light/intersection as they tote their boots from car to car asking for donations for their causes. This is not to say that I don’t want to donate – it is to say that if I hand out money at every traffic light in Knoxville, I won’t be able to pay my rent next month, put food on the table or keep gas in my car! There’s a limit that we all have, and I don’t feel any of us should be made to feel badgered if we decline the opportunity to donate for that particular cause. Until that limit is respected, I plan to continue dodging traffic lights for the next 3 weeks until this particular fire department drive is through. Backroads of Knoxville, here I come!


  6. October 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I used to volunteer before I got pregnant at the local Children’s hospital….helping the kids (some of them cancer patients) was so rewarding. This FB status thing is a joke…actually I did not know what is was for…so thank you for blogging about it :) ! I completely agree with ur thoughts here….one of my closest aunts battled breast cancer, and my mom cared for her during her chemos….and I helped quite a bit from here…

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar
      October 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Shachi. I applaud you for doing something that actually helped someone directly.

  7. October 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks, Mansi, for thinking of me!

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar
      October 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Absolutely, Nalini. If you decide to write on the subject, do let me know and I will link to it from my post.

  8. October 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Hi Mansi, glad you took part in the awareness campaign. Thank you for tagging! I am supporting the same cause through Y! shine – Not sure if you have gone through this – This Yahoo! site has all the information one needs to know and what all can be done about the same. I am glad bloggers like you are making a difference to the society.

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar
      October 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this link, Mohan. Appreciate it.

  9. October 15, 2010 at 5:33 am


    Came across your website during blogaddas Breat Cancer Awareness campaign. First of all congrats for putting across your views so well. We always end up doing things that come to us so easily. So we buy a pen, write about things on and as status messages, and as you correctly point out do nothing but just make us feel better about having done something when we really havent done anything at all. I am not sure how much and what percentage this will help, but blogging and spreading the word is the best idea as women need to come forth and realise the potential risks of this disease, moreover we need to reach out to those women who have no access to blogs and encourage them to get themselves checked as well. You and I will read the stats but the ones who dont read about the disease will be contributing to the growing numbers.

What’s your 0.02?