This October 1st, people began pinkifying their possessions, getting pink manicures in honor of breast cancer, attending awareness-raising benefits for the illness, and raising money for the cause. And as a way to keep people engaged with the cause, people and companies try to be as creative as they can, and often as cute as they can, in order to attract attention.
But at the same time, a lot of people feel that these efforts diminish the experience of having breast cancer, turning it into something cute, light, and simple, without really making people see how hard the disease is and how it affects survivors.
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An Instagram account called “bus_bros,” for example, posted a photo in honor of breast cancer awareness month of a bright pink bus, with a very cutesy caption “Once Again October is Here and its Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Women are 1-8 Chances to Get Breast Cancer and Men Can Get it Too! Save the Ta Ta’s by Getting Involved, Get Educated and Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month!!” The caption uses one of the most commonly used sayings that has become popular among people raising awareness, “save the Ta-Tas.”
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In another post, @Iamstufft uploaded a recipe for a banana strawberry smoothie and said that it was her contribution to the #hellocookpinkchallenge, where people can upload photos of pink foods and attach recipes for making them during breast cancer awareness month.
For some, these are valiant attempts to further the cause of breast cancer, pass on awareness, and generate interest for the cause.
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For her, it seems the primary problem with breast cancer awareness month is that it makes the process of screening for breast cancer seem simple (as many campaigns emphasize the ease of self-breast-examinations) and that it doesn’t recognize the true pain and difficulty that came after her diagnosis.
The second voice that the post illuminates talks about the reality of breast cancer, and the lack of pretty pinkness in her experience of disease, “Do you see anything pink and fluffy here? I don’t. I simply see a broken, petrified and seriously unwell woman. A single mum of four.