Today there are many stories about why the pink ribbon has been more successful than other ribbons, here is an anthropologist’s answer.
Our culture has an extreme breast fetish, in Japan it is the neck and wrists, every culture has one. We love kids and childhood cancer is devastating, but we can’t save their ‘tatas’ or their ‘second base’. Can you even imagine a save the prostate campaign being as popular? We shouldn’t use these slogans in breast cancer either but we do, our culture loves it, thinks it is awareness. I had to explain saving second base to my mother. She was offended as many breast cancer participants/experience-rs are, I dislike using the survivor term, she has/had cancer twice so her odds of recurrence are not good.
Groups like these have fantastic intentions, unfortunately these intentions are propagating disrespectful ideals about women’s bodies. The branding is genius, I have an art degree too, I can see a winner, but the anthropologist/women’s studies student in me cringes. The pink ribbon is a champion of a capitalist/fetish culture. Breasts are linked to sexuality and feminism.
Breasts are also a nationalism concern. The ability to mother and nurture are strong traditional family values. Discovering just how deeply women are subjugated requires forcing yourself to an unbiased position, stepping back and really looking at your culture. It is difficult. I used to think that there was nothing wrong with it either, until I became a breast cancer participant too. My mother has/had it, my aunt died of it, my sister is preparing for it (she cut her hair from her waste to her shoulders and put it in the safe for her wig). They would cut both of my breasts off right now without a second thought if I would let them.
Women’s bodies have historically been sites of medicalization, nationalism and marginalization. Women’s natural processes are now disease, if you don’t believe me look in the DSM V , having any issue with your period is bound to land you on a cute little purple pill or on a couch, when these issues have traditionally been solved by natural changes in diet and lifestyle, today we want another pill.
A porn company wants to donate sales percentages to Komen…… Does anyone else see the oxymoron here? “A socially-conscious porn site that donates to charity for each video watched” Socially conscious porn……… I can’t wrap my women’s studies head around that one. When did porn become socially conscious? Saving the tata’s and second base are just one step away from this, no wonder the porn industry felt it could capitalize on the pink ribbon. Everyone else has.
This is human nature, you may wish to argue with me, but if you look around, I like to sit watch people at WalMart, you will admit it is true. The pill is so much easier than education. And if you disagree try naming any of the ribbon colors for any other advocacy group, and AIDS does not count, it was here first.