Living with cancer—and an attitude.

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SEPTEMBER 30, 2007
Boycott October

Evolution:
1. Anger
2. Logic and Evidence
3. Humor

1. Anger
My first responses to pink ribbons, written back in 2003 and 2004, were visceral. See Gag Me With a Pink Ribbon.

This story, although written with the knowledge of, and indeed at the suggestion of, the marketing director at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, nearly lost me my freelance writing gig with SCCA.

The head of SCCA–NOT a fan of mine–was upset that I mentioned the organization in the story, even though what I said about my relationship with SCCA was accurate, and the doctor whose book I mentioned, Dr. Julie Gralow, was also upset about being mentioned in an anti-pink-ribbon story.

So much for the First Amendment. (I DID lose my freelance job with SCCA when I made a HIPAA complaint, but that’s another story for another day.)

This is what I said about pink ribbons in a cover story I wrote for Seattle Weekly in 2003:

I hate them. I really do. I don’t understand what they are for. Support and solidarity, something like that, but I’m not getting that from a little twist of pink metal pretending to be a ribbon.

Instead of pink ribbons, I’d rather have national health insurance or any health insurance plan that insures sick people. The way things are now, if you are young and healthy, you can get health insurance at a reasonable cost. If you are old or, God forbid, sick, forget it.

I stand by it. If you really want to help people like me, give us affordable, guaranteed health insurance. Don’t buy products with pink ribbons on them and think you are helping. You’re not.

See Soapbox No. 4: The Pink Ribbons

2. Logic and Evidence
Then, the years passed and pink ribbon merchandise continued to crowd store shelves every October, and companies offering these products took out full-page, four-color ads in women’s magazines bragging about their efforts to help find a cure for breast cancer–never mind that the ads COST MORE THAN THE DONATION these companies were making. That’s cause marketing. Also, see Chapter 1 in Samantha King’s book, Pink Ribbons, Inc.

As you can see, I turned to using logic and evidence. I collected examples:

Pink ribboned bottled water (3 cent donation per $1 bottle). Pink M&Ms; (50 cent donation per $5.39 bag). Clothing. Nail polish. Laundry soap (“clean for the cure”–please). Pink Web sites.

Pink gardening supplies: pink rubber clogs, pink flower pots, pink hoses, pink-handled tools, pink gardening gloves, and more, all in that sickly shade. “Garden for the Cure,” says the label.

Pink soup. Pink Soup?

I have not purchased a can of Campbell’s soup since last October. This October, I plan to send the folks at the company a letter telling them why.

I didn’t like pink BEFORE it became the color of “breast cancer awareness,” and now I loath it. (It’s a particularly sickly shade of pink, too, a color I associate with girly, sexist expectations.)

Retailers right, left, and center are offering pink-themed merchandise, then donating a tiny share of the profits to cancer research. The reason the pink marketing campaign makes me so angry is that it encourages women to indulge in retail therapy while trivializing a very serious disease.

See
Gag Me With a Pink Ribbon

It’s October–Time to Gag Me With Those Pink Ribbons

Pink Soup?

No More Campbell’s Soup for Me

3. Humor
And then came humor, although my sense of humor when it comes to pink ribbon merchandise is also heavily laced with anger and logic.

I think this is my best anti-pink-ribbon piece to date: Breast Cancer Barbie

Here’s part of what I had to say about BC Barbie:

As a woman living with breast cancer (and minus one breast) who is forced to run a gauntlet of pink products every October, my question is this:

What does this beauty queen, fairy princess, DOLL in a pink formal gown say about me and my experience with breast cancer?

And the answer is: Nothing.

Nothing.

• This doll does not offer me hope.
• This doll certainly does not offer a positive image of a strong woman living with cancer.
• And the doll is not even a fund-raising effort that I can support.

I realize that passage isn’t very funny. But the piece is, and the doll certainly is.

More humor, this one a spoof on the Race for the Cure, from The Onion: 6,000 Runners Fail To Discover Cure For Breast Cancer

Maybe humor will succeed where logic and evidence have, so far, failed.

This year, in a spirit of fair play, and fun, I plan to introduce Prostate Cancer Ken (why should women be the only ones to have their very own diseased doll?), Breast Cancer Ken (yes, men do get breast cancer, and it’s a lonely, embarrassed road they travel), and Benign Girl (Breast Cancer Barbie’s little sister, a la Skipper).

Watch this space for photos of all of the above in full, disease-specific regalia.

Also, art. My pink M&Ms; mosaic is in the works.

Other Plans for October
I’ll be writing letters to companies that market pink ribbon products–and expect to be rewarded for it with increased sales and profits. I’ll post those letters on my blog for those of you who want to copy them.

I’ll also be offering suggestions for ways, other than retail therapy, to help women with breast cancer. Meanwhile, DON’T “shop for the cure.” It’s a lie.

Note: The Rules of Engagement
Finally, let me say that anyone–except for people trying to sell something, or promote their own Web sites or blogs–is welcome to voice an opinion on my blog. However, name-calling is not allowed. Please see the comments section on my post about the Hallmark cancer cards for a good example of how to respectfully agree to disagree.

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@ Jeanne Sather 2007.
Posted at 01:29 PM in Boycott October, Pink Ribbons | Permalink

Technorati Tags: Boycott October, breast cancer, pink ribbons

comments
Call GOP contributor Rite Aid at 1-800-325-3737 and tell the person to get the CEO to get the GOP to enact HR 676 Single payer universal health care and repeal Medicare Part D and place the drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering 80% of drugs with no extra premiums, no extra deductibles, no means tests, no coverage gaps, and remove the means test for Medicare Part B and until that happens, you won’t buy ANYTHING from Rite Aid.

Call GOP contributor Wendy’s restaurants at 614 764-3553 and Tell the person in public relations that you want their CEO to get the GOP to help enact a $10/HR MIN. WAGE into law and until this happens you will not go to a Wendy’s Restaurant.
Posted by: The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States | September 30, 2007 at 07:34 PM

Great suggestions, except that I NEVER eat at Wendy’s, and I don’t shop at Rite-Aid. But for those of you who do, go for it.

Thanks,

Jeanne

Posted by: jeanne | September 30, 2007 at 08:19 PM

I love reading your posts.

Someone bought my daughter (fighting metastatic osteosarcoma) an actual pink ribbon. She replied “Thanks, I’m still dying, but I’m sure this will help”.

Posted by: Barry | September 30, 2007 at 10:16 PM

Great post
Thanks, I’m still dying, but I’m sure this will help.

Posted by: Sue | September 30, 2007 at 10:51 PM

One of the campaigns that I find most transparent is the Yoplait “Lids for a Cure.” (I may be paraphrasing the actual name of the campaign, but it’s something like that and I am too lazy to look it up just to perpetuate contrived branding more accurately.)

The deal is you’re supposed to buy their yogurt and mail them back the lids, and then they will donate X cents for every lid they receive — up to $1M.

If this were about fighting breast cancer, they’d just donate $1M, and then if they wanted some positive spin, they’d print the fact that they already regularly contributed to the cause on their packaging, prominently. But no. This is about selling yogurt.

It would be laughable if I didn’t have so many sick and dead friends, all of whom have certainly eaten their share of yogurt.

Posted by: Sara | October 01, 2007 at 05:54 AM

The husband of a friend here who has been fighting ovarian and cancer that has spread through her abdomen has forwarded to me several articles that link cancer to the high consumption of sugar …

It was with great irony that he sent an article some time ago that highlighted M&M;’s and other sugar treats with Pink Ribbons festooned upon them … He questioned when the Pin Ribbon folks would clue into this and realize the awareness building can be done in a different and dare we say – BETTER way …

He questioned why the Pink Ribbon would be on a product that potentially feeds the very cancer it is supposedly trying to raise awareness (and Fund?? – does it (that’s another question?)) about.

Reading the writings of people like you is a very good place to start …

Keep fighting the Good Fight … you have many of us in your corner !!!

Posted by: shawn | October 01, 2007 at 07:35 AM

Sara–thanks. I forgot about the yogurt one. That makes me angry too. And it’s not even the best yogurt.

Shawn–I’m not sure if it’s sugar, or simple obesity, but being overweight or obese increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer dramatically. I make that point in my Gag Me With a Pink Ribbon piece, which was all about “indulging for the cure,” with rich desserts at Seattle restaurants.

And Barry, I love your daughter. What a great response. I think I probably would have just taken the damn ribbon and said thanks, and then felt bad about it. At least, that’s what I would have done a few years ago. That’s what I did when people brought me ghastly inspirational books, none of which live on my bookshelves today.

But I am also sorry for your pain over this person’s insensitivity. That is so hard to take when you are feeling raw.

Jeanne

Posted by: jeanne | October 01, 2007 at 09:19 AM

Hi Jeanne,
I just wrote a post about your buttons and linked back to your first button post as well as to your home page.

Posted by: laurie | October 01, 2007 at 10:26 AM

Here I am, barging in again with disagreement. Thank you for allowing my debate on this subject.

Since Yoplait was mentioned, I looked it up. Here’s what I found:
Program Information:
Program Name: Save Lids to Save Lives®
Benefit to Komen for the Cure: for each pink lid mailed in by consumers by December 31, 2007, Yoplait will donate 10 cents to Komen
Suggested Retail: prices vary per product
2007 Guaranteed Donation: $500,000 up to $1.5 million
Product Available for Purchase: grocery stores nationwide
Program Active: September through October 2007
2006 Contribution: over $1.5 million
Total contribution since program’s inception: over $5.4 million
Total number of years for program: 7 years

All marketing has hokey elements to it; I’m not one to send in lids or wrappers or UPCs, myself. But look at the dollars: $5.4 million over 7 years. Over $1.5 million last year. A minimum commitment of half a million dollars.

You can knock this program all you like, and complain about the pink, or the ribbon, or the taste of the yogurt, but as for me I’ll take the money. I don’t know how else to raise that much money, even though I am trying very hard to do so.

Yes, Yoplait is making a profit. But what else should they do? Donate all of their profits and go out of business? They are a yogurt company, not a philanthropic organization. I applaud them for donating such a large amount to a cause I believe in. We can pick apart their methods, and disparage their marketing, and complain about how pink ribbons don’t cure disease, but I find it pretty hard to pick a fight with $5.4 million dollars.

Posted by: Kristina | October 01, 2007 at 10:34 AM

They should just donate the money, tell everyone they donated the money if they feel they need to in order to get more customers, and not make a game out of it. It’s people’s lives.

Lots of companies donate the tiny percentage of their profits that $5.4M over seven years represents to Yoplait (a General Mills brand) to causes that matter to their governing boards. Lots of them never advertise it, either. Like I’ll bet you didn’t know Pilot (the pen mfr.) donated money to AIDS research long before there were any red ribbons to display. It’s because the people running company thought it was a good thing to do with the company’s money.

Also, exactly where is the money going? Pharmaceutical companies that also manufacture pesticides that cause cancer? One of the biggest problems to this kind of marketing is that all a company has to say is “We give money to fight breast cancer,” and no one ever questions what this means. How is Yoplait’s money fighting breast cancer, specifically? And if they already know their budget, why don’t they just spend it and not tie their charitable contributions so directly to a specific product sales push?

Yoplait, like many other participants in Pink October, donates its money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Meanwhile, it makes its yogurt with milk from cows treated with rGBH. Read more here:

Think Before You Pink: Information on Select Cause Marketing Campaigns
http://www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org/Pages/InfoMktgCampaigns.html

The Think Before You Pink campaign is spearheaded by Breast Cancer Action, http://www.bcaction.org.

Posted by: Sara | October 01, 2007 at 05:03 PM

My comments below each, below:

SARA: They should just donate the money, tell everyone they donated the money if they feel they need to in order to get more customers, and not make a game out of it. It’s people’s lives.

KRISTINA: Yes, it’s people’s lives, but it’s also marketing. They are donating money (which I like) but they are also trying to raise more awareness for their products. They do this in the way that their marketing team deems most beneficial to the company. Marketing gurus get paid lots of money to figure out how to make the company more money. If they could sell more product through a one time donation, they would, but it just doesn’t work that way. This is not a healthcare organization, it’s a yogurt company. Thier first job is to make and sell yogurt; any money they give to philanthropic organizations is a bonus.

SARA: Lots of companies donate the tiny percentage of their profits that $5.4M over seven years represents to Yoplait (a General Mills brand) to causes that matter to their governing boards. Lots of them never advertise it, either. Like I’ll bet you didn’t know Pilot (the pen mfr.) donated money to AIDS research long before there were any red ribbons to display. It’s because the people running company thought it was a good thing to do with the company’s money.

KRISTINA: No, I didn’t know that, but I applaud them for it! That is fantastic! And I wish all companies could do that, but not all companies are run that way, and I can accept that there are other ways to do philanthropy, too. Rather than saying that all companies should live up to that standard, and that if they do not, their donations are worthless to me, though, I believe that the model you’re describing is something to aspire toward, but still doesn’t mean that I need to knock millions of dollars of donations.

SARA: Also, exactly where is the money going? Pharmaceutical companies that also manufacture pesticides that cause cancer? One of the biggest problems to this kind of marketing is that all a company has to say is “We give money to fight breast cancer,” and no one ever questions what this means. How is Yoplait’s money fighting breast cancer, specifically?

KRISTINA: You can read all about it on Komen’s annual report. Komen receives very high ratings from philanthropic organizations. Those dollars ARE tracked, and you can see exactly how.

SARA: And if they already know their budget, why don’t they just spend it and not tie their charitable contributions so directly to a specific product sales push?

KRISTINA: Because they are trying to accomplish TWO missions: they want to sell more product and make a profit, AND they want to benefit breast cancer. Their marketing teams have decided that pink marketing works for them, and allows them to accomplish both of their goals.

SARA: Yoplait, like many other participants in Pink October, donates its money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Meanwhile, it makes its yogurt with milk from cows treated with rGBH. Read more here:

Think Before You Pink: Information on Select Cause Marketing Campaigns
http://www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org/Pages/InfoMktgCampaigns.html

The Think Before You Pink campaign is spearheaded by Breast Cancer Action, http://www.bcaction.org.

KRISTINA: I don’t buy products with rGBH myself. I believe that we need to revert to organic foods in order to correct the damage done to our bodies and the environment. However, the marketplace disagrees. People still want to buy cheap products, and many Americans don’t care about the organic movement. But that is not about breast cancer marketing, or a pink October, that is an entirely different cause. If you wish to avoid buying their products because they use rGBH, then I don’t have any reason to protest that: I myself don’t buy their products for the same reason. But this argument is not whether Yoplait makes the best yogurt, or is environmentally responsible; this argument is about whether pink marketing is appropriate and beneficial. I don’t buy Yoplait because I don’t like their product, but I still applaud them for their pink marketing and the research dollars that it has generated. I can like one part of a company’s philosophy while disagreeing with another part.
Posted by: Kristina | October 02, 2007 at 12:07 AM

There is also something, hmm, dare I say, sexualizing about some of the things I see. Like the “Bless My Breasts” baby doll tight t-shirts, and the SaveTheTaTas clothing line. It’s the same problem I had with the Barbie; it’s all so sexy and glam and cute and about saving young perky boobs and not actually dealing with sick people. I’m coming at this with a husband who has an aggressive blood cancer, and this is probably terrifically immature, but I see all the pink products and fund raising and awareness, and I feel like people with almost any kind of other cancer are orphans in a sea of pink crackers and pink tea. He actually gets people giving him pink products and he throws them away.

Posted by: Amy | October 02, 2007 at 06:49 AM

THANK GOD AMY CHIMED IN!!!! If people don’t get how offensive and oppressive all of the pink crap is and how transparent the merchandizing is than I simply don’t know what to say to you. But Amy brings up the core issue with the pink products and the marketing. As usual our society has found a way to make money off of breasts. It is as simple as that. And then it’s pushed further with a COLOR that is intrinsically attached to the ideals of FEMININE- pink is for girls. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, or worse, has to have a mastectomy her entire social and political ideologies that surround her body collide with her mortality. That’s what makes this disease different AND popular. The issue with this pink shit transcends all of the capitalistic-money-making-monsters and invades my dignity as a woman who has survived this fucking disease TWICE!!! Am I angry? YES. You bet I am. Am I angry that I had cancer? NO. I AM ANGRY FOR THE IGNORANCE THAT SPREADS THROUGHOUT MAINSTREAM AMERICA AND CONTINUES TO SABOTAGE MY INTEGRITY AS AN EQUAL PARTICIPANT IN THE WORLD WHO DESERVES NOT TO HAVE HER BODY, SEXUALITY AND FEMININITY EXPLOITED. Save the boobs, “save the tatas” and Pink BREAST awareness are messages that are woven into the forces that drive women into reluctant post mastectomy reconstruction and to wear uncomfortable ugly ass prosthesis because it’s all about the breast, it’s all about our femininity isn’t it? And if you don’t get how manipulated you are by this clever pink seductive “let’s pull on their heart strings and offend their sexuality by making it ALL about breast while we’re at it” campaign SIMPLY TO MAKE MONEY than you are simply not observing the world with clarity. PINK sells shit- BREASTS sell shit and that’s the bottom line.

The campaign simply has to change and any strong minded AWARE woman knows this.

Posted by: Jacqueline | October 02, 2007 at 08:14 AM

Jacqueline, I AM a strong minded, aware woman. I am a feminist. I can hold my own; I am not a mere product of society, subject to its whims and unaware of my own needs and desires.

I am also a breast cancer survivor, and I have had double mastectomies (one at the age of 35, the other at the age of 36). I can not speak for every woman’s experience with mastectomy and reconstruction, only my own.

You say, “the forces that drive women into reluctant post mastectomy reconstruction and to wear uncomfortable ugly ass prosthesis because it’s all about the breast, it’s all about our femininity isn’t it?” and I agree.

It is about the breast. BREAST cancer.

I chose to have reconstruction, not because of some perverse desire of my husband to be married to a woman with breasts, and not because of how the world viewed me. I chose to have breast reconstruction because I wanted it to make me feel whole again.

When I hugged my toddler daughter against my bony chest, her head banged on my hard bones instead of nestling into my soft bosom the way it had before my mastectomies. I hated that.

When I wore clothing that had once made me feel sexy, I felt desexualized.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw what had been taken away.

When I was diagnosed, I had to tell my daughter (Tessa) that the doctors were removing my breasts. How on earth does one make that “okay” to a two year old? I told her the only thing that I could think of to comfort each of us: I said, “It’s okay, honey, because one day the doctors will build me new breasts.”

For me, reconstruction marks the end of a part of the journey. Don’t worry, I’m FULLY aware of the odds that my cancer will come back; I’m aware that the disease can still try to kill me, and that it might succeed. But right now, I can’t control that (most of treatment is behind me, leaving me little to do but watch and wait) and I’ve decided to move forward reconstructed.

Nobody forces a woman to have reconstruction. I know plenty of women who have opted out, and are content with their decision. Nobody is forced to do that kind of surgery, or to wear a prothesis.

NOT so that men can leer at me. NOT so that I can send feminism back to the dark ages. NOT so that my husband will find me desireable (he did all along). I’m doing it because it helps me to feel healed, and whole. It’s for ME. And it’s for my daughter, so that she can see my healing, since she’s seen so much of my wounding.

I am still covered in scars: at last count, I had 18 from the treatment and reconstruction of this disease (they range from a half inch to six inches across). I do not forget where I come from; my new breasts do not fool me.

I am strong minded and aware. Nobody made me have reconstruction; I chose to do it, and despite its pain, I’m glad for my choices. I have no regrets. I have done what is right for me.

I’m sorry that not all diseases get the same funding and awareness as breast cancer. It’s not fair, and I know that. The same solidarity I find when I see a pink ribbon might be a reminder to you of a lack of solidarity, and I realize that. But it will not make other diseases better if we eliminate awareness methods for breast cancer. Rather than bringing awareness to the lowest common denominator, and removing all mention of pink products from the marketplace, I wish that all human conditions could be recognized. I’m just not sure how to do it.

Posted by: Kristina | October 02, 2007 at 09:41 AM

Amy writes: it’s all so sexy and glam and cute and about saving young perky boobs and not actually dealing with sick people.

I see where you’re coming from on this, but I think that for many, the act of mastectomy is a traumatic thought, and thus symbollic of the whole fight. Mastectomy is violent; it leaves war wounds. We women are intended to have breasts, and removing them is heinous.

Women don’t like having mastectomies. It feels like a violation, a removal of femininity (it is, after all, part of our female parts), a wounding, an assault.

I HAD young, perky boobs. I liked them. I had to have them cut off. To do so pained me in many ways.

No, it wasn’t the hardest part of my journey with cancer (for the record, the hardest part is dealing with the fact that I may not be alive to love my daughter; dealing with the grief of my loss of innocence; the mental struggle to fight so hard for my life, despite the pain and fear….), but it was damn hard none-the-less. Nobody has a mastectomy for FUN.

Do I like the sexualized messages? Not particularly. But I *do* think that saving breasts is a good idea. I look at my daughter’s flat chest, her tiny pink nipples, and I weep to think that one day they might be carved from her body. They are a part of her, and as such, she deserves to keep them.

The mastectomy is a symbol to many about how awful this disease is. It makes sense to me when people want to save others from having a mastectomy. NO, it’s not the total picture. But YES, breasts are sexualized in our culture. (That makes sense to me – I used to enjoy my own breasts in a sexual sense; they were an erotic part of lovemaking.) And I understand why people would think it was worthwhile to save them.

But “sexy, glam, and cute” isn’t exactly the message. It’s about making the message bearable. Like I’ve said before, nobody wants to look at my mastectomy scars as a symbol – it’s too painful to rally around such a symbol. If we need to find laughter to make it through tears, then that’s fine with me.

And for every “Save the TaTas” shirt you find, you can find another that says something less perky. “1 in 8” or “Every 3 minutes” or “Find a Cure” or something. But if we can reach multiple markets – including those who like the perkier messages – then I say approach it from lots of angles.

Transparent? Absolutely. But nobody said that it was intended to be otherwise. This isn’t about trickery, and it’s not meant to be hidden.

And to close, my favorite Komen ad slogan, which is portrayed as writing on a woman’s t-shirt:

“When we get our hands on breast cancer, we’re going to punch it, strangle it, kick it, spit on it, choke it and pummel it until it’s good and dead. (Not just horror movie dead, but really, really dead.) And then we’re going to tie a pink ribbon on it.”

Now that’s MY favorite message.

Posted by: Kristina | October 02, 2007 at 10:09 AM

“Nobody forces a woman to have reconstruction. I know plenty of women who have opted out, and are content with their decision. Nobody is forced to do that kind of surgery, or to wear a prothesis.”

Please. It doesn’t have to be a gun to the head but societal and physician pressures DO indeed exist and can be incredibly powerful within the little time in between diagnoses and surgery. There is not a single bra for a one-breasted woman (until the patent on the one I’m designing is complete) or clothing (until mine hits the market) for women who choose not to have reconstruction or wear a prosthesis. These are clear signs that women are FORCED to at least accept the idea that only a “two breasted” woman is a “whole” and acknowledged woman. Woman ARE forced to fill a 2 cup bra and fit into clothes ONLY available for two breasted women. I have received many many letters ( http://www.rebel1in8.com/about.html ) and this is one among them…
“I am moved beyond belief. As a cancer survivor myself, and a woman who has had reconstruction, the thought of NOT reconstructed never entered my consideration as the doctor’s didn’t even talk about it as an option! I feel betrayed to an extent that the male surgeon didn’t tell me it was OK to go with one breast. Not that I shouldn’t have known it for myself, but when you have 10 days between diagnosis and surgery, that’s a lot of crap to deal with because all you are thinking about is SURVIVAL. Would I do it differently? I don’t know…perhaps my path was to be a spirit whose chest was reconstructed as an example, for we are all examples of survivorship with our without our breasts. Either way we all have scars, and those scars speak a multitudes of languages. Bless you and your cool designs!!!”

The truths are here… http://rebel1in8.blogspot.com/2007/05/real-awareness-and-truths.html

YOUR choices are catered to and socially supported and that’s fantastic. Good for you- and I mean this. But unless we become aware of and LISTEN to OUR voices within the current of this fast moving and damaging river of ‘breast awareness” we will never ever achieve simple and true shared solidarity. We women who see our bodies differently and who do not need two breasts to feel whole will continue to observe the world through our own truths- thus forever understanding “breast awareness” differently.

Posted by: Jacqueline | October 02, 2007 at 11:01 AM

Thak you ALL. And thank you for keeping the debate civil. Angry is OK, obviously. We should be angry about these things.

And thanks to those of you who raised points that I hadn’t gotten to yet, and to Amy–very important perspective, what about everyone else? I hate the sexiness of some of this stuff–it’s about CANCER!

Kristina–for being brave enough to post here, and to make her points with evidence, even though I take that same evidence and say, just give the money. Don’t make people wash little lids and store them somewhere and mail them in.

Lots of love, it’s a tough week, as you know, and I am way behind on answering most of you directly, but I will, when my 15 minutes are over …unless I sell my book. Any of you close friends with a progressive book publisher?

Jeanne

Posted by: jeanne | October 02, 2007 at 11:59 AM

Thanks again, Jeanne.

I think that the thing that I see as the common thread – for there are many debates going on here, including sexism, sexualization/desexualization, reconstruction, environmental ethics, pink marketing, direct versus indirect charitable giving, focus on one disease over another – is anger. There is a lot of anger that as humans we have to endure the atrocities of ill health and possible early death and society’s response to illness (or lack thereof). I understand this anger, though I don’t exactly share it. I feel sadness, and a desire for change, but what I see here is mostly anger.

I’ll step out of the debate now, though I have all kinds of responses, because I don’t want to spend my days on this particular debate; I have other things that draw my attention. I wish all of you well.

Posted by: Kristina | October 02, 2007 at 02:43 PM

“There is a lot of anger that as humans we have to endure the atrocities of ill health and possible early death and society’s response to illness (or lack thereof)”
Wow. I don’t get this from the above thread at all. I’m certainly not angry about enduring the realities of life- the things I CAN’T change. Passion and anger are dear, dear friends. Great art, poetry, rebellions, revolutions and even riots have given birth to some really good stuff in the world. So just a reminder, it’s ok to get angry, friends.
Now excuse while I get back to changing the world:)

Posted by: Jacqueline | October 02, 2007 at 05:23 PM

Yeah, I didn’t get that, either. I’m not angry that I got cancer. I’m angry about heartless manipulation for profit and the people who rationalize it as “the way things have to be” when it really isn’t.

Some things to consider about “cheap” food:

1. Why is it cheap? What corners have been cut? Where is the bulk of the profit money going? Is any of it going into working to make the food more healthful while maintaining affordable prices, or is the bulk of it going into salaries and bonuses for upper-echelon employees — and international marketing campaigns?

2. Is it possible that this “cheap” processed food is contributing to the rise of cancer in the developed world?

3. Is it possible that lots of people choose “cheap” food because they don’t know what it’s really costing them?

Some things to consider about corporate ethics generally:

1. (and this is an old one) Just because some people or lots of people are doing something doesn’t make it right, or even okay.

2. The fact of a corporation wanting to sell more product does not justify pretending to care more about a life and death issue than it clearly does based on its core practices.

3. Aligning oneself with a cause in order to make money does not do much if more o…