«

»

May 15 2006

Pink: Hell Trembles at the Hideous Name

pink bat

Breast cancer—that’s my cancer— is the hippest cancer going. It’s got races and ribbons and products galore. It’s even got its own color. Insipid baby pink.

You can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting some insipid baby pink breast cancer version of a product that’s usually made in some less annoying color. Corporations sell pink crap, and everybody goes “awww” and automatically assumes that their charitable intentions are pure.

In fact, nobody knows how much of the pink dough netted by manufacturers and retailers and foundations and corporate sponsors actually goes to cancer research, and how much goes to product advertising and marketing, but I’ll tell you this: when I came to after my surgery I discovered that my mastectomy scar formed the word “TOYOTA.”

This week even Louisville Slugger is getting a piece of the breast cancer action; some major league baseball players used insipid baby pink breast cancer bats on Mother’s Day, and it’s all over the sports pages. Pink bats! What lunacy! That’s because pink, before it was ever the color of a hideous disease that kills thousands of women every year, was the color of little girls and Hustler pussy and fags.

“It takes a big man to swing a pink bat in a major league game,” effused some MLB marketing dweeb, in awe of the superpowers required to combat this unseemly enpussification of the wooden dick extender. God forbid the doofus homophobe carnivores at TGI Friday’s should observe Derek Jeter mincing about on national television with some faggy pink stick.

Some of the baseball players had their mothers’ names burned on the pink bats. “I want to do something to thank her for all that she has done,” said one of them. Oh the tears I brushed from my eye when I read that! If I were a mother, and I’d spent the best years of my life doing laundry and cleaning toilets, and my millionaire son put my name on a pink bat to thank me, I would just croak from happiness.

You know, mothers should be liberated, not sentimentalized. It lasts longer.

And I move we change the color of breast cancer from insipid baby pink to a dull grey, the hue of adult existential disillusionment.

ADDENDUM: I forgot to link to thinkbeforeyoupink, a subsidiary of Breast Cancer Action, where interested parties can go to fight the powah.

78 comments

1 ping

  1. Pony

    Yeh. We’ve just been “debating” the subject of the cancer industry over on BitchPhD. Coming away from my “interlocutors” there leaves me feeling like, je ne sais quoi.

    I need a drink. Wait, I don’t drink. I need a good fuck. No, that’s not it either. I need a new hat. A pink one. All would fit with the patriarchy’s view of the solution to this problem.

    I know! I need to read Twisty.

  2. Edith

    How about eye-peeling neon yellow? So then, instead of reading, “Breast cancer, awwww!” it reads, “BREAST CANCER!! AHHHHHHHH!” Widespread panic would be awesome! Every woman over 12 would be running into the streets, clutching at their breasts and screaming, “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIIIIEEEEE!”

    Isn’t that what the patriarchy REALLY wants?

  3. cto

    I was at the Einstein Bros. bagelry yesterday, and saw they had frickin’ *pink bagels* (for Mother’s Day/Susan G. Komen, of course). Gag.

  4. MzNicky

    Twisty: I devoted several pages of my master’s thesis/BrCa rant to the Breast Cancer, Inc. phenomenon. This was because my mastectomy scars read “Think” and “Pink®”—yes, there’s a registration symbol, if you squint hard and use your imagination. It’s also done mirror-image for my convenience.

  5. Sara

    I agree that breast cancer needs another color, and that grey is a good choice because it matches how people look when they’re on chemo.

    I still like pink for its own sake, though, yes, in spite of the Patriarchy’s ardent desire to market it to me as a weak, feminine, cancerous, and now corporate-brandedly philanthropic hue. Flowers are pink. Sunrises are pink. Strawberry icing (butter icing with fresh strawberries blended right in) is pink. My kitty cat’s nose and toes are pink, and his toes even get pinker the happier and cozier he is. I fucking love pink. I fucking hate the assholes who have coopted it for their own shallow and nefarious purposes, but I still love the color.

    Another thing (person, really) I love is Sarah Vowell. Once upon a time, she went to San Francisco to learn how to be goth and discovered that there is a type of goth culture, apparently the most difficult to pull off, called “pink” goth, where darkness is so sweet it burns. You can hear about this type of goth briefly within act one of the following This American Life show:

    http://207.70.82.73/pages/descriptions/98/118.html

    If you haven’t heard it before, enjoy.

  6. E.

    “God forbid the doofus homophobe carnivores at TGI Friday’s should observe Derek Jeter mincing about on national television with some faggy pink stick.”

    I am going to savor this line for the rest of the day.

  7. wheelomatic

    Edith, I agree with you on all points. Eye-peeling yellow is a MUCH better color than Pepto-Pink. A little harder to discount and cutey-fy. And yes the Patriarchy DOES want us running scared so that we don’t have time to BLAME.

    Synesthete Blamers, What color is Twisty’s post-op pic from Oct 12 2005? Green-grey-blue? Ashy Teal?

  8. deviousdiva

    Anything but pink. Please. I have no idea what breast cancer must be like but I am pretty confident that it’s not pink. Go Twisty, go Twisty. Pink is so passe, anyway

  9. Rana

    I love your rants about breast cancer pink. Everytime I see something to do with it, I think of them, and it cheers me up immeasurably.

    I like the idea of dead-skin grey. Vitamin-piss yellow or snot green would also work.

  10. schatze

    Pink? It’s only a color. I can’t get worked up over it.

  11. A White Bear

    On a recent trip to my local sporting goods store, the awe-worthy Paragon, I attempted to buy a non-pink baseball glove for engaging in sports activity with friends. For some goddamn reason, all non-pink gloves at Paragon are $60 and up. Pink gloves are $30 bucks. I had a brief moment wondering how badly women need the color pink to cohabitate with their sporting interests just to ensure no one takes them for a dirty lezzie before I realized the gloves might be a breast-cancer benefit item.

    I vote day-glo orange. WARNING: CANCER AHEAD NEXT FIVE YEARS.

    I eventually found a serious-looking off-brand $30 brown and black glove.

  12. Violet

    (an excerpt from a 2004 article in Dissident Voice):

    In the November 2001 issue of Harper’s, journalist Barbara Ehrenreich took a torch to the pink ribbons festooned on breast cancer awareness campaigns in her groundbreaking and controversial essay, “Welcome to Cancer Land.” The corporatization of social movements like breast cancer awareness, she argued, siphoned attention away from the root causes of such diseases and infantilized its victims through a prescribed regiment of colored crayons and teddy bears along with the less nauseating chemotherapy treatments. This is no doubt a strategy aimed at stifling the dissenting impulses of those who might otherwise demand accountability from their elected leaders and the pharmaceutical interests they serve. The chirpy “Nike” — “Just Do It” style emphasis on breast cancer survival subtly blames the disease’s unluckier patients if they are anything less than upbeat about their prognosis. The positive, feel-good emphasis on the companies who sponsor these kinds of high profile “fun-raising” events effectively conveys the message in the popular media that corporate America is the solution to the social and health problems among women, but of course, never the cause.

    Allowing corporations to go unexamined in their faux activist roles has largely been responsible for reversing the course of social movements, trivializing them to the level of a “Hallmark After School Special.” As a result, women learn to apply the principles of new-age cosmetology to all social ills. Bummed out about global warming? Just add an herbal rainforest scented mask to the afflicted area. Or better yet, talk to your teddy bear about it. By filtering public debate through a lens inscribed with a corporate logo, America’s behemoth media organizations have done much to advance the myth of corporate benevolence and further the agenda of backlash politics at the same time.

    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/July2004/Matsui0707.htm

  13. norbizness

    Does that mean that the fake plastic ballsacs hanging off of innumerable trucks’ trailer hitches in Austin are for prostate cancer awareness? I feel bad about smashing that guy’s windows, then.

  14. greymatters

    Please tell me these delightful pink woodies are accompanied by a set of blue balls (the perfect accessory, I think).

  15. MzNicky

    Violet: Yes. Exactly.

    The Ehrenreich article is the one Twisty said was sent to her by a million people (including me) back when she was first diagnosed. It’s perfect, the one I wish I’d written.

  16. Twisty

    “The Ehrenreich article is the one Twisty said was sent to her by a million people (including me) back when she was first diagnosed. It’s perfect, the one I wish I’d written.”

    It is also reproduced in its entirety right here on this very website! See the Extra Credit tab.

  17. Jodie

    I like blazing, firey, angry RED for cancer. Because anger at the cancer keeps more people going than you would think.

    Pink is an adorable color. Cancer is not adorable.

  18. marilu

    “You know, mothers should be liberated, not sentimentalized. It lasts longer.”

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

  19. Ron Sullivan

    Ya know, in my day, that color was called “titty pink.” (I know perfectly well what that says about my day. Let’s see you youngsters survive the like.) I’ve wondered since the start of this color branding exercise if that might be a subtext.

    Ew. In a totally pomo tone of voice, of course.

  20. rivervision

    ironically? i just saw barbara brenner, executive director of breast cancer action speak tonight. good stuff.. all about the industry that has risen around breast cancer, the kind of research that is being done vs what should be done (anything not the environment vs the environment), and even a comment on the komen foundation. i’m a liberal kinda gal, so i loved it. the campaign she was particularly speaking about is their think before you pink campaign. again, more good stuff..

    i’ve never posted here before, but i just wanted to say thanks for your honesty and candidness. i love your blog. of course i love anyplace that acknowledges how bad patriarchy is. okay, i’ll take that comment another step.. i’ll admit i appreciate anyplace that even acknowledges that patriarchy exists. darn fools that can’t see it.

  21. Violet

    Just as men are never urged by strangers in public to “smile”, the media gives prostate cancer sufferers a certain “gravitas” that it otherwise denies to women. As Twisty and Co. have rightfully pointed out, its high profile survivors are never expected to wear chirpy little T-shirts or decorate their ‘Depends’ with smiley faces.

    These days, the female cancer patient is expected to undergo a kind of post-op lobotomy. Through a steady regiment of ‘healy-feely’ propaganda, the capacity for anger and rebellion is carefully excised from her, along with the offending breast.

    I wonder how many women cling to denial, even in the face of persistent and unmistakable symptoms of cancer, because they fear being trivialized and involuntarily recruited into this cult of “survivorhood”.

  22. Kelda

    There’s been a campaign called ‘Think Before You Pink’:
    http://www.wen.org.uk/health/tbyp.htm

    Which I don’t think reached many people here in the UK, but does highlight some of the issues around the pink branded stuff.

    Shouldn’t breast cancer colours have lumps in them? Or at least spots. Scar tissue colours, colours of ulcerated masses, that sort of thing.

  23. Amber

    “unseemly enpussification of the wooden dick extender”

    Literary GOLD, I tell you!

  24. Sylvanite

    I’ve always preferred blue, myself.

    I guess purchasing pink merchandise is an easy way for people to salve their consciences and make them feel as though they’re “doing something,” even if they’re actually doing nothing.

    I do wonder if any of the money for sales of any ribbon magnets, pink, or Support Our Troops, or anything else, go to anything but the magnet manufacturer and purveyor.

  25. Twisty

    “I wonder how many women cling to denial, even in the face of persistent and unmistakable symptoms of cancer, because they fear being trivialized and involuntarily recruited into this cult of “survivorhood”.”

    Hell, I’m in denial, and I’ve been getting ripped, stitched, stapled, pierced, poisoned, phlebotomized, and broiled since last October.

  26. Twisty

    Thanks for the think before you pink link, y’all. Because of residual chemo-brain (how long do I get to use that as an excuse, MzNicky?) I couldn’t remember the name of it.

  27. alphabitch

    Ron: I’ve wondered the same thing about the color branding subtext. The infantilizing nature is bad enough, but that whole other titty-pussy-porno aspect of it is just plain weird.

    On a related note, an acquaintance of mine was recently treated for rectal cancer and bitched about what Violet so accurately called the “healy-feely” propaganda machine. She made a little brown ribbon that she wore from time to time and told anyone who asked about it that she had rectal cancer and it was a pain in the ass.

    One also has to wonder where are the T-shirts and postage stamps for such things as rectal cancer? Or the 5K fun runs for sinus cancer research? Or the special herbal teas for glioblastoma multiforme? I want to see a pair of tighty-whities with a powder-baby-blue ribbon motif and “Prostate Cancer Survivor” written across the ass in loopy cursive writing. Lung cancer, well, people bring that on themselves so we’re not going to give them any ribbons at all, let alone a race or a postage stamp. Never mind that a large proportion (like 40%) of those diagnosed with lung cancer are not smokers.

    I guess our pink titties (women of color, esp. african-american women, are still much more likely to die of breast cancer than white women) are more valuable and interesting than the rest of our bodies.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  28. KH

    In the Victorian era, baby boys were dressed in pink because it was seen to be a more active color. Baby girls were dressed in blue, of course, because it was percieved to be passive.

    If you like pink, claim Victorian pink; if you hate it, claim whatever else you like.

    The pink of the wooden phallus has no luminosity or vibrancy because they shirked on the pigment; it’s like a simulacrum of pink–the pinkest they could get it without spending more money on pinkness.

    I hate that pink ribbon. How about a red knife instead?

  29. Sam

    alphabitch, your post was delightful to read.

  30. Pony

    I don’t know what happened to my post of yesterday, linking Think Before You Pink, Breast Cancer Actions 10 MYths about Breast Cancer, a couple other rad fem groups with similar mandate.

    But here again:

    Breast Cancer Action Montreal
    http://www.bcam.qc.ca/bcamhome.htm
    less than 5 per cent of money raised goes to find out causes of cancer

    Breast Cancer Action
    http://www.bcaction.org/
    Links to Think Before You Pink including video
    Links to Myths About Breast Cancer
    Link to Ehrenreich’s Welcome to Cancerland in PDF
    Sign up for free e-newsletter etc

    Canadian Women’s Health Network
    http://www.cwhn.ca/
    Links to Sharon Batt’s essay on breast cancer and artificial light
    Links to Sharon Batt’s essay on carcinogens in drinking water
    Links to Sharon Batt’s book on breast cancaer industry “Patient No More”

  31. Pony

    Apart from all the other gaggy symbolism, pink co-opted by the breast cancer industry says

    We lopped off your breast but this pink t-shirt says you’re still feminine.

    Just don’t take it off when we’re around. K?

    How much money raised during those runs does the industry spend on huggy sessions for men who can’t stand their uniboobal partners anymore? How much money raised goes to fund pseudo studies showing us breast implants are hunky-dory?

  32. thebewilderness

    KH,
    I think you’ve got it. A knife or scalpel, blood red, says cancer in a properly shrill voice.

  33. Brooklynite

    Um, Twisty? While we’re talking baseball, you might want to check this out.

  34. Pony

    How can these women be so fucking STUPID!! First they laid these shitty sons on us, now they’re digging it.

  35. finnsmotel

    How many people would actually finish the Lung Cancer Fun Run 5k?

    ;-)

    Kidding. But, it is strange how we’ve gravitated toward breast cancer. I guess we’re a Tit Guy of a nation.

    I was watching the ballgame over the weekend and saw the big stink they made about the pink bats and got queasy from it. It’s typical highschool rah rah shit, though, so I guess I’m not surprised. But, I did wonder about uterine cancer and cervical cancer and wonder if the folks with those diseases feel cheated by all the attention the breasts are getting.

    As a guy, I’m relieved that there’s no such thing as Prostate Cancer day. What would that bat look like?

  36. mel

    ENPUSSIFICATION???! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! That is the greatest word I have ever heard!

    I work in a branch of the medical field and the coldness and emptiness which most doctors use toward their breast cancer patients sickens me. A man’s prostate cancer will be expounded upon. In ongoing reports the doctor will always say something about his social life or coping skills or excellent mindset, etc. He will be waited upon for his symptoms, and concern and advice will be offered. But breast cancer? Most doctors will say whether or not the woman is still alive and handling the radiation therapy, and they will also almost always say that they have directed her to the plastic surgery department for breast reconstruction.

    Sara, please post the recipe for the strawberry buttercream icing. It sounds divine.

  37. alphabitch

    Finn – There is a kind of sense to be made out of a Lung Cancer Research fun run, though. I mean, tits are kind of in the way when you run, but you need your lungs.

    Back in the late 60s & early 70s when jogging was highly eccentric and everybody still smoked, even health nuts, my dad had a running buddy who — no lie — would chain smoke while he ran. Training for their annual marathon. He hasn’t had lung cancer as far as I know, although I think he did quit smoking when he had grandkids and his daughter wouldn’t let him near the baby with a cigarette.

    We lopped off your breast but this pink t-shirt says you’re still feminine.

    Just don’t take it off when we’re around. K?

    Pony, that me snort coffee out my nose laughing. That’s precisely the point.

  38. Pony

    This fundraiser shit permeates the pharmaceutical industry and their wholly owned subsidiaries, the disease groups (The Heart Fund, the Arthritis Society etc). If your lung cancer victim can’t run, you’re expected and guilted into geting out there for them. It originates in pharma marketing departments not the research labs. It’s purpose is not cure or treatment, but keeping docs in mercedes.

  39. MzNicky

    Violet says:
    “I wonder how many women cling to denial, even in the face of persistent and unmistakable symptoms of cancer, because they fear being trivialized and involuntarily recruited into this cult of ‘survivorhood’.”

    I suggest it’s not the fear of “being trivialized” or “recruited into a cult” that makes for automatic denial when one finds a lump or unusual bleeding or any other possible symptom of cancer. It’s the fear of having cancer that brings on the denial. Compared with the fear of having cancer, these are not even fears. When you’re waiting on a path report, you’d happily sign on for any trivializing or recruiment into any survivorhood-cult they’ve got.

    alphabitch says:
    “One also has to wonder where are the T-shirts and postage stamps for such things as rectal cancer?”

    If I may (briefly, I promise) quote from my aforementioned master’s thesis:

    “…the treatment of the topic of breast cancer in our society is, and always has been, particularly distinguishable from the ways in which other health issues are handled. This is true even within the context of other female reproductive diseases, and it is so for many reasons, not the least of which is the enormous ambivalence in US cultural attitudes toward, for example sex (i.e., American emphasis on breasts as sexually fetishistic objects), as well as persistent stereotypical attitudes that still view a woman’s preordained role as that of mother (i.e., as a breastfeeder of infants).” (I have no idea why my committee let me get away with such a humongous run-on sentence.)

    Besides which: They’re breasts! Tits! Boobies! I mean, how sexy is rectal cancer compared with the collective schizophrenic misogynist frisson the populace may experience at the thought of women having their breasts sliced off while simultaneously getting to act all sympathetic and do-goody-ish?

    Twisty says:
    “… Because of residual chemo-brain (how long do I get to use that as an excuse, MzNicky?), I couldn’t remember the name of it.”

    Let’s see: My last bout of chemo was Nov. ’99, and I’m still pulling it out and using it whenever I want. So I’d say, forever. Consider it one of the “perks.” Trust me, no one will dare call you on it!

    Sorry for the long post.

  40. Pony

    And (excuse my scattered mind) the cancerparasites are quite right: we are still feminine when we’ve had our female organs removed. What we are not is female, biologically speaking. *Feminism* is a construct, a meme, a trope. Anyone can buy it. In fact, you can ONLY buy it.

  41. Pony

    I meant FEMININITY in the above post. Not feminism. You knew that.

  42. alphabitch

    Ouch, Pony. I’m with you re the fundraiser bullshit and the disease groups and the malignant influence of Big Pharma, but that’s all SOP out there in the capitalist world. I just have to take issue with the docs in mercedes business. I think I know what you mean, and that’s as convenient a metaphor as any, I guess, but I have to point out that it’s not the docs who are making the big bucks here. Unless you mean maybe the ones who’ve burned out and gone to work for Big Pharma. Treating actual patients is slightly more lucrative than doing essential bench research (as opposed to industry-funded clinical trials), but only slightly — and not very lucrative at all when you compare it to the enormous piles of money raked in by the pharmaceutical industry. I don’t want to jump all over you on this, but that one landed a little too close to where I live & work.

    Maybe I’ll post some more on this later over on my own blog, but I’ll go over to Bitch,PhD’s place first & see whatall went on there.

    Oh, and thanks, Sam. Interesting site you have over there. I look forward to reading more of it.

  43. whyme63

    Damn. Now I don’t know what to think regarding the latest controversy in Scottsdale AZ.

    Seems they think “The Pink Taco” is too porny for a restaurant name.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060516/ap_on_fe_st/restaurant_name_1

    I was for the name, myself. But now, I’m not so sure.

  44. Pony

    Alphabitch:

    The researchers are docs.

  45. alphabitch

    I think we’re talking about two different sets of researchers is all. I’ll try to get down off my high horse for a minute and respond.

    What I’m saying is that those who work in teaching hospitals and academic medicine, either in patient care or in labs doing the kind of research that isn’t associated with an immediate, marketable, and patentable intellectual property or protential product are not the ones tooling around in fancy cars. Sometimes they’re happy — grateful, even — to accept funding from industry sponsors to participate in clinical trials that they either believe will help their patients or that will help further their own related research. It’s a drop in the bucket, most of the time, but that’s how it is. They try to pretend it’s not going to influence their work, but they know it sometimes does; they’ve seen it happen before.

    You are right, though, Pony. There are people with MDs and PhDs working for the Pharmaceutical-Industrial Complex both directly and indirectly (e.g. some (but not all) of those free-standing “Clinical Trials Centers” you see advertising for study subjects all the time) doing what amounts to fancy product testing and marketing studies, and they are indeed very well-funded.

    Meanwhile, basic science labs are underfunded and understaffed because they don’t generate sufficient income, what with no sexy hair-loss remediation products to sell — and no one who wakes up with the debt burden associated with an MD/PhD/internship/fellowship/postdoc training program can possibly afford to take an entry-level faculty job doing only “pure” research. Not if they want to do anything wacky like eat, or live somewhere. Fuck the mercedes — this is why they bought a toyota when they were undergraduates: they knew it would be still running 12 years later when they finally got a real job and could afford to buy one that was maybe only three or years old.

    I’ve seen several friends and colleagues go over to the dark side, burned out from the long hours, the constant struggle for grants, the frustration of caring for patients in underfunded VA and teaching hospitals, and the political realities of life on the tenure track. They have better cars, better vacations, and cooler stuff than they used to, but I’m not sure they are happier. The ones who went that way in the first place, well, who knows what they think.

    I blame the pharmaceutical-industrial patriarchy for this.

  46. Pony

    MzNicky:

    Not to contend the right of any woman who choses a particular cancer treatment with INFORMED CONSENT, I have to disagree with this comment:

    “When you’re waiting on a path report, you’d happily sign on for any trivializing or recruiment into any survivorhood-cult they’ve got.”

    This is exactly what is WRONG. We are too quick to turn ourselves over to them, to instilled with eeeekcancer! rather then saying, wait a minute, what are my options? And getting second opinions and even third opinions. If you’ve really got cancer, it’s not going to kill you in the time it takes to do that. And if it would do that, then no amount of treatment is going to save you longer than to survive the treatment.

    Yes. I’ve put my body where my mouth is. Twice.

    Thank you for sharing part of your thesis with us. I’d be so excited to learn more. Can you put more here, or do you have a blog?

    This is my area of feminist interest: healthcare, misogyny in the medical industry, women’s rights to women-centred healthcare.

  47. FamousSovietAthlete

    This pink business reminds me of Bono’s Red line of credit cards and George Soros’ artificially colored revolutions.

  48. Pony

    The “mercedes” was just a buzz word for all it represents. And yes, academic physicians *are* primarly bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. So are the front line docs with rare exception. Medical faculties, labs, tuition, equipment for surgeons–all funded wholly or in majority part by pharma.

    The pharmaceutical industry spends far more on marketing than it does on research. Cruises, office equipment, tickets to very expensive sports and music events, stocks, consultancy fees for a respected academic name on work that comes out of pharma marketing depts, events with pharma paid “escorts”: More than I care to bother listing. I’ve spent fiver years researching this.

    JAMA, BMJ, NEJM, CMAJ all have done theme issues on this. There is no category of the medical industry that pharma does not own.

  49. MzNicky

    Pony: What I was referring to was Violet’s comment regarding how fear of “trivialization and recruitment into a cult of survivorhood” might possibly influence denial concerning cancer symptoms. I took her to mean the way BrCa is exploited for corporate gain, et cetera. Perhaps I misread what she meant. (If so, I blame chemo brain.) I wasn’t referring to treatment options laid out after diagnosis, but the black hole of cold fear that opens up in your gut when you think you’ve got cancer and you’ll do anything, anything, anything to hear that you really don’t.

    Having said that, you are on the money about getting second opinions and taking the time to weigh your options. Again, cold hard fear screams “Do whatever! Anything! Now! NOW!” It’s in the luxury of afterthought that you may wonder if it was all really necessary. Me, I said Bring It On, not wanting to dismiss an available treatment then kick myself in the ass later if it came back and I didn’t do everything possible to kill the fucker the first time.

    I contribute to Tennessee Guerilla Women but it’s not my blog. However, if anyone is interested in the work I did, e-mail me at

    mistressnickstress@hotmail.com

    and I’m sure we can work something out. The gist of it is the mediated construction of BrCa reality — I analyzed six trillion or so medical articles and, focusing on “cause,” traced their research findings through the mainstream media food chain down to the bottom-feeding “women’s” magazines to see what, if any, reliable information about BrCa got through.

    Sorry again for the bloated post.

  50. kathy a

    yellow is taken — lance armstrong got that one.

    dark blue is, i think, for pediatric cancer and make-a-wish, and if you think i’m dissing them, forget it.

    the pink, though — it is culturally a happy and submissive and juvenile color, and cancer is none of the above. the pink has been marketed to an alarming point.

    i’m all for awareness and support. i don’t even mind the pink baseball bats very much, as long as a few guys hit well with them and keep using them. [but i'm so with twisty, that there are better ways to honor mom.] the handbags, the pins, the bicycle seats — all that “sold” stuff gets to be a bit much.

    cancer is NOT all cheer, all the time; it is pretty much the opposite. you care about cancer? care about the person who has it, beginning by remembering this is a person, not a pink ribbon. gray sounds good, or red.

  51. kathy a

    mz nicky, please rant away.

  52. jami

    on sunday a woman out for breakfast with her son stole my boyfriend’s “economist” off our table. he joked that it was mother’s day so they could do that, and i said that yeah, mothers are omnipotent today.

    he shivered.

    the color of mothers should be the vibrant red that terrifying economist-snatcher was wearing.

  53. Pony

    Yes. That is what I understood you to be referring to. And to what I also referred.

    “…but the black hole of cold fear that opens up in your gut when you think you’ve got cancer and you’ll do anything, anything, anything to hear that you really don’t. ”

    The chemo, surgery and radiation are just postponement. There is no save. They don’t want us to know that of course. I could just hork when I hear oncologists blow about how they saved someone’s life; someone who goes on to die three, or six or 11 years later of a “recurrence”. It’s no fucking recurrence it’s the same thing they stood on her chest and roared over. That postponement goes into the stats as a save. It’s all about the industry, the egos, and not at all about the patient. New and more nifty surgical techniques, more accurate zapping, more deadly chemical poisons that cause cancers and postpone them. So many women think they’ll be cured if they get to five years, because that’s the length of time the liars throw at them. It’s also the length of time after which which many cancers will test recurring.

  54. Vibrating Liz

    A bit of a tangent but I just realized that the mother of the recently indicted Duke lacrosse captain David Evans is lobbyist Rae Evans, of Evans & Black, who has represented the evil Komen Foundation (note the timely patriarchal tie-in with beef & beer!):

    Running From the Truth

    To get their way, the Komen group relies on longtime Washington lobbyist Rae F. Evans, a self-described “corporate strategist” with little experience or interest in grassroots advocacy, who doubles as a lobbyist for Nancy Brinker’s spouse, restaurant magnate and polo champion Norman Brinker, of Brinker International. Norman Brinker made his fortune off restaurants such as Streak & Ale, Chili’s, and Bennigan’s, and has served on the Haggar Corporation’s board of directors—along with Rae Evans—since 1994, according to the Forbes internet database of companies.

    For his part, Mr. Brinker, a longtime Komen board member, was a bitter foe of a meaningful Patients’ Bill of Rights, through the efforts of both Evans and the National Restaurant Association. This “other NRA” continually topped anti-PBR lobbying rosters, according to FEC records.

    Norman Brinker has also lobbied against mandatory minimum wage laws and laws banning indoor smoking, especially inside restaurants.

    Through the years, the Brinkers helped deliver the state of Texas to Bush, Jr., for the governor’s seat and then the Presidency. Their phenomenal fund raising skills earned them the moniker of “Bush Pioneers,” followed by committee positions for the Bush Inaugural Ball, which requires a minimum $25,000 donation. On her own, Nancy Brinker lists nearly $256,000 in both soft and hard money donations to Bush and the Republican Party, according to FEC records. Donations to Democrats totaled exactly zero.

    Rae Evans likewise donated $500 to the Bush for President Campaign in 1999. The result is that lobbyists from Evans & Black and Akin Gump walk in the doors of elected officials as important campaign contributors, not as mere constituents.

  55. VMC

    Pony, that thing you meant to write, femininity, not feminism, that is only bought? Do you really think that true?

    Is Patriarchy only soluble in androgyny?

  56. Pony

    So what I think is this: it is our organs and hormones which make us female. Biology. Physiology. But it is learned behaviour taught to us by our culture which is the “feminine”.

    For example: Lesbians are female unless they’d had gender surgery, that wouldn’t change. But to my knowledge, most lesbians reject to be “feminine”.

    Did I get it across. My thining and someone could sure elaborate on it. Or initiate a smackdown. I might as well bleed here too.

  57. Ms Kate

    My mom used to call that shade “titty pink”.

    I guess it’s now “no titty pink”.

    Gotta love how many companies that market things to women have jumped on the tittyless pink bandwagon, rather than remove carcinogenic and hormone disrupting chemicals from their products. http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep/

  58. Pony

    It’s not really a problem Ms Kate. The reason it’s not really a problem is because we just don’t understand how science works. Our brains have been flooded with too much estrogen. There’s a nice girl. Go read someting artsy.

    Don’t ask.

  59. Twisty

    “The chemo, surgery and radiation are just postponement. There is no save.”

    Pony mistakes I Blame The Patriarchy for one of those blogs written by one of those bloggers who enjoys being edified by total strangers on the inevitiability of her imminently impending doom from a hideous wasting disease. However, I Blame The Patriarchy is actually written by one of those bloggers who is on her way to her 27th radiation treatment, and who finds such pronouncements to be both unburdened by an excess of fact, and in rather poor taste.

  60. Pony

    You are right: my comment was in poor taste. Saturday I go to a funeral. Oncologists are liars who drive mercedes.

    Today is my last post. I wish you well.

  61. MzNicky

    Not to mention that Pony’s ugly remark is not based in fact, and further, that the making of it might most charitably be construed as mean-spirited, and less charitably, as solipsistically embittered and purposefully hateful.

    Or do I once again misunderstand?

  62. Pony

    I neglected to apologize to EVERYONE here. That was a completely thoughtless and horrible post.

  63. Ms Kate

    Ultimately true, considering we all are moral in the end. Yet in poor taste, if only because some people will take any of those extra years they can get regardless of the rigorous process involved – and those extra years may be far more plentiful than typically predicted by the lognormal curve of fate.

    Take one “Mismeasure of Man” and comment in the morning.(yeah, I know, horrible title for Steven J. Gould’s great work on proper statistical interpretation of his own personal fate)

    My great aunt was told to go home and not bother planning for Christmas. She had small-cell carcinoma of the lung, with a 5% probability of making it 5 years.

    That was 10 years ago. Worth a die roll, I’d say.

  64. Ms Kate

    Arggh. MORTAL, not moral. (Moral Kombat? That would be an interesting typo come oxymoron – second typo is for the spamulator’s sake!)

  65. MzNicky

    “Yet in poor taste, if only because some people will take any of those extra years they can get, blah blah blah, regardless of, yadda yadda yadda.”

    Horseshit. Let’s do NOT get into blaming the victim here. The remark, as Twisty tactfully said, was in “poor taste,” because it was rude and mean and a lie besides. Not because of any expectation or non-expectation on Twisty’s part. It was just rude and mean and a lie.

    Any questions?

  66. perinteger

    Pony,

    I’m can’t speak for anyone else here and the community’ll have it’s say one way or the other, but I would personally be disappointed if you stopped posting. Strong feelings, hastily expressed can be hurtful, so you learn from the experience. Please don’t remove your contribution – we’ll be worse off for it.

  67. Ms Kate

    Yeah. What’s your issue MzNicky? Is there a story here?

  68. MzNicky

    What’s my “issue”? Don’t know what you mean by that.

    My “story” is breast cancer, having had it, not having had it for seven years, knowing it may return, knowing the further away from it the less likely that is; my “story” is that I know women who have had recurrences and died within 18 months, women who’ve had recurrences and lived another 10 or 15 years; women who never had a recurrence, not after 25 or even 40 years. Thus the implication that if you are diagnosed with cancer, no matter what you do, it will come back, is false.

    These observations are not the deluded fantasies of a clueless patsy of the patriarchy.

  69. Chris Clarke

    Take one “Mismeasure of Man” and comment in the morning.(yeah, I know, horrible title for Steven J. Gould’s great work on proper statistical interpretation of his own personal fate)

    Quibble, but only to save Ron the keystrokes:

    The Mismeasure of Man is a very informative and slightly dry book on IQ testing and other such pswaydosciences. The essay Gould wrote on his own personal cancer story – or at least the first part of it – is entitled “The Median is Not The Message.”

  70. Ms Kate

    Thanks for clarifying that, Chris.

    I had both bundled together in one packet of readings with the face page from “Mismeasure” on top. Hence my confusion.

    And MzNicky – good fortune be with you.

  71. Christine

    I don’t know if I hate baseball or just certain baseball players (Jeter, A.Rod) [ellipsis removed by Twisty], but hockey did it first. This past season some players used pink hockey stick which were then autographed and auctioned. Mother’s Day was not needed as a tie in.

    I do get the point, what do men with pink sticks of any kind have to do with Breast cancer? Nothing, but shame on MLB or better yet, MLB reporters, for thinking they are so original.

  72. Sara

    Not to bring down the level of blamery here or anything, but Mel did ask for the strawberry icing recipe.

    Mel, basic butter icing comprises 2 C (474 ml) confectioner’s sugar, 2 T (30 ml) melted butter, and 1 T (15 ml) vanilla or the guts of one vanilla bean all beaten together, with enough milk added in after that to make it spreadable. (You can use soy milk and vegetable margarine if you are lactose intolerant or vegan, and it will still be delicious.) To turn this yummy stuff into strawberry icing, just throw chunks of raw strawberry in with the milk and beat them in until not completely smooth. You want some lumps because strawberry bits are nice to come across.

    I don’t have a precise measurement for you; as with making margaritas, much depends on the ripeness of the fruit. The riper the fruit, the wetter and also the pinker will be your icing. You don’t want the fruit to be positively rotten, but a little overripe can be perfect. I’d go one or two at a time alternating with dribbles of milk until you reach the consistency you desire.

    Now, you can do this with pretty much any berry, and instead of raw you can also use frozen and then defrosted but not microwaved as ingredients must be room temperature. Blueberries make lavender icing. Defrosted dark sweet cherries with juice make very pink and ultra-sweet icing. Raspberries also make pink icing, but you have to be prepared for seeds unless you (unlike me) have a trick for getting them out in advance. I mean, I suppose you could mash them through a sieve into the icing mixture, but I’ve never tried it due to laziness and a strong preference for other flavors.

    My mother, who taught me this technique, used to put fresh strawberry icing on vanilla cupcakes. Yummy.

    Thank you for allowing me this interruption. I now return you to your regular blaming patterns.

  73. kathy a

    the icing is a very acceptable use of pink, in my opinion.

  74. Mandalay

    As a female sports fan, I find the recent trend of pink insulting. My God, I was looking in an NFL catalog and it had pink Oakland Raiders baby tees and hoodies. This is a team whose followers routinely come to games dressed like extras from Mad Max movies but who jumped on the bandwagon and offer little sparkly t-shirts (“but it supports CANCER RESEARCH!!!”). If I go to a sporting event and see a woman walking around in pink stuff, I can guarantee that she’s only there to squeal over cute players, ergo the derisive term “pink-clad fangirl.” No true female sports fan would be caught DEAD in pink shit. So the pink bats and pink hockey sticks and the cute little ribbons? Stop it. Just stop. Quite frankly, women look hot in jerseys. Screw lingerie–if I want action from my husband I come out in my Ben Roethlisberger jersey with nothing underneath it and get chased back into the bedroom.

    PS–that icing recipe sounds fantastic.

    PPS–long time reader, first time poster.

  75. Kiuku

    When a man is sick, doctors treat it as an illness, a problem, and not a mental state or some weird anomaly they just can’t figure out, as the alien view of the female body poses to most doctors. Most doctors and nurses writhe at the idea of consideration toward the ill woman, like they express toward a man, because it is service and serving a woman, even ill, is inherently distasteful. Nurses and doctors seem to not understand the concept of a woman in pain, unless it is menstrual, or migraine, or some problem dubbed an obvious woman malfunction due to inherent womanly weakness that needs attending to, but not necessarily sympathy, as is granted toward the man. She is expected to go to counseling to get over it, and if she is upset about her pain or sickness, it must be mental illness, so she is expected to go to counseling in order to get over the mental illness of being in pain and being sick. The man may be referred to counseling or not, but his grief is understood.

    Doctors and nurses would rather not deal with a sick patient who is a woman, because the idea that women are actual human beings, who can actually get sick, is inherently distasteful, so the sick woman will find herself brushed off, dismissed, or referred to psych medicines. It takes an unnecessarily long time to diagnose cancer, or other disease, in a woman, because she presents herself to the doctor with her symptoms, and they go undiagnosed.

    A woman is often asked how her family is coping. A woman who is sick is not attended to by her loved ones, but again finds herself saddled with, not only the burden of dealing with her illness, but her family which expects her to comfort them. Her illness becomes about them, and the counseling is their sickness, and not hers.

    This is the same with and typical of any assault on a woman, such as rape. Women are less inclined to report rape because it ends up being a drama about her male partner, brother, or father, or male relatives, and she ends up having to comfort them.

    Breast Cancer awareness month is not much different. It is companies selling female health to men, marketing it to them the only way that matters: boobies.

  76. Kiuku

    Just as a personal example. Man goes to doctor complaining of onsets of debilitating nausea, indigestion, headache, pain on the scale of 9/10, you can bet that every test on the face of the planet would be conducted on him, the first time. I went to the doctor with this complaint, and got nothing…at all. I went several times. Once, I went to the emergency room later in the night, after seeing a doctor, whom I waited 3 months to see, and was turned away, because it got extreme, with this complaint, and yet again, turned away. I can go into the exact details of what happened, and why they did nothing, but suffice it to say, nothing was done. And my symptoms persisted, grief and pain and wasting. I was expected to work, because I had no real medical excuses. It would be exactly -3 years- later that two diagnostic tests were conducted.

  77. Kiuku

    and I had to specifically request them.

  78. Kiuku

    Also, I have an herbal product to recommend. I’m not into herbal cures for cancer, as much as I am not a believer in conventional approaches either, though they have gotten more refined, but there is a product called Triphala, that helps me immensely, for pain and nausea. I don’t know if it interferes with chemo or not, but it is a great product for pain, and nausea. It has astringent properties, and supposed anti tumor effects, and sucks up bad stuff.

  1. Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » “Pink Bats for Mother’s Day”

    [...] Update 2: Twisty weighs in here. [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>