http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/01/pretty-in-pink-the-white-house-is-lit-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month/

This may come across as callous, but I’m getting kindof tired of hearing about breast cancer.

And I’m a woman, so I can’t even imagine how bored men must be.

Granted, I haven’t had it, nor have I recently known anyone close to me who is “battling” it, (it’s always called a “battle”) so I am writing from a privileged position. My grandmother had it, though, so I’m not completely untouched by it. But my grandfather has had multiple kinds of “minor cancers” and you don’t hear about anybody giving out pins the color of scabby melanoma. Gross.

Keep in mind that in the past 30 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined, and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast cancer, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. (I got my impressive stats from the website of the Skin Cancer Foundation: www.skincancer.org) It begs the question: has the United States been made aware of breast cancer yet?

I’m thinking the answer is yes.

But there’s an entire month dedicated to breast cancer. I feel that’s excessive. It makes me want to know more about how it happened, how much lobbying it took and how much money changed hands, and how many women running how many 5k races it took? I mean, they lit up the White House in pink lights last night! I hope it was only for a night, but either way, have they done this for other cancers or causes? Is this a campaign gimmick? (Turns out it’s not, since they lit it up in 2010 as well…unless you think people in government are always campaigning, which may be true. I couldn’t find out if they lit it up last year.)

I’m just going to say it: is breast cancer the cause we want to be most going after? What about domestic violence? Or what about the institutionalized demeaning of the breasts people are trying to protect through the objectification of women in the media? What about homelessness? What about finding the causes of autism or what about the treatment of the elderly or other at-risk members of society? Are you telling me that boobie cancer is the cause behind which we are all to rally? Even football players wear pink all month: pink shoes, pink sweat rags, pink undershirts, pink doilies, pink tea cozies, pink hair binders (okay, I might have made up a few of those things). Are we to believe those players make a measurable increase in anything breast cancer? There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I can’t bring myself to type it out (think of a t-shirt emblazoned with “portable mamogram”…or something).

[Just for the record, the NFL has lots of charities it supports, and you can find out about them here: http://www.nflcharities.org/, and the Vikings page shows they support a Children’s Fund and an environmental effort: http://www.vikings.com/community/index.html I should also mention that people much more interested in football than I have differing opinions about this: http://1045theteam.com/sports-illustrateds-peter-king-complains-about-nfl-wearing-pink-for-entire-breast-cancer-awareness-month/]

I’m curious to hear your perspective on this. It seems taboo to say anything but positive things about the awareness effort, but when you read that lung cancer is the thing that’s on the rise and is particularly lethal, it makes me wonder if people’s efforts are misplaced (http://progressreport.cancer.gov/trends-glance.asp).

Is it because there are boobs involved? They seem to have a real power over people, men and women, and probably because of the importance that’s been placed on big ones, to have anything happen to them threatens a woman’s womanhood. I can wrap my head around that, I guess, because it is a physical distinction between men and women.

But are our breasts where we get our womanhood? Is our intrinsic female-ness tied up in our chests? And let’s not even get started on talking about female attitudes towards their bodies and where those attitudes come from. Let’s just leave it that not all people have a great love for those extra couple pounds (or less) of flesh — not to imply that anyone would willingly undergo a mastectomy if it wasn’t medically necessary. Don’t go twisting what I’m saying, you rascal!

Lots to think about today, and I welcome any comments, but try not to get too mad at me for sharing a dissenting opinion.

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