The Cure For Pink

As I was working on this post, I discovered that I was officially a “cause bandit.”   The phrase was coined by Jen Price, on Advancing Impact, a blog to help non-profits do better at what they do, in her post, Cause Bandits: How Would Your Non-Profit Respond? In it, Price succinctly points out how a “critical mass” of people has demonstrated its collective disillusionment with the marketing tactics and priorities of Susan G. Komen For The Cure, and how Komen has thus far responded with silence.   Oh, and perfume.   A flurry of articulate comments were posted, many by those of us who consider ourselves to be loud and proud cause bandits.

Komen is not the only one engaged in marketing pink consumer merchandise, as this ad I found on my Facebook sidebar shows.   But Komen is certainly the most heinous, as the video below amply illustrates.   I started writing another post, in which I began to deconstruct this hideous segment of the Home Shopping Network, but then I came upon yet another post, written for WegoHealth by Alicia Staley, which expresses my disgust and utter astonishment so articulately and passionately, I decided to resume working on this post instead.   This video says it all, with its headline, “Shop for the Cure.”   But watch it with edification in mind, and perhaps on an empty stomach, because it may make you nauseous.

I know.   Left me speechless, too.   Now, go and read Staley’s post, Komen’s Wild Ride.   I promise you it will help you feel better.   If there’s anyone out there who still insists that we Komen cause bandits are just a bunch of fringe naysayers, then all I can say is that it’s getting to be a mighty long fringe.

Ironically enough — or perhaps I was merely reflecting the zeitgeist — as Price and Staley were working on their posts, I was writing another one of my tunes to express my weariness and outrage at the continued trivialization of breast cancer, even as yet another moronic Facebook ad appeared on my sidebar.   If there is anyone left out there in the universe who still does not understand what it’s like to see your disease turned into a brand, as well as an opportunity for companies and corporations to cash in on it by selling pink merchandise, I offer the collage of images at the bottom of this post.   These were all photos I took myself, during one day in October as I ran a few errands.   I went to just three places — the supermarket, the UPS Store, and the craft store.   When I came home, I checked my email, and found a few ads for pink figurines on my Yahoo! sidebar, so I added them, too.   This represents one day, people.   One.  October.  Day.   I suggest you play my song, loudly, as an antidote while you’re looking at them.

SHOUT! — The Amazon’s Remix

Shout.  Shout.  Let it all out.
These are the things I can do without.
Come on.  I’m talking to you.

When cancer comes, you shouldn’t have to sell your soul
For products pink.
They really, really ought to go.
Those one-track minds, they took you for a simple girl.
Kiss them good-bye.
You shouldn’t have to jump for joy.


They sell us pink
When cancer tries to take our lives.
No cure for sale.
I hope we live to tell the tale.


And when we’ve taken down their guard,
I’d like to change their minds.
I hope it doesn’t break our hearts.
Shout, Shout!  Let it all out!
These are the things we can do without!
Come on!   I’m talking to you!   Come on!

And last but not least, the Pink Crap itself, all of it purporting to be sold in support of breast cancer.  I think my personal favorite might be the “Grow-A-Head” chia pets.

Pink Crap

‘Nuff said?   I sure hope so.

A big thank-you to Tears for Fears, for writing a great tune.

Please click on the post title or the comment link below to post a response.

This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 01:06 am, filed under Attitude, Fighting the Pink Peril, Making A Difference, Nitty Gritty, Survivorship and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

10 Responses to “The Cure For Pink”

  1. Thanks for reading my post, Kathi. One point of clarification – I did not coin the term “bandit” – I learned about it via this post:

    After the powerful discussion that has occurred in the comments section of my post, I truly believe bandit is not the right term. Bandit has such a negative tone. This group of donors and volunteers are passionate. They are focused on achieving a specific mission. They truly want to make a difference so others do not have to battle this horrific disease. If we could harness all of this passion and determining for a nonprofit truly focused on making impact, can you imagine what we could accomplish?

    Thanks for continuing this discussion, Jen

  2. I can hear you, Anna!!! xxoo

    Thanks, Jen! Gayle is my buddy & I read her piece on the Komen bandits that attended one of their events. But I didn’t regard myself as a member of that august group until I read your post.

    I agree with you about the word, though. When I read your post, I thought that actually it was not us, but Komen who was the bandit, stealing the limelight away from the real issues that need to be brought to awareness. Did you read Alicia’s post? It’s fantastic! And she identifies the real tragedy, which is what I started to think about for my own draft post about that HSN segment: that Nancy Brinker & Komen have squandered the limelight they’ve garnered. They’ve placed themselves in a position to really be a powerful force for breast cancer, and they are squandering it with half-truths, pink consumerism and skewed priorities. I really hope, for the sake of all of us and all their own volunteers who keep trying to believe in them, that they come around. In the blogosphere, we who have called Komen to task all refer to ourselves as the “cancer rebels.” 😉

  3. I’m shouting too Kathi! Can you hear me now???

  4. Kathi,
    “Pink is the color of breast cancer.” That statement offends me. How can you put a color on death and heartbreak? Komen as a brand doesn’t bother me. Whether we’re selling something, have a blog or are a church, we have something that identifies us from others in our field, a logo if you will, a name. That’s what branding is, but I would rather Ms. Brinker say “Pink is the color of Susan G. Komen.”


  5. Exactly, Brenda! Brinker claims it was her sister’s favorite color. Well, great, but it’s not my favorite color. The huge problem with using that color is that it is already fraught with gender stereotypes about femininity that we do not need heaped upon cancer. Breast cancer already gets sexualized and prettified to an offensive degree. Having pink associated with it makes that worse and may even be part of the reason that sexualization has occurred.

  6. Kathi,

    Great song remix!

    Yes, Komen….ARGHHHH. I don’t know what it’s going to take to keep this organization from distracting our society from what’s really at stake: lives.

  7. As I read your post, my mind kept telling me how October is just around the corner. And then I cringed. I don’t want to face the pink, even for one day. Your collage should be posted Crawl for the Cause takes the (pink) cake. That is so disgusting and insensitive when so many people on chemo or weakened by the disease have to crawl out of bed every morning. What are they thinking? “Shout!” is right on. I love it. Thanks for my anti-pink anti-nausea pill for today.

  8. Kathi, Jen & all,
    I don’t care if you guys are bandits or rebels. There is nothing negative about questioning Komen for the Cure, their leadership, their message or motives. We need to further educate the general public about the role of capitalism and profiteering on the coat tales of non-profits.
    The false feeling of contributing via spending as a way to support a cause ultimately has a negative impact on the ability to make true donations to the root mission of the cause.
    Bravo for keeping it real and focusing on the scientific results of the millions of $$$ that are thrown at having a “pink awakening” toward humanity.

  9. Excellent comment, Holly!

    Maybe I’ll organize a SHOUT sing-along for this Pinktober…

  10. Kathi,
    Thanks for this post, I think. Ha, just kidding. All the pink in the name of breast cancer does begin to nauseate me. I am struck at how my thinking has evolved since my diagnosis. Before and for a time after, I didn’t realize Komen is not funneling enough dollars to research. I try to remind myself that most people do not realize this either. Most people assume Komen is doing such great things for research/cure. The truth is finally trickling out, but it’s going to take more time before the flood gates are really opened up. I DO think Komen’s ‘day of reckoning’ is coming. They will have to take notice of the “bandits” sooner or later. They will have to evolve. The public will demand it. Eventually.

    As for all the pink branding, sadly I fear the end of that is no where in sight yet.

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