Triggered by a blog entry by my friend Amy, whom you should be reading.
We were at a high school football game the other day. The opposing team all had on pink socks, wrist and bicep bands. I turned to my husband and said "oh, so now it has moved to high school sports."
It meaning breast cancer awareness "marketing."
Everyone who breathes knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There is pink everywhere. In NFL games, it is on the shoes, gloves, towels hanging from waistbands on tight white pants. Pink ribbons in the center of the field. Pink in the stands, pink on the cheerleaders, little pink ribbons on the lapels of the owners, coaches. Pink logos on baseball hats. Pink. Pink. Pink.
My son's team didn't have any pink on. But this other squad was in full pink gear. Doug pondered the sideline and uttered what I think is the most prescient and concise assessment of the Pinkening.
"Pink is the new Star Bellied Sneeches." We are more aware, we are supportive and more loving than you because we are decked out in pink. And you are not. We don't got stars on ours while you don't have stars on thars... we got pink socks.
Here's the thing. I know breast cancer sucks. Do not give me shit about this, do not even GO there. I know. Guess what, "I'm AWARE" already. I don't want it, I don't want anyone I know to get it. I've had a few friends with lumpectomies. I've had my friend Aaron's mom go through a double mastectomy and chemo and radiation. My friend Rob's mom went through months of arduous treatments and kicked cancer's ass. Cancer sucks.
But does wearing pink do anything other than make you look like your Nikes clash with your black and gold, or Carolina Blue? Does buying a box of breakfast cereal with a pink band around it really raise anyone's awareness of anything?
Jess looked at the opposing team and said 'oh, so they're trying to raise awareness? Is there a single person in this stadium right now that ISN'T aware of breast cancer already? Some guy will yell out "What's with the all pink socks?" and everyone around him will gasp at his lack of awareness, and then someone will politely raise his awareness? And the guy will go "Oh, I wasn't aware and now I am? Thanks Pink Socks!" What a joke."
I have to agree.
Over the past several years that this has grown more and more "in your face" I've grown more and more annoyed by it. Pink on your take out containers, your iced coffee, pink on your milk carton, your spinach container, your floor cleaner...
And what about when the month is over? When November blows in, cold and dreary, and carries us all the way through the winter, spring and summer months all the way through next September's end? Are we to be less aware of Breast Cancer the other 11 months of the year? And what about someone suffering from Ovarian or Prostate cancer during October? Do we shrug off caring for their needs because it isn't their "month" or their "color" flying from the "Look at me now in all my awesomeness bandwagon jumping because I care!" people, agencies, corporations and sports teams? Oh, we'll care about your cancer in February. Sorry it is a short month with two days fewer of awareness.
My awareness isn't raised, but my annoyance level is.
I actually look for products that do NOT have the pink all over them. I know they claim that a portion of their sales of that product will go to breast cancer research. There is usually a cap or a limit or some sort of legal mumbo jumbo so that you know they're not really giving all they can (or maybe should, if they're going to bandwagon jump). Just a portion, up to x amount of dollars. So even though 50 million units of our product sold because 50 million people bought into this let's be helpful movement, we'll cap that at 75k units. So we don't lose all that pink inspired cash.
There is also the issue of once your money, if it goes somewhere, goes... it may not go to breast cancer research. It could very well go to some other thing that XYZ agency supports. And you have no control over it. An agency that is the beneficiary of your Breakfast Cereal Money "donation" can do whatever the hell they damn well please with it, and your 5 cents or whatever goes somewhere other than where you think it is going.
It is all a complete and total sham, or at least appears so to me.
I am kind of glad that my son's team didn't wear pink socks. A couple of the boys have pink socks, I have seen them on the field this month. To me, this is perhaps an individual tribute to someone they love. Or, they see the pros doing it and they've decided to do it themselves. At least it is not a mandate from the NFL downward to collegiate, high school and Pop Warner teams.
And I can admire that if a boy wants to do it, because he loves someone. I'm a little worried about a boy who does it because he sees the Patriots doing it.
If I have kicked a hornets' nest with this entry, I guess that is something that I can expect. Some of you may be upset at me for feeling this way. You're free to let me know what you think. So few people leave comments on these blog entries that I feel I'm talking to myself. But chime in if you have a different or the same opinion. I'd love to hear from you.