Since 1985, October has been dubbed Breast Cancer Awareness month, where nonprofits partner with big corporations to fund walk-a-thons and fundraising events to inspire survivors of breast cancer.
Every October big money companies spend tons of money in damage control producing commercial goods to show off their support of the cause, usually any action plans to help survivors.
“Even the NFL has gotten into the breast cancer business, eager to distract us from their sexual assault and concussion problems,” claims Karuna Jaggar, executive director of the group Breast Cancer Action. Big organizations like the NFL exploit good programs like breast cancer awareness to solve their PR problems.
Most organizations for breast cancer awareness are ploys to create sympathy for survivors, but don’t point out the real issue for survivors: generalization. Generalization in the most common form is assuming the breast cancer survivors should be fully recovered since they already “beat cancer.”
In most cases, even after remission survivors have a higher possibility of getting recurrent cancer and heart attacks.
Cancer, and especially breast cancer, have become such pop culture topics which have assumed that all survivors are strong women who much stand up to cancer. Viewing survivors as invincible only leads to women feeling bad if they don’t have a smile on their face or if they don’t feel inspiration. The product of pink-ribbons in the breast cancer community is the same way big corporations sell sex.
Cancer is not pretty and should not be treated as another logo on a t-shirt to wear on one day in October. Supporting survivors of cancer is important, but as a society it is our responsibility to not make generalizations about those who survived and instead allow them to tell us how they really feel.
Bringing awareness to a disease that is already very well known is not working. Maybe it is time for survivors to take over and tell us what they need and thinks will help them best.