After last week's commotion about the bikini walk and the debate over sitting in the sun and having people question WHY I (and many of YOU) have a problem with the sexualization of breast cancer, I thought it would be a good idea to put together the voices of some of those involved with Pink Ribbons Inc.
Then, another commotion came into focus. TWO different reviews of the documentary were written. They were both by men. I left comments and in one of them I was asked by yet another man, "Bitter much, AnneMarie." I told him I was not bitter, just angry. Today, as two young women are preparing to die, I share my anger, my sadness and my determination to see things change. No.... I'm not bitter but I am highly offended by these reviews.
I'm back in the mode of ranting. About everything. It's exhausting. But hell, someone has to keep hammering away until the message is heard, understood. Only THEN will I step away with the realization, "I tried and you can't fix stupid." Clearly, however, neither of these men attempted any level of understanding or they could not have possibly written such insensitive (and in places downright insulting) reviews.
From Tom Stockman, we are "shrill" and "Debbie Downer-ish" ... oh... and yes, he includes a link and an address to encourage donations to Komen. One must question Mr. Stockman's ability to write an unbiased review when he includes a link to donate to just ONE organization from the many breast cancer organizations out there.... How about equal time and exposure for oh, I don't know, let's say.... METAvivor or Dr Susan Love Research Foundation where they really ARE funding research.
And from Joe Williams, you just have to love a statement like this:
"Yet because the film doesn't contain a single sobering image of human suffering, the complaints about commercialization and insensitive language seem like much ado about nothing. After all, the walk-a-thons attract thousands of survivors who understand the gravity of the disease, and the Komen Foundation has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars to study it."
What? He needed to see someone gasping their last breath for it to be real? The walkers understand the gravity of the disease? Let's ask my friend Donna Peach how she was greeted at a Komen walk where they supposedly understand "the gravity of the disease." Hell, the VOLUNTEERS don't understand. But the survivors/walkers do? Yeah, right. The metastatic patients are the stain on the ribbon. I defy anyone, anywhere to point me to ANYTHING to show me differently. Don't even GET ME STARTED on the comment about "Komen ..... raise(d) millions of dollars to study it." Let's get a fact check on that from the late, great and tremendously missed, Rachel Cheetam Moro, shall we?
A third commotion came into focus, too as Angelo Merendino's photo exhibit of his wife's battle with breast cancer that he chronicled so we CAN see "sobering images of human suffering" was removed from The Gathering Place where he was invited to display some of the images. Gayle Sulik, author of Pink Ribbon Blues, explains it far better than I could ever hope to so I hope you will read about this on her blog. I saw Angelo's photos of Jen in NYC back in January. The very same evening, a 39 year old friend was in a nearby hospital. As I was at the exhibit, she took her last breath and died of metastatic breast cancer. Is that sobering enough? I wonder.
No? How about the words from Angelo's website.... does this clarify things?
"Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and at certain points we felt our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we had to live with everyday?"
Below are clips I found from different interviews about Pink Ribbons Inc. Some of these clips may be longer than others but they are ALL worth a listen. Perhaps some of those who were in the "what's the big deal" camp may not yet understand "the big deal." I hope the words of the women and men in the videos will have a better impact than I did.
If one person who didn't realize how the pink ribbon has been a detriment to so many, shifts their attitude ever so slightly, it will have been well worth my time and your support.
Listen with an open mind. Let's change the conversation. It's time. It's past time.... In fact, it's long OVER Time..... When reviews like those are what people are reading, when the true face of how devastating this disease can be is too "painful" to look at, it's imperative for us to raise our voices and expose the ugly truth. We are not wrapped in a neat pink bow.
I expect to leave this blog up through Monday. While I do not normally post on the weekend, I'm posting this now. On Friday night. I will post new content on Tuesday morning. I hope that gives everyone plenty of time to read the links I've provided and listen to each one of the clips embedded. Take your time. Let it ALL sink in. All of these events/episodes/outrages are connected. They belong in one blog entry.
And, please keep two very special women in your thoughts. They are in rather dire situations and I'm a bit distraught for them and for their loved ones.
(Note: If there is a brief period of foreign language, once the interviews begin, they are all in English....please don't click away........ )