Why October Annoys Me

Hey you!

Yeah, you!

Are you a lady person? Yes?

Are aware of the fact that you have breasts?

Oh, you are. Well, good.

Are you also aware that those breasts can get cancer?

For real. And, just to make sure you know, a whole bunch of companies are going to sell pink stuff this month to increase your awareness (and they’ll make a whole bunch of money off it and most will donate a teeny tiny bit to breast cancer research). Also the NFL will look like it was purchased by Hello Kitty as all the players will wear pink gloves or shoes or do rags so that you won’t forget about the danger potentially lurking in your boobs, not even while you watch football.

And, while we are in a frenzy of awareness this month, sipping from our pink water bottles while eating chocolate with a pink ribbon on it and lounging in our pink terry cloth robes, a whole bunch more women  (like 7 times as many) will die from stuff other than breast cancer (like heart disease and lung cancer and COPD), stuff that doesn’t get nearly the funding that breast cancer research does.


I’m cranky about this subject but I should clarify that yes, of course, I realize that breast cancer is a terrible thing and that many people lose loves ones to it. Women, including myself, should do all the can to try to prevent it (check your boobies regularly and all that). Research is important, especially reasearch aimed at helping cure women of color. Donating to causes you believe in is important too. I’m not pro-breast cancer (uh, duh)

I just find myself troubled by breast cancer awareness month. There are many, many scholarly articles (like here and here ) that show that women already dramatically overestimate their risk for breast cancer  and I can’t help but think the breast cancer awareness campaigns add to this problem and distracts from other, real dangers.

You know what women dramatically underestimate their risk of? The diseases like heart disease that actually kill them. But heart disease isn’t as sexy as breasts are and companies don’t make tons of profits off heart disease related items.

I also think any person thoughtful about women’s issue could have a field day with the whole PINK! YAY! thing. It seems sort of fetishistic to me. Pink=women. Women=boobies. Boobs=most important body part so beware of breast cancer.

So, no, Yoplait I will not spend .44 on a stamp to send you a lid so you can donate .10 cents to breast cancer awareness. And, no, Terrell Owens, seeing you in pink shoes is not going to make me feel myself up.

What I will do is keep trying to lose weight, eating healthy and getting exercise. All things that will help me and my health more than any pinkwashed product ever will.


5 thoughts on “Why October Annoys Me

  1. Kacey says:

    Amen, sister. I go out of my way at this time of year to not buy anything pink (not that I buy yoplait anyway: hello, HFCS). Sure it’s a problem, but as you said there are other diseases that take more lives. I also dislike the whole “awareness month” culture we’ve created. Like February is the only month we should celebrate African Americans? Apparently October is also Domestic Violence month. So let’s combine problems that are (mostly) faced by women into one month so the other 11 can focus on men? WTF?

  2. James says:

    Go preach it sister! I’m tired of yellow, pink, purple, red, rainbow and any other color representing the disease of the month. Just saw a billboard last night that made me gag a little. The sign said “Schedule your screening party today” and it was a picture of a group of 60 year old ladies hugging each other and laughing. Company was a medical imaging company that will rent out a portable x-ray machine of some sort for breast cancer screening parties. There is a big professional rodeo up here and they make the poor guys wear pink for a night for breast cancer. The pink needs to have some boundary of good taste.

    Us guys have nothing for prostate cancer awareness, no special color, no wristbands, no special month, no marches, runs, parties or anything else.

    • Gretchen says:

      Sometimes, with all the crappy weather we have, people have asked me “why does anybody live in Iowa?” I tell them, “wait ’til October!”

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