“Cut out the middle man” for breast cancer research

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. When I think of the importance of breast cancer awareness, many ideas come to mind: promoting practices for early detection, relaying statistics about breast cancer and donating to research.

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But it is easy to go into sensory overload this month with the massive amounts of pink everywhere. Every item that can be somewhat related to breast cancer is shaded pink. When purchasing those items, part of the proceeds go to breast cancer research.

Contributing to breast cancer research is an amazing and thoughtful act, but I have my issues with the way the media twists the opportunity. Why purchase the latest shade of popping pink lipstick from a company that donates part of the proceeds to research, when a full donation can be made straight to the source?

I say, cut out the middle man. The thoughtful intentions are already there, so go all the way with them. Various charities, including Susan G. Komen for the Cure, accept donations. Instead of donating the fifty cents from that lipstick, donate $5 to a foundation.

My hang up

Facebook is used to promote plenty of things. Recently, many women have been donating their statuses to breast cancer awareness, but it isn’t what it seems. Many statuses tell where the woman likes to hang her purse. That is it. No mention of breast cancer, just a flirtatious innuendo about a purse.

I can confidently say I never associate breast cancer with where I hang my purse. There are plenty of other ways to promote breast cancer awareness.

I understand the idea behind the cryptic status. A large number of women have a similar, mysterious status, which causes others to ask about it. The Facebook message sent out to many women explains that everyone must talk about Breast Cancer Awareness month when asked about their status.

In 2009, there was a similar trend to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month. Women posted the color of their bra to draw attention to cause. But instead of posting a mysterious and flirtatious status, there are many other ways to promote an important cause.

An outspoken promotion

Instead of attempting to attract attention with a status, why not make the message obvious? Post a link to the National Breast Cancer Awareness website. This method tells the Facebook universe directly about breast cancer awareness.

Some of the most important messages of the cause can’t be alluded to in a cryptic Facebook status. Early detection practices are an important message promoted by many breast cancer organizations. Sharing a link that goes directly to an informed organization shares those practices with everyone.

Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness month is important, and talking openly about breast cancer awareness is more effective than posting a flirtatious status.

Gina Dolski can be reached at grdolski@stthomas.edu.

3 Replies to ““Cut out the middle man” for breast cancer research”

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I appreciate your critical analysis of all things pink in October. In addition to donating directly to research organizations, advocates for awareness can also check out Breast Cancer Action at the link above. It describes “pinkwashing” – the practice of companies that donate to breast cancer research while also producing chemicals linked to breast cancer. Please also consider that most cancer research is directed towards a profitable cure, rather than discovering the causes of cancer in order to prevent the disease. Researching causes and prevention may be the most effective and educational donation you can make.

  2. Thank you for calling out “pink washing”. Companies that produce cosmetics that contain known carcinogenic chemicals and endocrine disruptors should be ashamed to claim they support the cause when they could actually remove sources of chemical exposure by making their products adhering to the tenants of Green Chemistry. Check out the Story of Cosmetics: http://storyofstuff.org/cosmetics/ It is solution oriented.

  3. I may be a little late on this one, but I would also like to thank you for your article.  I found the status innuendos just trivialized the real challenges that our society is facing.  Not only this but 1) it fails to honor those who have passed away as a result of breast cancer and 2) my grandfather, as a breast cancer survivor, does not have a purse.  
    Again, thanks.

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