Nov 19

Pink apocalypse (Apinkalypse) part 957

Shoptivism. That’s when people who have a little too much breast cancer awareness buy crap with pink ribbons all over it. Thanks to the awareness-behemoth Komen Foundation, there isn’t a soul anywhere in the known universe who isn’t aware as all get-out.

Well, let me clarify. Hardly anybody is aware that Komen, in all its years of relentless pink cure-a-thons and survivorship terrorism, hasn’t reduced by a single iota the number of breast cancer deaths. However, everybody is aware that if they buy cheap crap from China with pink ribbons all over it, they can feel sanctimonious about shopping. Corporations all want in on this awesome scheme because nominally supporting “breast cancer foundations and charities” makes them look virtuous even as they bank the proceeds. At the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month corporate execs, wiping tears of happiness from their glowing red eyes, throw yacht parties to celebrate their ginormous pink haul.

With the result that you can’t swing a dead feral cat without hitting some fugly-ass pink ribbon product manufactured specifically to exploit the Komen-generated breast cancer sentimentality that seemingly afflicts the entire populace. If it can be mass-produced, it’s had a flippin pink ribbon on it. Even stuff that actually causes cancer — femininity-compliance products like cosmetics and household cleaners, to name but two — gets pinked.

And now, of course, the Breyer horse. You remember Breyer, the company that produces petroleum-based model horses as fetish objects for little girls. Well, the Breyer company, it turns out, has “always believed in the restorative benefits of horse-related activities” (activities such as shelling out 50 bucks for a plastic cancer horse, presumably), as well as in the “inherently special bond between women and horses.” That bond is nearly as inherent as the breast cancer gene! Plastic horses, apparently, can “heal the human spirit,” so the “fight” against breast cancer is “a race we can win together.” Again, by shelling out 50 bucks for a model cancer horse.

Pink consumers need to pull themselves together and get a grip. Buying pink junk doesn’t do jack shit for women. Cancer prevention on the other hand, rather than the profit-driven, misogynist, ineffectual “Search for the Cure,” is something a girl can really use. Screw Komen and support Breast Cancer Action.

And seriously, why would anybody even want that creepy pink cancer horse? And why does it have one Big Lick foot? Who is the intended recipient of this extravagantly insulting and tacky object? I hope not your friend with breast cancer, because you can take it from a crone who has been chewed up and spit out by the breast cancer industrial complex, the last thing you want to do when you look at a horse is think about your hideous disfiguring potentially fatal disease as a cheap pink source of revenue for some corporation.

More of my cheery views on cancer and Komen, and a few impertinent pictures of my surgically-mutilated body are available here.

Photo swiped from Breyer website.


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  1. buttercup

    Pink Ribbons Inc was a helluva movie.

  2. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    Wait, it’s a movie now? Starring Ashton Kutcher, I presume?

  3. Hattie

    What are those things on that horse? Sores? How revolting.

  4. buttercup

    Nah, starring Barbara Ehrenreich and a lot of other awesome women. It’s a documentary from the national film board of canada.

  5. magriff

    You just can’t quit blamin’!

  6. quixote

    Shoptivism. I needed that word. Like “omnishambles.” The pinkalypse is both.

    Has anybody ever actually met an actual cancer patient who is heartened by that stuff? Or is totally and purely to make the uninvolved feel gooey?

  7. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    You just can’t quit blamin’!

    It’s old material, but I’m trying to sucker in some of the conservative girls from this one horsey forum I haunt. You know. If even one of them drinks the Kool-Aid, it will have all been worthwhile, etc.

  8. minervaK

    Better idea: take a person with breast cancer out to lunch, or clean her house, or buy her a bag of groceries, or drive her to chemo. Personally, any item that claims to donate a percentage of its proceeds to any charity moves it immediately to the bottom of my shopping list. If they’ve got money to give, fucking GIVE IT, don’t use it to try and bribe me to buy more of your shit.

  9. j

    What are those things on that horse? Sores? How revolting.

    If the CCC hadn’t told me they were cancer ribbons, my first thought would have been vulvas.

  10. j

    Sorry, that strange horse distracted me from what I was going to say, which was I Agree With This Post. I have a relative who has had breast cancer and is still dealing with the fallout, including persistent major quality-of-life issues. Unless Komen can take that pink crap and turn it into actual treatments, actual support for cancer patients and actual solutions for survivors’ health issues, it’s just wasted money and plastic.

  11. janna

    The last thing any of these pink-pushing corporations want to do is cure breast cancer. Not while they’re making so much bank off the suffering of others, anyway.

  12. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    A dear friend of mine (an inflammatory breast cancer survivor) is deeply into all things pink and breast cancer-related. Pens, handbags, stuffed animals, sneakers, greeting cards, lanyards. Seriously, she would buy a pile of pink dog poo if it had that ridiculous ribbon pinned on. And sparkled. So I stuff a sock in it around her.

  13. Mary

    Tired of seeing pink ribbons on

  14. Mary

    PS I still have my Breyer horses. #sentamentalystillhorsecrazy

  15. Judi

    A related item: a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (article free on their website) found that, as a result of screening mammograms over the past 30 years, 1.3 American women were unnecessarily treated for breast cancers which would not have progressed to clinical disease at all if left untreated. Wowee. That’s a lot of women who have had their identities redefined from “healthy person conscientiously complying with screening guidelines” to “cancer victim.” That’s a lot of superfluous pain and harm, a lot of lives turned inside out. That’s a lot of profit. All pink.

  16. Jezebella

    Antoinette, I too have a friend who is a survivor and all into the pink ribbon uplifty empowery shoptivism. I, too, stick a sock in it when she posts yet another pink ribbon product or graphic on Facebook. So, yeah, they are out there.

  17. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    See, this is what pisses me off the most about the pink ribbon stuff. Women who have so far managed not to die are turned into a brand: Breast Cancer Survivors. Survivorness is a whole lifestyle identity thing. It stands in as a sort of surrogate for the amputated femininity glands. The plucky survivor in a pink baseball cap is practically a corporate logo. Women who die are an affront to the religion (not plucky enough). I’m not bashing individual women who have been swept up by the hype, though. Cancer blows, so whatever gets you through the night and whatnot, but I just wish there were an alternative that wasn’t so misogynistical.

  18. M.K. Hajdin

    Finally I have something to be thankful for: more patriarchy blaming.

  19. M.K. Hajdin

    Speaking of feral cats. how’s Smudge?

  20. Judi

    oops — my comment above should of course say “1.3 MILLION” American women.

  21. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    OT: May I point your attention to the wonderful essays of SE Smith. One in particular is tangentially topical in that it deals with mistreatment of working horses

  22. tinfoil hattie

    Just finished listening to a piece by Tig Notaro, a stand-up comedian who was scheduled to do a gig in LA shortly after being diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. Many of you may know of the piece already, but I only caught wind of it in the last couple of months. Google her, if you’re interested. I am no good at posting links, and I also hesitate to do so in the comment section here.

    It’s some brilliant, and even blame-y, work.

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