Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pink Fatigue

by Gendanken

Pink is the color of breast cancer awareness. It’s also the color of rash, that pigment of excess from grating a nerve too long. This year’s rub is the pustular “Pink Snuggie” that’s promised to donate $50,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I’m being asked to believe that the creeps who will sell you a robe you wear backwards at 4 times the price, the same rogues behind “HeadOn” and the ComfortWipe (an overpriced stick used to distance the hand from the atrocious act of wiping one’s bunghole), can simultaneously wish  to help a demographic they’d squeeze dry for a profit. This October, I’m being asked to be the idiot that would actually buy their blankies in honor of Breast-Cancer-Awareness.

Marie Claire has an article this month by a certain Lea Goldman, who asked a charity executive how much money his organization actually donates and what does he mean by saying he donates “company capacity” if not actual “money?” What he actually means is “manpower,” which amounts to handing out flyers, not money. That’s a long string of male pronouns, don’t you think, for a cause so inherently female? That’s because the majority of breast cancer “non-profit” founders not only make 6-figure salaries, but they’re also quite male: the founder of Coalition Against Breast Cancer, sued last June by the NY Attorney General? Andrew James.  His “treasurer?” A  housepainter with a criminal record, and the owner of their telemarketing firm, Garret Morgan. The Arizona-based Breast Cancer Society is the nonpareil of James T. Reynolds II, with the title of “II” dangling on the end of his name like a booger in salute to his father, who owned Cancer Fund of America before being pummeled by the BBB for donating less than a penny for every dollar raised. Remember that—less than a penny; that’s not even currency.

Sometimes founders are actually women who’ve survived The-Cancer-That-Maims, but when they are, like Janelle Hail who founded the National Breast Cancer Foundation, they quickly roost and create a network of rank despotism to churn out huge salaries for sons and husbands as well. All enjoy annual raises and personal loans, nary one of them making under $150,000 yearly. Turns out anyone can file a tax-exempt 501(c) and many, who are well-meaning survivors not educated enough to thrust their good will beyond breast intentions, eventually get swallowed by people like Reynolds who feed on pink glut.

What’s astonishing is discovering what they mean by “research-and-education,” deducted as an expense on their financial reports, required to be made public. Suppose they hire telemarketers charging 50 cents for every dollar they make from donations. If the charity writes something like “Don’t forget to douche!” at the bottom of the bill they send you, why, that’s considered education! No lumpy silicone to grope and no booklets with scary words like “ductal carcinoma” and “health care;” the invoice they send is your path to vaginal enlightenment thanks to the fine print and the narcissistic warmth of knowing you gave to a Good Cause.  Telemarketers being incredibly expensive, with the added costs of pink, pointless, cheap garbage, we can safely imagine how much money actually goes to people with cancer.

More women are affected by breast cancer awareness than any other disease and why? Because of a lesson girls learn every time mothers crowd conversational space to proudly talk about pregnancies in glorious detail: like Gloria Steinem and Madonna, women are obsessed with their ‘parts’ and whatever comes leaking out of their girly poots. Surf the web—feminist literature is beset with cant on Reproductive Rights and Abortion unlike the earlier suffragist who actually cared about traits above the poot: intelligence, character development, money, and voting. That was boring, so they made the movement sexy, catering to that stubborn need to talk about clots and children. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, but breast cancer is voluptuous whereas a brown ribbon for colon cancer is not.

In India, the Pink Chaddis Campaign (“chaddis” means “underwear”) recently had women throwing their panties at the ‘patriarchy’ in response to right-wing conservatism. Sound familiar? Like their sisters, they too think throwing their delicate “parts” at a problem will solve it.

1 comment:

  1. So true, unfortunately. Well meaning or not, I am so sick of being asked to throw money at health conditions such as breast cancer awareness. No disrepect to the "cause" itself, but I think we're all aware now. Do something besides "advertising" if you want to help...