Contrarian Coverage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I'm not a fan of disease awareness weeks, days or months. Having been inundated with some particularly lame breast cancer awareness messages during October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now seems like a good time to highlight some contrarian coverage amid all the pink ribbons and sometimes questionable product placement.
Here are three stories worth your time, and you should also check out Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview post on pinkwashing.
1. "Thinking Pink Hasn't Helped Find Causes of Breast Cancer" Deborah Hotz' article for U.S. News and World Report examines how, despite the billions of dollars poured into breast cancer research, answers about prevention, causes or a cure remain elusive.
2. "Alcohol companies' pink campaigns anger breast cancer survivors" Liz Szabo of USA Today highlights some truly embarrassing marketing campaigns by alcohol purveyors, including Chambord. Breast cancer survivors point out that even moderate drinking can raise your breast cancer risk.
3. "The smug morality of breast cancer month" Slate's Mary Elizabeth Williams pays tribute to the important strides that activists have made in drawing attention to a once unmentionable disease that has killed millions of women. But, she wonders:
As breast cancer awareness becomes an increasingly pervasive branding opportunity, perhaps it's time to consider what the glut of pink says about our attitudes about the meritocracy of disease, and the ways in which we dispense compassion.
Other reporting resources:
1. Breast Cancer Action's "Think Before You Pink"" guide offers tough questions consumers should ask before buying a breast cancer awareness-related item. Journalists should be asking them, too.
2. Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy, a book by Samantha King, traces how breast cancer became such a powerful philanthropic cause célèbre compared to other diseases.