Punktober, not Pinktober




This is from a fourteen-year-old!? I actually feel a lot better about the future now. Great article.


Save the boobies, pinktober, and other unintelligent publicity does trivialize and demean the reality of breast cancer for women and excludes male patients. I appreciate you mentioning not-for-profit commercializing the idea of ‘the cure’ to benefit trust fund baby ‘employees’ who get paid well to attend and plan parties and events paid for and enjoyed by by their wealthy peers who get to deduct from their already low taxes as charitable the money spent to enjoy a posh event and be seen in high society.


Thank you. I’ve seen “Save the Boobies” t-shirts (or more commonly “Save The Ta-Tas”, since “booby” could refer to an unintelligent person, or a marine bird of the genus Sula), but I’ve never been able to articulate why they bothered me. The problem with that message should have become clear to me since I’ve started going to the local Gilda’s Club regularly and have had the privilege of meeting several women who have survived breast cancer. Not to mention having two friends with breast cancer.

Maybe it’s because I lost my oldest friend–a woman–to skin cancer that for me the emphasis has always been on the cancer, rather than the specific part of the body affected. This is not to say I think the attention given to breast cancer should be reduced. It’s far too common and far too deadly. I just want to echo Horn’s statement that cancer affects a whole person.


Beautifully heartfelt and elegantly written.


Almost any fathomable activity can be done For The Cure.

Molecular genetics for the cure?


I’ve often been confused by the perception of possible effectiveness of actions taken for particular causes. When someone wears a pink shirt, much less one that makes reference to breasts, I don’t immediately think, “oh, breast cancer is bad - I should donate to the search for the cure.” I think, “oh, it must be a breast cancer awareness thing,” and go about my day. At this level of media and community saturation, who else needs to be made aware of breast cancer and the search for the cure? At this point, it seems like the over-saturation of “the cause” causes people to ignore all of it instead.

The same thing comes up when I see a small crowd of people on a random street corner holding up signs in protest of a war or the affordable care act or something. Do these people think they’re being at all effective? Are President Obama and all of Congress and all their campaign contributers going to drive by those signs and suddenly change their minds on an issue?

It seems like a lot of people want to just feel like they’re doing something, even if it’s ultimately meaningless or even detrimental to the cause they purport to support.


class of ‘92, reppin’.

well done for a freshman. HF still a writing powerhouse, I see.


While I agree whole heartedly about the pointlessness of these actions - wearing a pink shirt hasn’t cured anyone - is it perhaps that these people genuinely want to help, but don’t know how else to?


I think it’s a movement that at one point was needed and now we are all aware that breast cancer exists, the shame is taken out of it, and it’s time to take the focus off awareness and onto research.

My first exposure to the breast cancer campaign was 20 years ago. I was young woman and a male colleague came over and gave me a little pink bow pin. His wife had had breast cancer and he wanted me to have this, to spread the word to all his female coworkers about it. It was at that time not talked about, and his care for me and for his wife made an impression. I still have the pin and think about how sincere he was in wanted me to know about the risks, despite the taboo nature of the topic.

Nowadays you can’t walk through a grocery store without pink crap on every aisle. The taboo is gone. Thank you people who got that changed.

Now we need to punk cancer, right? Not just make people know it exists.


Guys I am European. I was diagnosed on October 13. Do I believe in awareness? Yes but not spawning from a commercial effort. If the ads are sponsored by somebody selling mammograms or chemo, it;s a commercial effort. The save the boobies campaign hasn’t come to my country Cyprus. But is it trivial? Breast conserving operations like I had is a major breakthrough. Next stop: out with useless 3% benefit chemo! I am six years out and call myself Furious curious cancer survivor online!


Wow, I’m very impressed that this was written by a teen. Great job! I have had breast cancer and I too object to the pinkification, PR, and activities that are a lot of noise that makes people feel good, but probably doesn’t do much to help cure/prevent cancer. Instead of Susan G. Komen, I like the Breast Cancer Fund because they are researching the role of chemicals (like BPA, an endocrine disruptor) in cancer. That’s where the solutions lie, in my opinion. Thanks for a great article.


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