There's nothing wrong with pink and fluffy

I frequently read comments on cancer forums which complain that breast cancer charities and lobbying groups have got it wrong by failing to tell the public about the hard realities of breast cancer, and in presenting breast cancer as pink and fluffy. As someone who has spent the last thirty years working in the political and charity arena, I take issue with this viewpoint. The first rule of campaigning is to get people on your side, and you don’t get the general public on your side by scaring the s**t out of them.
I think we would achieve far more if rather than knocking campaigners, we joined forces to help improve their approach, and strengthen the cancer lobby.

I for one are pleased and grateful to all the campaigners you work to raise money for bc. This is the second bout for me,lumpectomy but no further treatment last time. I thought that was me finished with bc after that, but I always wore my badge and bought things that sponsored bc. This time after my mx going through chemo now followed by rads I know it’s more serious but because of the research done through money raised I have an amazing standard of care. When a friend said she is doing the race for life in my name I was moved to tears, and when my 3 and a half year old granddaughter did a 3 mile crocus walk I was so proud.
So all the people that wear pink THANK YOU
Ruth x

I completely agree with Ruth. I am very grateful for the fundraising that has enabled life-saving research, and superb care, and extra support services.
I think what I object to in the ‘pink and fluffy,’ is the blanket application of it. Just because someone is wearing a fluffy badge, does not mean they know me, or my diagnosis, my prognosis, or what I am going through. I am grateful they have paid a pound to charity to wear it, but that is where it ends.
I think when some of us can be a bit less than enthusiastic about ‘pink and fluffy,’ we are not for one moment denigrating the fabulous work that breast cancer charities provide. But you also have to accept that a side-effect can be, that some people, who luckily have no personal experience of BC can perceive it in a less serous light, perhaps than other cancers. When you and your family are going through the day to day horrors of BC, it can feel that it is being made light of.

This is a pretty controversial subject, and i have read numerous articles and papers about it. There are strong feelings on both sides, and arguements based on feminist perspectives of bc and how it is portrayed in society. For me, i can’t abide the pinkification of breast cancer. Whether this is because i still feel close to bc ground zero and as more (hopefully healthy) time passes i may mellow, i don’t know. But there seems to be a difference in the marketing of bc fundraising as opposed to other cancers, and it has been very successful such that there is a massive association between pink and breast cancer.As soon as i was diagnosed, people i hardly knew offered to do pink parties in my honour, As thats the direct link they had been fed by the bc marketing. Its not something i want to be involved with as to me it feels like it hides the real impact of bc on a woman, and it instantly annoys me when there is a giggling pink posse offering to do loads of frivolous stuff when i felt so wretched, and terrified, and ill, and shocked, and unfeminine. However, i appreciate the work other people put in to fundraising in this way, and the success of the fun approach. Do the ends justify the means? Probably. But it doesnt have to involve me, and i chose to raise awareness and funds in other ways.

I have thought about this thread since i first spotted it this morning. I felt nervous about posting my views as threads on controversial subjects ( and some not so controversial threads) can become very nasty very quickly when people have diffetent opinions. I do not want to be involved in any kind of arguement and will stop posting on this thread if it becomes intimidatory. However i wanted to put my views forward hence my considered decision to post. I hope anyone reading who may also have been anxious about posting will feel secure in posting without risking being shot down in flames. Thanks for the thread lemongrove, i will watch it with interest.


Well said Tors - I also feel exactly the same.

I hate the whole pink thing and what about the poor men with breast cancer that can only find a pink fluffy site. I do however love wearing pink.

Tor I to felt ’ should I post on this ', but at the end of the day I love what people do, and feel humble, you want to do something different, and that’s fine to, we all deal with this awful illness , disease, condition ( I never know what to call it) the way we need to, to get us hopefully to the other end. I also hope like you that although we have many different opinions on this we respect one another without getting nasty. On reading other peoples post I have changed my thoughts on certain issues, so please ladies don’t stop posting I love reading all the different thoughts.
Ruth x

this is indeed a controversial point, one of which i have shifted my opinion on since being dx.

early on, prior to actually starting treatment, i read a rant about the fluffiness given to BC by ade edmonson (OH of jennifer saunders). at the time i thought how bitter he sounded, particularly as Ms Saunders was on the road to recovery.

how naive i was! now on my 5th chemo i truly understand the terror and sadness associated with BC. i totally understand his perspective but only do because i have it.

is this right? there is no question that the pink campaign is hugely successful and the money raised is benefiting me, but i wonder why it needs to have the frivoulness associated with it. ‘Male’ cancers, such as prostrate and testicular, dont have ‘blokey, jokey’ tags but it seems that because it’s about breasts it’s ok.

does the pinkness encourage people to say glib things to a BC patient that they wouldn’t to any other cancer sufferer. im thinking things like,“my friend had so much fun with wigs!”

so now i think that yes, keep up the profile but please allow us a bit more humility than a pink boa and cowboy hat, which can only be done if the general public arent treated as idiots that cant cope with the truth, i think we all deserve more credit.

Its a tough dilemma, i am eternally grateful to receive the research dividends of bc pinkification, but that very same fundraising machine made me feel more miserable. If bc fundraising had followed a different path who is to say it wouldn’t have been equally successful? We will never know. I’ve donated to cruk for years since a very good friend of mine died of a cancerous brain tumour. I would never have suggested a pinky fluffy fundraiser for her, and neither did my friends, but as soon as i was dx with my cancer it seemed there was a licence to do schoolgirlish giggly pranks to raise money in my honour and it was assumed that i would be grateful. So it seems that although the pink fluffy theme does get the money in, the collateral damage is that it leaves some of the people suffering the disease to feel even more wretched and other people to jump on thd bandwagon and feel as though they have licence to downgrade and desensitise the realities of my cancer. The question is where the line is, if there is one.

Only my thoughts but I dislike all the fluffy. Surely there are plenty of effective ways of raising funds without resorting to pink, fluffy, ‘fun’ ways? I don’t want the general public to be scared witless but breast cancer is a serious disease. It kills thousands of us every year. I’ve been living with mets for 8 years and have met many stage 4 friends during the years. 4 women who lived locally, all now dead. We had a bigger group, 16 of us in the Cambridge area who used to meet up regularly, there’s now only myself left. An even larger group of us, lots of forum users from 2004, 2005, used to meet up regularly for a couple of days at various hotels, I think 5 of us are still alive.
I’ve seen too many friends in real, awful pain. I’ve been to the funerals of Mums who had very young children.
It’s an all too sad, too serious disease in my opinion to be trivialised by the pink and the fluffy. I like the Macmillan campaigns, well the ones I’ve seen. I would like to think the general public would still be as generous in donating to cancer charities without all the pink boas and frivolity trimmings.

I loathe the pink and fluffiness of it, and make absolutely no apology for that. First and foremost, breast cancer does NOT just affect women, it also affects men, albeit in far lesser numbers. How difficult it must be for men to have to absorb the fact they have ‘breast’ cancer, when all the blurb about it is decorated in pink feathers? Appalling.

Testicular cancer isn’t blue and football decorated, is it? I know Pele has promoted awareness, but that is a different issue - lung cancer isn’t all multi-hued and spangly? So tell me why bc has to be pink and fluffy?

I also feel it utterly diminishes the horror that is bc, to the general public. It turns it into a woman’s ‘thing’ that is really no more worrying or difficult than the menopause, just another ‘woman’s issue’, to be spoken of in the same breath as periods and cystitis. A little tougher to deal with, but you know, lots of women have it and look, they’re all fine now and wearing pink deelyboppers.

Of course fund raising is fabulous, and the more the better, but to insinuate that doing it this way is fine and insulting to those who do fund raise to protest about the fluffication… I’m sorry, you are insulting the intelligence and feelings of those of us who really take the opposing view and wish this disease could be taken more seriously.

In short… breast cancer isn’t pink and fluffy, it’s red, raw, bloody, vomit splattered and flatulent. I know that won’t bring in funds.

Sophie x

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It seems churlish to complain about campaigns that help to raise funds and awareness, but I think some good points have been made about the awareness side of things. I daresay many people who take part know someone or have had BC and know very well that it isn’t cute and fluffy.

But I understand those who feel trivialised by highly publicised ‘fun’ activities. It’s a bit like the way the kind of jokes we sometimes tell each other on this forum aren’t always so funny in the mouth of someone who has been unaffected by cancer and can be horribly insensitive.

So where is the balance for awareness? How do we let people know that BC is a whole range of conditions from a grade 1 stage 1 DCIS which means minimum treatment (or even just observation) to a condition which may be controlled for many years but never really cured and which will mean lengthy, highly unpleasant, even agonising treatment, and which is a death sentence for some?

No one wants to go back to the time when cancer was a dirty word, only to be whispered, and when other people were expected to tiptoe around someone with cancer, pretending it wasn’t there, even lying, certainly never talking about it in the course of conversation. (That’s not so long ago.)

One problem with a relentlessly positive approach and emphasising some of the more easily treatable conditions is that people with a poor prognosis and those who have to have lengthy and painful treatment can begin to feel like failures, to feel guilty that they haven’t managed to provide another ‘success’ story. At least this is a place where we can rage, despair and grieve to people who know what we are talking about. These feelings must be acknowledged as valid.

Another issue is the blame game, which seems to attach to women’s health issues, including BC, far more than to men’s health issues. I think most of us would like advocates–yes, let’s encourage people to lead healthy lives, but let’s also make the point that healthy people get BC too. And don’t forget the guys with BC.

No solutions to offer, I’m afraid.


I think that Asda’s ‘Tickled Pink’ is one of the most offensive slogans ever thought up to front a cancer campaign.I think pink and fluffy equtes bres=ast cancer with little girls and Disney princesses.I too am grateful for all the work done by charities etc but I was not ‘tickled pink’ by my dx nor is it best represented by sequinned ribbons on little knickers.I like the basic pink ribbon which is now universally accepted but I object to the expansion into general ‘pinkness’.


I find ASDA’s Tickled Pink name for their campaign offensive as well. I certainly wasn’t when I found out I had this. What I don’t like either is my breast clinic nurses set up in ASDA every year when it comes round. The name just gives me the creeps.

interesting post.

i don’t feel offended by the pink fluffy stuff in anyway. i just think its a marketing tool, and if it raises awareness and funds im all for it. as i know id have been lost without this site.

i’m a voluntary caseworker for the Royal British legion in my spare time and we fund raise and sometimes its very tuff to get people to part with cash these days. so i don’t mind if pink does it.

i also know that bc is truly awful, but i also accept that people wont know that unless they ever go through it. so the color of fundraising logo to me is irrelevant.

maybe BC has just made me look at things in a different way. .


Hmm, very interesting thread, thanks for starting it, lemongrove.

I think the problem I have with the pink and fluffy stuff, when compared with the British Legion poppy for example, is that it lacks the dignity of the BL poppy. Because of that, BC sufferers become public property and BC itself becomes pink and fluffy, which of course we know it isn’t.

How many of you have had “well, if you’re going to get cancer, breast cancer’s the best one to get”? And where do you think that comes from? I’m convinced the fluffiness has something to do with that belief.

BUT, lemongrove (I think it was you, sorry if someone else) has raised a good point, in that making it less red in tooth and claw has meant that as people are less scared of it, they are more willing to participate in fundraising. Just as meat-eaters really don’t want to see what happens in an abbatoir and want their dinners not recognisable as lumps of formerly living flesh (I include myself in this number), people being exposed to the notion of BC, if not the reality, don’t want to see all the horrors. They would then recoil at the horrors and would be less willing to do something to raise the money that is needed.

I don’t think there’s a straightforward answer to this, as the pink stuff does indeed help to raise the money that is needed.

Im a bit out of sorts just now and certaintly dont feel pink or fluffy this week after my 2nd bout of chemo, but I have read with interest this thread and understand Lemongrove which what she started here and Stay Calm and Carry On certaintly has summed up my feelings on the subject and when I have the energy Im sure I will add more but just wanted to post now to show my support. xxx

CM - dignity. That sums it up beautifully. And I’d maybe add Gravitas to that as well.

I would never bash someone for fund raising, but this really is one that enrages me - grrrr gnash gnash, moral dilemna… fund raising = good, pink fluffiness = trivial perception of bc.

Wiser minds than mine may have to sort this one out.

Oh… and I do fundraise, despite being adamantly against the pink fluffiness, the two don’t negate each other,… and will do so more in future when I have more energy to concentrate on others and not just myself and my immediate family. I just have no intention of wearing pink deelyboppers, a tutu and an inane grin at the same time.

Hi Lemongrove, i agree with you 100%, personaly for me (if its ok for me to give my view) dont and have never had a problem with “Pink”,the colour is not important to me ,or are the ways the campaigns are run, all that
matters to me personaly is that Pink to this day continues to raise vasts amounts of money for this vile desease.

People dont want to see “doom and gloom” campaigns ,they dont raise money,and it just depresses people,including me
to be honest,so the campaigns need to be fun for those who are giving up their time to participate in them. Im very thankfull for all those people who go out of their way to raise vital funds for BC ,whatever way they do it.

Asdas Tickled Pink Campaign was started 15yrs ago in 1996, ive read somewhere that it was named because the first ever BC pin/logo was a “pink feather” Asda has raised over £25 million for breast cancer, with the proceeds being split between Breast Cancer Care & Breast Cancer Campaign , without Asdas Tickled Pink Campagin this forum and website proberly wouldnt exsist,so im personaly very thankfull to asda for all their help ,though i know that only a “small margin” of asdas tickled pink sales go directly towards breast cancer funding.

Pink,like many other BC issues, has always been a controversial topic here on the forums,but i hope like others here that “everyone” will be allowed to voice their views without anyone being unfairly judged for sharing their own particular opinion.

I have always welcomed everyones views, even if i dont always agree with them, a very wise old soul once said “Respect is not agreeing with everyone,Its agreeing that its OK to disagree.”
Maybe thats something we all need to bear in mind sometimes.
Best Wishes to everyone
Linda x

Linda - absolutely, everyone should be free to express their view - wouldn’t it be dull if we all had the same opinion, after all? It is a subject that is deeply emotive, and will understandably trigger sharp reactions - the very title of the thread is bound to do that!!

I have no issue with that at all, debate provokes thought after all - and respect to everyone’s thoughts - whether they’re in the pro pink camp, as yourself and lemongrove are… or radically opposed to it, as I am. We all have our reasons for our own viewpoints - and it is very difficult to argue with a lot of them, no matter how much fund raising is done.

Sophie x