Lemongrove, I agree that it's all a bit more complex than just the pink thing. Broadening things out a little, I also feel uncomfortable with the cosmetics industry, which in my opinion contributes greatly to the "image is everything" kind of culture that seems to be so prevalent around women nowadays. Or is that just me? I really don't like that my young teenage daughters feel it absolutely essential (not just nice) to wear a full coat of slap in order to go to school! They both have beautiful skin as you'd imagine on a 12- and 14-yr-old, but still they both insist on foundation and powder, and I hate it! If I just forbid them from wearing it, I know they just go straight into the loo at school and put it on anyhow, and use other people's make-up if I don't let them have their own. Even at the LGFB session, which I freely admit was good fun, I did feel as if I was being expected to slot neatly into the mould of the full-make-up-and-nail-varnish brigade, which just isn't me (though I do occasionally use a little bit of eye make-up and perhaps a bit of lipstick).
I respect your view, but don't agree that the pink stereotype is harmful, and perpetuates inequality. I think we all conform to various stereotypes, be they cultural, class, gender or race related, but I very much doubt that inequality arises from these stereotype. I think the reasons for inequality are far more complex than that.
I do find the caricatured version of femininity that you refer to, quite disappointing, because I feel so many women these days simply copy the Jordan/celebrity/footballers wife trend - which just seems so shallow and mindless. But in some ways it has a kind of up yours quality to it, in that it say's, we can dress/behave this way because we regard ourselves as liberated, and can wear whatever we like.
Just an additional thought that struck me after re-reading JaneRA's article and the comments about Jordan:
I'm wondering about our cultural hyper-sexualisation of women's breasts. Does the pink fluffy thing attempt to defuse the meaning of breasts as signs of sexual availability (or 'hotness')? Is it an attempt to reconcile the fault lines between our contemporary view of breasts and the horrible notion that they can kill you? I need to think about this one...
By the way, a recommended book is 'A History of the Breast' by Marilyn Yalom - a fascinating read which includes chapters on 'The Political Breast' 'The Commercialised Breast' 'The Medical Breast' and 'The Sacred Breast'...x
Hello everyone, fascinating debate which I'm going to rudely butt in on and say what I think - feel free to disagree! I can see both sides of this argument, but I'm afraid I disagree that our contemporary fluffy pink glittery female stereotype is harmless and representative of some kind of liberated femininity.
My problem is that while I believe that feminism shouldn't be a political monolith and that we're all individuals with different views, I find this cartoon porn style of womanhood shocking and derogatory to all women. Where has it come from? Breast implants, pole dancing at clubs and as exercise, clothes that you used to find in a blue movie but not on the street, dress it up in pastel pink glitter and it becomes cute and fluffy and child like. What does this say about women? The fact that educated women participate in this ubiquitous cultural trend makes it all the more frightening. I used to work for a kids charity and watched 8 year old girls lined up dancing to 'Sex on the Beach' like mini lap-dancers, wearing revealing clothes that I wouldn't dream of wearing. Sexed-up children with no idea of the meaning of the body language they are using other than it gives them some kind of dubious 'power'. Their parents were probably demonstrating against paedophiles at the same time.
Our capitalist system means that every little trend is appropriated, marketed and reproduced on a grand scale - just buy it, buy the lifestyle, wear that cute little playboy bunny, get your little girl a t-shirt with it on!
The pink campaign is a part of this whole. It does a lot of good, there's no argument about that. I personally dislike the big business era of charity fund-raising - many fund-raisers are on astronomical salaries paid for by donations. The effectiveness of fund-raising doesn't justify the means in an uncomplicated way.
It seems to me that the pink campaign does reflect and help to perpetrate a marketing-led enforced stereotype of femininity which implicitly justifies the 'pink tart' culture. I don't mean my criticisms to be personal to any women, it's so consuming that girls are moulded from birth to conform to it, and are trained to see their value in terms of how they look and how 'hot' they are. How does this make women who've had breast surgery feel (or indeed any women who find it difficult to conform)? What about older women? (The cosmetic surgery trend is also a part of this).
I should also mention those men who have bc, my great uncle died from it. I agree that the pink campaign also excludes them by aligning bc unequivocally with 'girls' and 'femininity'.
I'd like to see the campaign being more representative of a range of types of femininity, and include men.
Best wishes, Lynne
India, don't think you're a cynical misery guts at all.
I have to say though, that I don't agree that the pink campaign presents a fetishised view of women, I just don't think that dressing up in silly pink costumes has that type of connotation anymore. An example of this is when my 27 year old daughter and her chums go out on a Saturday night. To my old fashioned eye, they look like a caricature of femininity, with sparkly false eyelashes, nails, mini-skirts and high heels, but in actual fact, they are all liberated university educated young women with successful careers - just out to have fun. Neither do I think that the girly stuff, portrays women with BC as hapless victims, in fact it portrays women in a ' sister's are doing it for themselves' kind of way.
What I do think though, is that if charities tried to raise funds by presenting "the real issues", that would definitely portray women with BC as objects of pity , and victims of fate.
The other point is that corporate sponsorship is essential, even if businesses are getting a hefty rake-off. I mean Asda have donated £25 million to cancer charities since 1996 (including BCC). That sort of money is hard to come by, and while the ends don't always justify the means, there has to be realism.
Peeps may object to the pink campaign, but they have yet to say what the alternative would be. What I'm pretty sure of, is that telling it like it is, and rejecting corporate sponsorship would get us nowhere.
This thread has led me to think 'does the end justify the means'?, so lemongrove, yes, thought provoking. Have I changed my mind? NO. But I may be more tolerant of some campaigning.. though not, I'm afraid, token campaigns such as Asdas.
One thing that has interested me is how quickly some members have posted 'not to be intolerant and to listen to each other', when actually, those posting on this thread have done exactly that! You cannot have healthy debate without disagreement, surely there is no need to tell everyone to mind their manners, when everyone was, in any case?!!! I know other debates have got heated, but to be honest, I agree with the previous poster who pointed out that disagreeing with a viewpoint is a completely different thing to a personal attack!! We are all grown ups, surely? Enjoy the debate! Wake up the cobwebs!!!
I'm loving it.
On a final reply, lemongrove, about women no longer having to wear dungarees and dms, yes, I agree in principle. However, there is something extraordinarily brainless about the pink fluffiness, that is not endearing in any era. Except perhaps the 50's. Where's the retrospective now?
Have enjoyed this thread, and haven't changed my mind about the pink stuff. I suppose it's down to whether you think the end always justifies the means, and I don't think I can ever feel comfortable with the portrayal of BC as a fluffy disease when it daily takes the lives of women and men. I also don't think that thinking about its portrayal in terms of objectifying women is old- fashioned or muddled at all. Of course women can wear what the hell they want including 6 inch stilletoes, but I think the current marketing of BC which almost fetishises girliness portrays a view of women with BC as helpless victims rather than individuals. In the pink world of BC marketing it also helps if you can call yourself a survivor.
I also don't have a problem with big business selling products -of course we need their money, but I do have a problem when a very small percentage of their profits goes to the relevant charity. Another point to ponder is does buying a BC product simply reduce us to consumers rather than engage us in the real issues?
I hope my thoughts don't make me sound like an old cynical miseryguts, -going to go back to real life now!
Everyone is entitled to express their view, and as far as I'm aware, they do. I can't say I have noticed anyone trying to suppress the views of others on this forum.
I posted this thread, because I had noticed some derogatory comments about the pink campaign, and thought by posting my own view, it would provide an opportunity for others to do likewise. Of course it would be nice to think the debate had caused some people to rethink, but it's no big deal if they don't.
I agree Linda.
If you post an opinion on a public forum then you must accept that other people are perfectly entitled to disagree with you.
The notion that disagreement over anything pertaining to this disease is "unsupportive" is unfathomable to me and really rather offensive. This forum was so valuable to me in the early days that I make a point of visiting it a few times a month and answering questions from the newly diagnosed so we can keep the ball rolling.
I was supported and I shall support others - in my opinion part of that support is to not stand idly by when quackery is being presented as fact.
I have long grumbled about the need for stricter moderation on some of the more fantastical "alternative health" posts. BCC is a fabulous education resource that should not be undermined by this guff.
There is a "culture" around this disease which I have never really liked and now detest since I have become a BC patient.
If people have no problem with the pink thing then great for them - it seems that they are in the majority. Personally I find 90% of it crass and repellent and in no way representative of me as a woman.
I wonder how many of the people behind the Tickled Pink nonsense have actually watched someone die of this disease.
Hi Lemongrov, i agree with you on the "Pink" issue and as i said earlier in the thread i have no probelems with Pink at all, its very well reconised for breast cancer and "Pink" makes more money than any other cancer cause in fundraising, theres certainly nothing wrong with being girly either,im girly ,i love girly things,i feel equal to any man or woman and im not afraid to stand up and be counted, i dont feel that Pink is trivialising the issue, i dont think any other colour would have made people feel any different, to keep the "public" interested fundraising has to be fun for them to take part,i dont think for one minute that that distracts the seriousness of breast cancer,most people who fundraise have or know someone who has been affected by BC and will know only too well the full bloody horrors of this vile desease.So i have no problem with it, infact PinK is my favorite colour!
I think it is sad that the forums have become "intolerant" of free debate, and that "many people cannot tell the difference between criticism of an argument/opinion and criticism of an individual" like you, thats my feeling entirely. I feel fortunate (if that is the right word)that i joined the forums at a time when people wasnt afraid to stand up and express themselves ,and that all these breast cancer issues was talked about in a "Hard Talk" and non judgemental way,
Like most ladies on here ive read stuff over the yrs that have made my blood boil , and ive also locked horns with a few people too ,but i would NEVER want to silence others right to express their opinions for fear of them possibly ruffleing my feathers, Who are we to surppress other peoples views?? Who are we to tarish other people with posts of "being unfriendly" "unsupportive" "nasty" ect?, Why?just because we dont agree and wont respect the right of others to disagree?
I wouldnt want to live in a world where "everyone" agrees and thank god this country fought for the right of freedom of speech, i may not want to hear everything i hear in life but i WILL respect peoples right to say it.
The horrors of Breast Cancer has no place for "repression" or "political correctness" we are all adults and if we cant express our true feelings and thoughts now & especialy on here on the forums where can we??
If others here disagree with me "thats OK" i can assure you i wont take it personaly , Respect is about allowing people the right to have a say , its not about biteing your lip , keeping quiet and turning a blind eye just to be accepted and liked.
I wecome ALL opinions and respect everyones right to express them , long may they continue, that to me was what made the "forums" the great place it once was.
It's interesting that so many of you are wondering what Jane would have said. I think Jane and I would have locked horns on this issue - because:
(1) There is nothing wrong with commercial involvement in fundraising. The wealthiest charity in the UK is the Wellcome Trust, and that gets practically all it's funds from investment in stocks and shares, and government funding. Business involvement also brings marketing expertise, and that generates funds and raises public awareness.
(2) There is nothing wrong with the feminization of the BC campaign. The days of women having to don dungarees, and Doc Martins, to prove equality are fortunately in the past. Women can now wear high heels and make-up and still be equal. Obviously, men also get BC, but would anyone in this day and age say men can't wear pink?
(3) There is nothing wrong with campaigning in a fun way. Just because people have a party to raise funds, doesn't mean they are trivialising the issue, or don't understand the reality of BC. Comic Relief raise a huge amount of money by making fund raising a fun event, does anyone seriously believe they would raise the same amount if they donned sack cloth and ashes ?. There is not a single charity that really tell it like it is. If a charity like the NSPCC really went into detail, people would be so horrified they would simply switch off.
My feeling is that campaigners could give a little more of the reality, but the pink campaign is too valuable to drop.
Yes they are all greatly missed. It seems at times that there is almost a concerted effort to stifle debate and discussion on the forum these days.
It is a pity that so many people cannot tell the difference between criticism of an argument/opinion and criticism of an individual.
I locked horns with Jane on many occasions and thought that amongst her many pearls of wisdom was a fair dollop of twaddle but I had nothing but deep respect for her fearlessness and erudition. It really was terrific fun - couldn't wait to flip on the PC and see what the latest comments were. Ah well ...
I admired JaneRA greatly, and i realy miss her presence on the forums,i admired her because she was never afraid to "stand up" express her views and say it as she saw it, i didnt always agree with Jane on everything, but when jane debated all the different BC issues ,my god everyone would sit up and read her thoughts, she didnt take no nonsence and i liked her for that ,a very sadly missed member on here.
I often wonder also how Jane would have responded to some of the current posts and debates on here.
Great debate,thanks Lemongrove for starting it.
Well expressed, Juliet, and staycalm ..! Debs comes to my mind too. I so miss her, and JaneRA.
I find the bc fund and awareness raising such a sad contrast with that for HIV. You don't see red feather dusters etc for that, but they still manage to raise awareness and money plus have enjoyable events. They have managed to be successful without resorting to unfortunate tactics.
Hello CzechMate, thanks for the link. You have put me in rather a difficult position, because the person who wrote the article has passed away, and this makes it rather difficult to comment; since she has no right of reply. However, I think Jane and i would have enjoyed debating with each other, so I will just have to say what I believe (I'm sure her chums will step forward to offer another perspective).
I guess from the way Jane wrote, that she was an academic ( I say this because I recognise the style). I don't think there is anything wrong with being an academic, because an academic background can facilitate a more analytical approach, and reveal connections that would otherwise be missed. However, it can equally create fuzzy unrealistic thinking that is old fashioned, and confused.
Jane clearly objected to the pink fluffy campaign because of what she saw as the commercialisation and feminization of breast cancer. These are fine sentiments in an academic world, but in the third sector, corporate involvement is absolutely essential (since this provides vital funds, and raises public awareness). Yes of course businesses are making a packet from the sales of pink merchandise, but they are also donating vital funds, and reminding the public that Breast cancer is an issue. Similarly, I don't see anything wrong in presenting BC in a girly way. Of course it's silly to dress up in pink, and wear a bra over a sweater, and no, you probably wouldn't get a man to wear a pair of underpants on his head to publicise testicular cancer - but who cares as long as it raises funds and raises awareness of the disease ? The idea that if we do anything girly, is somehow anti-feminist is just old fashioned, and harps back to a time when it was considered non-pc to wear high heels, or give little girls a doll. In this day and age we recognise that we can be equal, and celebrate out femininity at the same time. While the breast cancer campaign rightly addresses issues of class and gender, one should not confuse the objective. The objective is to tackle breast cancer - not class and gender issues.
I too am finding this thread interesting and it's reassuring that it's not me being bitter and twisted about the pink thing but actually a justified feeling.
I agree that the money coming in is desperately needed but object to Breast Cancer being hijacked by others to promote their own image, such as Katie Price who has already been mentioned. I hold this view about all charity benefactors who trumpet their good work for all to see, regardless of the cause they represent.
Charity is now a business in itself and so needs to promote itself as a business, hence the pink stuff. But the thing that really irks me is the whole girliness of it all. Women's Lib was in the 70s yet I can't even have breast cancer without having to conform to the 'Girl' thing.
I am 'girlie-girl' if you like (heels, make-up, hair usually)but i don't see why breast cancer needs to be dressed up in a boa and cowboy hat. is it your friendly-neighbourhood cancer that wafts around you smelling of Dior whilst it nibbles delicately at your insides or is it the same nasty, insiduous, all-encompassing, vile killer as say lung cancer?
i'm repeating myself now but i think the public are continually belittled and treated as fools, as if they are children who can't cope with the truth. Think about it, "Oh dear, BC isn't fluffy at all! It actually kills people! Well they can forget getting any money from me if that's the case!"
Well said juliet-I totally agree with you.
'Tickled Pink' is an offensive and totally inappropriate slogan to front a bc fundraising campaign.Some publicity person probably thought,'Hmmm 'pink' now what goes with pink.....errrr...pink elephants?noooooo....pink gin....'in the pink'oh no that means healthy...cant have that.What about....'tickled pink'..yes that'll do.'
Juliet i think your last post was great. Your concrete examples really reflected and explained my gut feelings on this and, even though the content was so sad, i still sort of "enjoyed" reading it.
I have been interested in reading all the posts in fact and am pleased we havent torn each other to pieces yet!
I can just about tolerate the pink and fluffy even though it actually abhors me. Only because of the funding and publicity.It is a means to an end.
One of the worst moments I have ever had was being set up on by a load of pink revellers in 'bunny ears', short pink skirts etc. Ok so they were only trying to fundraise. I just happened to have no change. I do give regularly and my husband has done fundraising, I just had no change!!
I had recently been given secondary diagnosis and was coming to terms with how to tell my family.I was made to feel as if i lacked empathy, as I would not join in with the fluffiness.
As they shouted, "C'mon ...it's for a good cause...one day it may happen to you or a family member".
What they wanted was for me to laugh, probably wear bunny ears ..
Yes I watched my mum go blind and lose her life from bc age 30, I was 12. What I saw was not pink or fluffy, it was devastating and cruel. It ripped a family apart.
It still happened to me. I do not know how long I have left.
I tolerate the pink for my daughter. It is more socially acceptable to talk about bc now and I am glad about that.
What always springs to mind is my loathing of 'tickled pink' and the way it was expressed by lovely debsincornwall talking on the bbc.
She said only months before she died..."I am not tickled pink to be telling my friends and family that I am dying".
...and you know what, neither am I and I never will be. Ok so we can talk about it now but in some ways only as it is trivialised as the 'trendy' cancer or the 'one to get'.
Ok so different treatments maybe appearing thick and fast but it is far from pink and pleasant. Children are still left motherless. People still are dying horrendously, ripping their families apart long before their time.
Maybe when a cure is found people will be tickled pink. Until then many will be like me...gritting their teeth but contributing and being thankful for any funding to research and treat this black, insidious and life taking disease.
I would hope that everyone who has had the support of this site would respect that we all have views and it's likely that these views would differ but we are all tolerant of each others views and that we 'listen' to what others say - we can all agree to disagree in a supportive way.
My view is that it doesn't matter what 'colour' is associated with the promotion and awareness... what matters is that it is marketed and if the marketing people feel pink and fluffy works then so be it.
I detest the pink and fluffy thing. Why, because the cancer is in my breast and not my rectum or pancreas, must I been infantalised with idiotic pink teddies?
The end does not always justify the means when it comes to fundraising.
Mel - I wonder too.
Hi I don't have a problem with the pink & fluffy when its for charity work when the whole amount raised is given to the charity.I'm not so keen on the merchandise though when a shop gives a small amount to charity for every item sold,I know some will say that the small amount soon mounts up for the charity but the shops are making a lot of money out of it .I was in a garden centre last year and they were selling little pink bird feeders for £7.99 and £1.00 of that was going to cancer charity,then on the next shelf they had the same little bird feeder but in green for £5.99 which they must of been making a profit on so why couldn't they sell the pink one for £5.99 and still give £1.00?
I remember that post from JaneRA.
I often wonder what her thoughts would be towards some of the recent post on the forum X
I have one of the pink ribbon lapel pins, which I bought not so much for the small contribution that went with it, but as a kind of announcement and reminder. In fact most of the people I know probably recognise pink ribbon-breast cancer, but there is a vague hope that someone might ask.
Of course the best way to support research for any or all cancer is with a standing order, not forgetting to Gift Aid it.
I have found this a fascinating thread and like others given thought to it all day. As I stated I find the whole private company profits/pink and fluffy thing a bit of a turn off, but then I started to think that what should count is what is effective. On the morning I sat waiting in the clinic for my wire to be inserted prior to surgery, I saw a notice stating that in the last year 4000 women had failed to attend routine screening appointments. And this is despite the enormous coverage given to breast cancer. I live in a city, and that is a lot of women. And whilst not wishing to harp on about Comic Relief, I think there is a strong analogy. For one night a year people press their red button and feel good about giving a fiver, but they don't actually change their lives and do anything - like lobby the government to give aid. Maybe it is the same with the pink and fluffy thing, now and again, people feel good coz they give a fiver (and don't get me wrong I know many of these people do so as they have lost someone) but does it change their lives.
If those 4000 women went for screening, rather than wore a feather, ould it make a difference? I don't know, but it was not the pink and fluffy campaign that sent me an appointment for a routine scan.
I agree it's very difficult to get it right in order to engage with the public. I did some voluntary work with a local charity dealing with homelessness and housing issues. When we had the severe snow prior to the end of 2009, we put out an appeal in the local press for donations of coats and other warm clothing. The stuff we received like woolly jumpers was quite frankly disgusting. People thought they were doing us a favour by donating stuff that was full of holes and dirty. After all, we were only dealing with homeless people, many of whom were substance and alcohol abusers - at least that was the impression the donations gave. Our storeroom actually stank of stale old clothes and we had to get rid of them. We also used to ask local supermarket branches if they would donate canned/ambient goods because some of the B and Bs and hostels we got people into only had access to a kettle or if lucky a microwave. If an emergency food parcel had to be put together it had to be things like tinned or instant soup and pot noodles. We always got letters of refusal back, yet think of the profits supermarket chains make. Much of the donated food we received came from church harvest festivals and kind members of the public.
Wandy, I have to agree with you from past personal experience. I've been a Trustee of charities involved with two "difficult to engage with" causes (autism, domestic violence). The domestic violence charity's most regular donation from the public was soap. No, really, soap. The public saw it as a 'dirty' subject and assumed that these must be women straight off the streets whose greatest need in the refuge was scented soap. Not really.
With autism, a very large US charity tried portraying it as a disaster of epic proportions, something that inevitably destroyed families and devastated lives ...and the political backlash against them from families who love their children very much (and from adults on the autism spectrum) was such that it almost sunk the charity's reputation without trace.
The public are a strange thing to deal with. They like pink, and fluffy, and animals, and smiley children. If it's not one of those things, they won't give a bean. (Generalising).
This cancer thing ain't fun, but personally I'm happy with them using whatever works to get max money in. We need every quid we can get.
I nearly overlooked this thread because of the title. Nothing wrong with the subject title Lemmongrove so please do not be offended. It is just that Pink and Fluffy doesnt sit well with me either. I do appreciate all the fund raising done but I go away into my hole when the pink fluffy campaign starts. I particularly hated it when Jordan was "helping" Asda do her promotion. Her with the enormous false boobs. Just did not make any sense with me.
Another thinf that grates ( nothing to do with pink and fluffy] is when people to fantastic things to raise money. I would be much more inclined to hand over more money if they were doing something for the community that perhaps wasnt so much "fun" and got their hands dirty, like cleaning up the beaches of rubbish or hedgerows of litter. Raising money when you are only doing something you have always wanted to do seems like cheating to me. Anyone agree?
So let the pink and fluffy continue if that is what people want to do....but it does upset me...especially the bras worn over the T-shirts..just seems insensitive...More needs to be aired about the awfulness of BC and especiaaly Secondaries and what it is like to live with that. It doesnt go away....we are living with it every day. I nearly didnt post this but wanted to give my point of view too. I do not wish to offend anyone. Thanks Lemongrove for an interesting read. Val
Yes, Lemongrove, I do agree with that - and I suppose my heart really is in the education and awareness - and that, in my view, is shockingly overlooked. Something I'd felt before my own diagnosis, in all honesty.
'If' the pink, fluffiness of it didn't make so many women desperately upset and angry, 'if' it didn't skew the perceptions of many of those around us as to the harsh realities, 'if' it didn't put bc on the same 'irritation' level of cystitis.. then I'd have no issues. I know I sound terribly pedantic and weighty.. but I do actually love having a giggle and a laugh, and if you can fund raise at the same time, all the better. I suppose, being mired within the swamp of bc, I just have a very different viewpoint on it.
I think I'd say: there's nothing wrong with fun fund-raising, but there's something wrong with the perception of bc as pink and fluffy. And the distinction between the fund raising, and the disease itself, is increasingly blurred in the public's view - though whether that is the fault of the fund raising, or the media.. is a different matter.
Triphazard, yes I do concede the point that there is not enough of the serious stuff interspersed between the fun stuff - and actually as someone with stage 4, I think we need to take care that the awareness day, in focusing on living with advanced cancer, fails to recognise the realities of living with cancer (the day's of depression, fear and dread). But that is just a case of adjusting the balance - not rejecting the whole concept.
This is a fascinating thread and I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about the different views put forward and like you Trip had it rumbling around in my head all night. Wasn't sure if I wanted to get engaged and post but decided to put my two 'penneth' in this morning!
I have mixed views about the whole 'pink and fluffy' thing. I accept the points about the media trying to make it 'benign' and soft and girly and giggly which if you are going through it and suffering is a distressing image for the disease.
HOWEVER, HOWEVER....It has raised enormous awareness and therefore attracted the millions for funding the research which we and others to come, will benefit from. Prostate cancer,testicular cancer, lung cancer etc etc, do not get this sort of money.
It is a fact that the public, who of course one doesn't want to patronise respond to the increased awareness that the 'pink' campaigns raise, the media coverage, the celebrity endorsement. Sadly (or not?..)it is part of our society to be fascinated by this approach. And guess what??! It works.
How many of us if not touched by a particular illness be it cancer or heart or stroke or anything else, pay attention to the tin rattlers or donate if not touched by the disease either through friends or family. As someone else pointed out the charities are fighting for an ever harder £pound to capture and have to become ever more sophisticated in their marketing and media savvy to get that.
I have run my own charitable fundraising consultancy for projects involving amongst others, terminally ill adolescents. They are not tiny, media appealing kiddies, but awkward difficult teenagers. VERY difficult to make a case for funds with so much else competing...
I am personally grateful for any friends and family who are doing 5k runs or pink parties to raise a few more pounds. Would I want to do that myself?, No. But I appreciate the love and thoughts that make them want to do it. Would they have done it at all if not for the high profile of the 'pink' campaign? I would not be so sure...
Do I wish we could highlight the horror of this disease but still get all the funding that we do? I don't think thats possible.
Sorry for the ramble, but I guess after all my midnight musings I think that despite the possible 'wrong' impression the 'pink' campaign might give to the disease, the benefits outweigh the negatives.....In my view!
Before this thread, I hadn't thought about how far we've come in overcoming the fear of talking to/touching people with cancer.. and it no longer being such a taboo subject - and yes, the pinkness may well have made it easier for other people to acknowledge. The 'victim' idea too, is very valid. Perhaps, though, we have just swung too far in the other direction? I know I am far from alone in feeling that breast cancer is somehow seen by jo public as a completely different sort of cancer to any other, in that it's almost viewed as a cosmetic issue. And this, unfortunately, seems to be the view of some senior hospital managers who are trying to claim that recon after bc is purely cosmetic so not necessary to fund... it's a dangerous slope, when you look at it this way.
Sadly, tho, I don't think you are particularly misjudging the british public - as I said, something drastic needs to be done to shake up our society, as we get worse and worse.
The interspersing fundraising with serious info is extremely valid.. and this would make the entire pink/fluffy thing easier to stomach - IF it actually happened. Comic Relief, yes, but people do not associate Comic Relief with bc, do they? It's starving children in Africa.. because that's where the celebs go. Race for Life...to prevent this... Tickled Pink... so no other woman has to be... there are ways of keeping the fundraising lighthearted but adding in the serious reasons why - and this is where it fails at present.
This is such a good thread.
Just to say I'm eternally grateful to all the support from this site and also the tremendous fund-raising that goes on. No matter what the colour if people are trying to raise money to save our lives it seems a bit churlish to complain. I'm sure it's all done out of the goodness of their hearts.
India, and everybody, I do honestly understand and respect the view of those who feel the pink thing trivialises, and feminises a serious issue, and I also recognise that pink products have become big business, but I think the pluses outweigh the minuses.
While Comic Relief are not specifically a BC Charity, they are to my mind superb at engaging and motivating the general public, while raising awareness at the same time - and they do that by interspersing serious information with fun. I doubt many would stay watching an entire evenings broadcasting if it only consisted of horror stories. I may be misjudging the British public, but in my experience they like information in bite sized chunks, and tend to lose their appetite altogether if fed too much.
The other plus, is that it portrays people with BC, as ordinary folk, doing something to improve their lives, rather than victims of a horrendous disease. In my view, the victim thing is one of the main reasons we have got such a raw deal in this Country, in terms of access to new medicines/treatments. I truly believe that policy makers have just seen us as sad helpless victims.
I had this whole issue rumbling through my head last night when I went to bed.. and I still have no conclusions, other than to be sure that I do loathe it, sorry, Lemongrove... I'm still unconvinced.
Of course you can't argue with fundraising results.. but how much of the actual pink and fluffy bc fundraising goes to bc, and how much benefits Asda/Avon/Tesco...etc etc? I do agree also that Macmillan has always managed to portray cancer with dignity, but also humour - and without diminishing the severity of the disease.
What finally stuck in my head was this.. can you imagine a campaign 'let's all wear fairy wings for Japan'. Yes, because that would treat the situation with just the respect it deserves, but hey ho, we'd all be having a lovely time.
Perhaps the fundamental issue is not between fundraising do's and don'ts.. but in education and media portrayal. The cynic in me feels that a male dominated media loves that bc can be pink and fluffy because once more it puts the little women back where they can be patted on the bum and praised for being pretty and witty, whilst they rake in the bucks. The cynic in me feels that if Asda really gave two stuffs about bc, they would be educating their staff and customers, rather than fleecing them. The cynic in me feels that there is something desperately wrong with the morality of this country, that demands to be amused before it can care.. and that re-education and introduction of moral values needs to begin now.. before you cannot distinguish the clowns from the fairies on the high street.
This is very interesting.
Out of the finite amount that the public will ultimately reach into their pockets for, charities have to make sure that their profile is high enough, so that they can compete. The comparison with Comic Relief is interesting because I think they were probably one of the first fund-raising projects to use an alternative approach. Charities have to employ increasingly sophisticated marketing campaigns to get their slice of the cake. And as someone mentioned, other causes (like prostate cancer), would love to have the high- profile success of BC campaigning/fundraising.
But the problem is, we don't have the associations with the causes supported by Comic Relief, and laughter. BC is now synonymous with 'pink and fluffy.'
On a slightly different point, I'm not sure that I agree with a lot of other charities strategies either, whether it is phoning me at home, sending my unsolicited mail, or bombarding me with TV and other media images of desperately ill children, starvation and suffering.
Agree with Nicky's comments. The public are being patronised when it's thought the only way to get them to part with their cash is the pink route. Surely large charities can come up with effective campaigns that are more thoughtful?
I find this a really tricky issue as without the money raised the research would not have been done and along with many others I'm benefitting from that research, although I have to say I'd like to see a higher percentage being spent on finding causes and prevention and how ever much I hate it, it has been a commercial success in raising money.
Anyway back to pink - I've never been into pink, not my colour so I find the whole commerialisation of women and pink really annoying and making the assumption that if something is pink I'll want to buy it (pink laptops, cars, etc aimed at women). It's also unclear in shops such as Asda etc what percentage of the cost of an item goes to bc - how many people will make the choice to buy something because of the bc link which in fact increases the profit margin for the supermarket far more than the benefit for cancer charities? One thing I think the fluffy pink link has been beneficial for, is how many young women and men associate pink with bc and for raising awareness this has to be a good thing. I do a lot of running and it's only at the big events that I've seen people in pink tutus, feather and asociated fluffy gear. My OH and I recently did a bcc 5 mile challenge and I was not looking forward to wearing a pink hat and knew it would be a waste of money as neither my oh or myself would wear it ever again but in fact we were given a nice purple hat each which we have both worn since which advertises bcc so again increases awareness. However, I don't want to be patronised or the whole of this business trivialised and I do find the phase tickled pink offensive. Maybe the media push that links bc with the fluffy campaign equally needs to push the realities of bc and get these annoying phases such as "cured, battling bc" etc taken out of the media use.
I have posted my views on the pinkification of BC before, and whilst I am eternally grateful for fundraising, hate the trivialisation implied by the whole pink thing. I think we patronise the general public if we believe the only way of engaging them is to encourage them to dress up in tutus- thinking about comic relief, what struck me this year were the short films about where the money goes rather than the not very funny sketches, and lots of cancer charities run very successful campaigns whilst portraying the realities of living with cancer, such as Macmillan. What I find interesting in the whole adoption of the pink and fluffy approach is the way it almost unconsciously imposes expectations on women with BC,- to be cheerful, brave, non threatening and feminine. The marketing of pink products is also huge business- read Pink Ribbons Inc for an interesting analysis.
Thanks lemongrove for starting this read. It's really good to read everyone's views.
I agree that it's sad that someone has to be entertained before they give to charity, but doesn't that say more about society today. Bob Champion was on the news last week promoting prostrate cancer, and he pointed out how little money goes into research compared to bc, I don't remember the extact figures but it was a lot.
As to men having it, I am not the only one in my family, my mum in laws partner has it and he has never been anti pink and fluffy cos he knows it will help us both.
I think you make some really interesting points Lemongrove. On the Comic Relief thing, I have always found it a bit sad that people need to be entertained before they want to help others. This affirms the point made elsewhere that people do not want to hear doom and gloom before they donate, and of course we are all grateful for the research funds. As a political person I would prefer that the government, rather than Asda, or Tesco, gave me the means to survival but there you go, that is an idealogical matter. More relevant perhaps is your last point. Service user representation is important, and how we are represented should be down to us, not PR people. If Asda, or anyone else, consulted widely with groups like this, maybe that is fair enough. If they didn,t maybe they should be asked to. I am not against the campaigning. As someone says, without the funds there might not be forums like this, and this has been invaluable to me. But "pink and fluffY" does not really suit how I feel about this. And I have yet to see the irony in the term "fun run"
It's interesting to read others views, and I understand/respect how people object to what they see as the trivialisation of a horrible disease (and yes at times the BC lobby can look like party time with Barbie). But for me, there are basically two reasons that the positives of pink outweigh the negatives.
I think the pink thing draws people. I know Comic Relief are not a BC charity, but look at how successful they have become by jollying along the British public (and they raise funds for some fairly desperate situations).
The other thing is, that if we try and raise awareness by exposing the raw truth of how awful BC is for many of us (and as someone with stage 4, I know it's horrible), I think we are in danger of portraying ourselves as victims / people to be pitied - and that is the last thing we want. In order to influence policy makers we have to be seen as a powerful, strong, organised group.
The campaign doesn’t bother me and I am very glad that it works. The amount of money it raises greatly benefits those who suffer from breast cancer.
The pink thing was on the go long before I was diagnosed and I never at any time felt that it was a fluffy disease that would be a dawdle to deal with if you got it. Indeed the amount of concern and sympathy I got from my relatives and friends indicated to me that they did not think it was a trivial matter either.
If the campaign works, and it does, then they can all be as pink and fluffy as they like as far as I’m concerned.
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.
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
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.
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