Monday, January 7, 2013

Nekkid Awareness

Today, I have my 8th, or perhaps 9th, PET scan. I no longer remember the number.

I do know that my symptoms have gotten worse: I'm exhausted, in pain, bloated, unable to eat more than a bit without feeling full. My entire right side aches, and I get stabbing pains in the liver area. I suspect that cancer is causing these symptoms and the Halaven isn't working, rather than it being Halaven side effects. I hope I'm wrong, and I will find out Thursday but this, my friends, is the way it goes when you have metastatic breast cancer. You get sick, you get sicker, you die.

Last night, as I glanced at the twitterverse, I saw this photo being passed around among some survivors.  It is every single thing wrong with the Pink movement, all tied up with a not-so-pretty pink ribbon.

Is this supposed to make me feel loved, supported and cherished as a mom, sister, daughter who is dying of breast cancer?

Do you see what it is?  It is a nude woman, one who has clearly had plastic surgery.  The photo is obviously retouched (we all know that middle-aged women don't have 19 inch waists).  Her golden locks shining, her perfectly manicured hands covering her perfect (fake?) breasts, her teeth just a bit too white, holding up a pink bag.  The text and iGoPink branding leads us to believe that portions of the sale of this purse will go to yet another new awareness charity, one that will no doubt (like Komen) make huge profits and end up with their corporate officers riding around in private jets.  But wait!  Ann!  There is the ubiquitous pink ribbon awareness logo in the corner that tells us that it's all good.  Sssshhhhh...there, there now honey, it's all for YOU.

What do you imagine I, a woman dying of breast cancer, am supposed to think when I see that?  

"Buy that bag, please.  Buy that bag and save my life?"

"Wow, she cares.  She really, really cares."

"Awww. How sweet, this lady got nekkid to try and help me live."

"Yay, I had forgotten what it was like to see a whole woman!"

"What is the expression on her face?  Is that lady thinking 'Neener neener, I have my breasts and you don't?'"

What is the brand messaging of this advertising trying to tell us?

The first message that I see is that this sad woman is striving for a perfection that cannot be achieved, clearly not in herself, and certainly not in the bodies of breast cancer patients. So why chose nudity and photoshop for your messaging?

The second is that she is trying to sell purses, and she thinks the best way to do that is to get naked and slap a pink ribbon on it.  Why not exploit the belief that awareness is cure, that pink is good, that the money will go anywhere useful.  Hell, maybe we can use that false information and guilt to add a few hundred bucks to the cost of the bag.  That way, people can justify buying this overpriced, pink product for themselves, and she can have more botox, lip injections and brow lifts.  And, hey, if it provides some masturbatory fantasy to somebody, that's okay too.

Win, win.

In reality, she and the "charity" are using the decay, disease and deaths - the real suffering - of other woman to make herself some more money.  If people weren't ignorant and afraid, they would not buy this pink junk.    Fear, guilt and desire.  You can't go wrong with marketing tools like that.

Slap a pink ribbon on it, and it's all okay, whatever you do.  After all, it's for the Godly Cause of Awareness and as we all know, catching cancer early stops it from spreading (oops, no it doesn't) and if you buy enough crap from enough naked women, you can save the world. 

Awareness:  teaching our 13 year olds that breast cancer can be shopped out of existence.

This is sad and pathetic.  Please don't buy one of these purses, and please, tell your friends not to either.  This pink madness has to stop.

I will update you Thursday or Friday with news of my PET, probably on facebook, so be sure to like my page at


Please don't forget to vote for me in Healthline's Best Blog contest.  You can vote every day!  I am grateful to everybody who has taken the time from their busy days to help me in this contest.  Your support means the world to me.  If I win, I promise not to donate a dime to any awareness campaign!


  1. I just LOVE that you pointed out the Gretchen (from Real Housewifes of Orange County) is middle-aged, and botoxed and air-brushed.

    What an incredibly tasteless pix.

    I think you are wonderful, Ann

  2. Sue, I had no idea who this woman was. I've never seen the Housewives shows, odd, given my penchant for bad TV and freak shows. I figured she was the woman selling the bag through the process of elimination - too old to be a model, too tasteless to be a real bag manufacturer. I don't think you are going to see Marc Jacobs having advertising like this.

  3. This is another example of "save the ta-tas" - in other words, save the objects of sexual attraction.

    How about saving the woman??

  4. Of all the bad TV and (not) reality shows I could watch when I was home, going though bc treatment, the Housewives of the OC was my Achilles...I was a glutton for punishment, I guess. It was something I loved to hate to watch, these caricatures of human beings. So ridiculous and from another planet. So removed from the realities of bc.

  5. Hate this picture.Even before I knew of the realities of what you ladies go through, it just never sat right...Society has lost the plot. So sorry you're having such terrible discomfort:-(

  6. Hi: Found your blog tonight. Just surfing. I left blog and could not get it off of my mind. Have tried to write you but had trouble. If you have another message from me, I am sorry. Just info for you to ponder. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Doc thought it was stage 4. It wasn't. Thing is between ultrasound and biopsy, some places on breast disappeared. I found from friend who had terminal cancer to try cottage cheese with refrigerated flax seed oil. He went from terminal to back at work using this supposedly. I tried it and have taken it since my diagnosis. I had to have surgery...two places stage 1 and 2. Google cancer, flax seed oil and cottage cheese all together for info. Write to me if you wish. Just felt like sharing this with you. I use 1/4 cup cottage cheese and about 2 tablespoons flax seed oil mixed together well every day, topped with dash of tumeric. I am cancer free. My nurses take this too! Best of wishes, Susan

  7. Ugh, I rarely comment on blogs, but I had to on this one. That ad makes me want to vomit. Not only is that bag hideous, tacky and loud, it is PINK. Who carries that shit? It's fugly and doesn't help solve the breast cancer crisis at all. What are marketing reps thinking? Oh yeah, $$$.

  8. Hey Ann, Was thnking of you today and thought I would check your blog to see how you were doing. I totally agree with you on this pink ribbon, pink this and that, what little money actually goes to awareness or cures, most stays with admin people, etc. I truly feel there is a cure for cancer but we will never see it because there is too much money in it for docs, medicine, etc. they don't want to give that up. Off that soap box, hope the scan comes back good, and hopefully they can find something that can help you feel more comfortable and can eat to keep your strength. Love you sweetie. Angel Sue

  9. It stinks that you're experiencing so much discomfort. Hoping that the news isn't bad - if you could give us an update on this site, much appreciated (I'm not on Facebook). Love and best wishes, Anne

  10. I'm sorry you're feeling worse and I hope, hope, HOPE, it's side effects causing the issues. Strange to HOPE for SIDE EFFECTS, isn't it?!

  11. Sorry to hear you aren't feeling so well these days, Ann... hope they are able to give you some encouraging news soon. With regard to the bombshell above, I totally get and agree with what you're saying. I live across the street from a grocery store, and after my mastectomy, would gaze longingly out the window at the women with two breasts who were hopping from their cars, chatting in the parking lot, pushing their carriages in cute tank tops... I was envious of them. And they were just going about their lives.

    This ad campaign, IMHO, is thoughtless with regard to the feelings of those who actually have breast cancer, and does nothing but sell designer merchandise to people who want to promote "awareness". Yeah, I'm "aware", thanks, every morning when I get out of bed and see the ribs, the port and the scars.

    Thanks again Ann for speaking so eloquently on this subject.

  12. The pink thing's hellish. So is the news that you're feeling bad. Just keep going, darlin girl, one foot in front of the other.

    Thinking, wishing and praying for you all the way across the pond.


  13. Hi Ann,

    Ummm yeah.... that ad is disGUSTING. Someone tweeted it yesterday and I could NOT believe it. This sort of really awful stuff is usually reserved for October extravaganzas.

    Thinking about you with the PET scan... hoping for a simple fix (not minimizing... just hoping).... You know what I mean...

    I see your blog is at the top of the list. Now, let's keep it there. I've not been too active in the twitterverse because I'm distracted with this other stuff but I'm trying to remember each day.


    Here for you, my friend....

  14. Totally agree re the ad and pink ribbon campaign/marketing in general. I have always hated going to stores and seeing all the pink merchandise and I hope with some of the recent backlash and criticism it will abate.

    I looked up Halvan -cripes that's one potent drug that could totally account for much of what your feeling although the pain in your side is worrisome. I remain hopeful for you and that your PET results are favorable. Take care.

  15. Hi Ann, That ad is so bad. Thanks for tackling this "inappropriateness" yet again. I'm taking part in a radio discussion tomorrow on this very topic, sexism and breast cancer awareness. Sadly, sometimes it seems we are going backward. I do hope you get decent news regarding your scan. No matter what, I'm out here, as are many others who care about you. My best.

  16. I just want you to know I am praying for your news to be not terrible news. Your blog has helped me in so many ways to be able to walk thru my husband and I's best friend of thirty years terminal illness. By reading your blog, I knew how to help, what to do, and how to react. We lost Steven on Dec 10th, and I thank you for teaching me how to help my friends. I read your blog daily, vote for you every day, and pray for your comfort thru this all. Lisa P

  17. List, my deepest sympathies on your loss. I know there are no words that make it better or easier. Just know I'm thinking of you and your family. Thank you for being so kind, especially during such a hard time in your life.

  18. I went on her blog and wrote to her what an insult her ad was to women who have gone through breast cancer. I also sent a tweet on an article against her ad. I will tweet your blog to her too. The sad thing is she probably thinks any publicity is good publicity. I told her to look at "the Scar Project" and that she should redo the campaign if she really cares about breast cancer.
    Meanwhile I hope you get good news about your scan. The waiting is so hard. Drives me crazy. XoXoXo - Susan

    1. What a great response! I hope she listens to you. Thanks for taking action!

  19. The Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders wore pink bustiers and bounced around in them during a game. Later, two of them shaved their heads (on LIVE TV) on the sideline. Whaaaaat??? Thanks so much for re-creating the traumatizing moment when my hair was shaved off and for bouncing around in bustiers and reminding me of what I lost. I guess more women like us need to contact those silly organizations and inform them of their stupidity.

  20. Agree 100% with your post. It reminds me of Barbara Ehrenreich's article about 'breast cancer culture' Welcome to Cancerland (2001) - she is as scathing as you are.
    If that woman actually had only one breast it might be OK, but even then probably not.
    There are also t-shirts - Save the Ta Tas, Save the Boobies. I know we are meant to be all cheerful and strong through this, but ffs!
    We just do not have this kind of stuff in the UK - at least I have certainly not come across it.
    Caroline in London


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