Thursday, October 24, 2013

2013's Most Disgusting Pink Fundraiser



The worst part about October is that I am always having to defend myself.  "No really," I insist. "I do have a sense of humor."  Or, "No, I'm not a radical feminist; I'm not a feminist at all."  Worse, "Yes, of course I want a cure for cancer."

It seems when you disagree with the concept of the pink ribbon being used to sell product under the guise of supporting breast cancer patients, you are labeled as one who doesn't support "the cause."   But when the items in question are pink vibrators or breast-focused pornography and you object, than not only are you pro-breast cancer, but you are also an old-fashioned, unfunny prude who is pro-breast cancer.    You are a veritable Jane Hathaway of a human being, humorless, sexless, and clueless.

The fact that you, indeed, have cancer yourself, even that you are going to die from it, doesn't seem to change opinions.

They get it, and you don't.

For those of you who land on this page by some search term I can only imagine, all the defense I'm going to give myself  is to remind you that reading more than one page of this blog will tell you whether I have a sense of humor or not.  It's pretty simple to do, and I bet you don't have to read too much to figure that out.  But if you don't want to take the time, just trust me:  I'm hi-fricking-larious.

Just not usually in October.

Every year, I highlight one group or person for worst Pinktober fundraiser of the year.   2013 was the tightest race ever, with the Ironman guy and his breast size-related donation levels;  the sale of the Pink Vibrators for Komen; the "set the TaTa's free" day (encouraging women to go braless for the cure - on Metastatic Cancer Awareness Day no less), and the video in which women walked around laying their breasts on counters while clueless people stared in wonder, to raise "awareness".  (One would presume that's all they meant to raise.)

But the winner became very clear as soon as I saw this and I don't believe I need to wait until the end of the month to make my announcement.   Motorboating for Breast Cancer


If you can't see the video above, try this link.

Last year, my choice was PornHub's Donation to Komen.  That was bad, but they are pornographers and how much can we expect?  Sure, they wanted in on the action, who doesn't?   They are not in the business of caring, and while I do believe pornography exploits women and harms relationships, the women involved in making it have had time to consider what they are doing.  Those who create it - we always knew they were trying to sell product and point attention to certain videos and weren't really about helping cancer, right?   The most disgusting part was that Komen took the money, and while they did eventually change their minds - it was eventually, weeks,  and took many, many emails from outraged supporters. They didn't have the moral compass to do it on their own, and they still don't.

This year, the motorboating "campaign" not only supposes to help cancer patients, but also exploits healthy young women.  The above "men" (and no, I cannot say that word without quotation marks as there is not a chance on earth real men would do this) are putting these young women in a no-win situation.  Do they help the cause of breast cancer by allowing themselves to be sexually used, or do they say no and risk the possibility of looking foolish?

"Miss Hathaway, these women were adults and knew what they were doing."

Ask yourself this: do you think any of those women would have said yes to being motorboated without the lure of a charity donation?  Did they have time to do any research or find out what was really going on?  A group of men walked up to them on the beach or in front of a club, a camera was pointed in their direction,  and the question was asked.  Did they know how it would be used or how they would appear?  How much time were they given, what kind of pressure was there, what would happen if they said no?

"Do you want to save women with cancer? All you have to do is let me motorboat you for a couple seconds. and we'll give $20.00 for cancer research," the boys ask, seemingly to only beautiful girls, a camera pointing straight at them,   "Well....sure" these women say, because you know, who doesn't want to help cancer and how does somebody say no and risk looking insensitive with a camera focused on her?     I'm sure some of our more confident sisters did turn them down,  despite the knowledge that they were being filmed and their refusal could also be used online to make them look like, erm, well, Jane Hathaway.   But truthfully, most of us aren't that confident early on in our lives, we tend to be trusting, and I can imagine being young, confused, and having said yes to this request myself, because I would want to help cancer.  Mostly, I might have said yes because it was easier than what I imagined the consequences of saying no would be in today's video age.

As these boys put their hands on the sides of these women's breasts and push their faces in to their cleavage and make "raspberry" noises, as children are wont to do, you can see the conflict on the faces of the women.  Their body language also tells a story.  They almost universally back up.  Many scrunch their faces in disgust or they look at the camera as if hoping for approval. A few frown.  Many giggle at the tickling but their hands tell a different story - they reach up to push the boys off as they step back, or they keep their hands up, fists closed, protectively holding their shirts as if they could close them.  Many turn away and one even takes a pull on a flask. Only one or two seem to really not mind, throwing their head backs in abandon - a stark contrast to the majority who seem universally uncomfortable.

The difference in  motivation is highlighted when the boys make jokes about the size of the women's breasts. "That wasn't a motorboat, it was a yacht!" said to raucous laughter, while a women sighs in resignation,  "Well, that was my good deed for the day."

"Oh but Miss Hathaway, they raised $7,000 for charity!  And, the charity refused the money.  It's women like you who is going to cause cancer to continue."

I must congratulate the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for refusing the money, and they did it before there was any major outcry, or certainly, before I'd heard of it - but really, their refusal is no surprise.  Like these women, they were put in a no-win spot.  Take money that trivializes disease and makes it about boobs, or refuse research funding.  Really, there was no choice.  They simply stated that the way this money was collected was not in line with their ideals, which by the way, it is not.  There is no chance that they ever would have accepted money gained in this manner, and anybody who has paid even the slightest amount of attention to breast cancer charities and how they operate would know that.

Of course, these online marketeers/motorboaters (they had a promo company help them with the video, by the way) had no clue about this, did they?  They feign surprised that their money would be refused, yet it's almost like they KNEW the money would be refused, and that publicity would surround them based on that.

Why, how DARE a breast cancer charity not take money from people who demean and sexualize women or which trivialize the disease.  Why not take their money from guys who collected it by sticking their faces in women's cleavage.  Hey, lament the guys, we were just trying to help.   The boy's statement about the refusal was both whining and designed to turn up the heat.
"It's obvious that they had to do this because they were getting pressured by a small minority of haters who thought that this video was 'offensive.    So congratulations, haters. Breast cancer research literally just lost $7,000 because of your personal problems with this video." 

So it is we "haters" who are causing breast cancer deaths to continue in spite of the heroic efforts of these boys.  Never mind that the "haters" are pretty much all breast cancer patients themselves, ones who are sick of watching our fatal disease be turned into a sexualized, trivialized, pink boob-fest every October.  Never mind that I, a hater, am dying of this disease and wants a cure more than they can imagine.  Never mind that $7,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the multi-millions collected in October.  We haters, we Miss Hathaways, we pulled those white horses right out from under those boys' butts and single-handedly set breast cancer research back decades.

How dare we.

It's possible, of course, these boys got exactly what they wanted.  They did a video that went viral, they got to sexually harass women in the process,  but because it's for "cancer,"  anybody who objects gets to be called a prude, making themselves in the right.  They picked a charity that couldn't take the money in good conscience in order to create a fake controversy, which of course, causes the video to continue to be played. Now they are making all sorts of money on this and other videos on their channel with no obligation to give any of it away since the cancer charity they picked - suspecting it would refuse - refused.  They are the underdogs, the helpful heroes, now insulted, refused, rejected.

Dude.  Score.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Males finding young, hot girls and "motorboating" them, or guys jerking off to boob porn, women laying their boobs on tables, shirts that say, "Save Second Base" all purportedly For The Cause - it all minimizes and trivializes a disease that we, your sisters, moms, wives and hey sometimes your brothers, suffer from tremendously.  And die from.    

Why are other cancers not trivialized this way?  You don't see Get Some Pussy for Cervical Cancer Research, or Rim Shots for Colon Cancer or  Make-out for Myeloma,  Teabagging for Testicles.   Why not?  Is that beyond the bounds of good taste, but this is not?  Could it be that people understand that folks actually suffer and die from those cancers?  And too much awareness has left breast cancer not about death and disease - but {giggle} boobs?

You know the most common thing people say to me?  "At least you have the kind of cancer people don't die from anymore."  That's what all these pink jokes do, these facebook games, and slogans like "save the tatas."  People have forgotten there is a real disease behind the pretty ribbon, one that doesn't only take breasts, which is mostly only important to the boys in that video.  What is really important is that it takes lives.  It could kill your wife, your mother, your little sister - it will kill me.  Breast Cancer has become a joke, a way for somebody to get themselves noticed in October, to sell their product or get their video to go viral - to get their piece of the pink pie.  Just slap a  pink ribbon on it, promise a little to charity and hey, you can get rich. And, if it hurts the feelings of a dying Jane Hathaway, well, who cares?  She clearly doesn't get it.  How can she?  She spends too much time in the hospital to know what's going on in the real world.

We see through you, you immature boys.  You use the pain and suffering of women, real women, like me, to get your heads where you wanted them and your pockets filled, and when we object, you call us names, because you are the heroes, not us.    I hope you enjoy whatever fame you have received and whatever momentary excitement you got from making this video.  I know you are not worried about the tens of thousands of cancer victims whose pain and suffering you have trivialized, I know you don't even understand that.  I hope sincerely that it never becomes real to you - that it is not someday your wife, or your mom, or your sister who is eventually in my place, planning her funeral, hoping against hope to live to see her child go to college, living with the knowledge that the end is near.   I hope you don't have to watch somebody you love die a slow and painful death, while everybody in society around you uses the symbols of their suffering and disease as a way to make a buck.

I hope that you never have to become men.


Peace,

Miss Hathaway.




38 comments:

  1. Coherent, logical, fact-based, and with humor; I'd say Miss Hathaway is holding her own.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wait a second, they didn't KEEP the money, did they? It would have been nice if they had turned it over to the American Cancer Society with an apology, if nothing else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far, they have kept the money, saying they are looking for a charity that wants it. Ha. Hopefully, no breast cancer charity will take it and they use the money to help individuals.

      Delete
  3. Ann,
    Wow! What a kickass attitude about the hypocrisy and exploitation that happens during Pinktober. Thank you for speaking out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm sorry if people are seeing problems here, I'm trying to fix the video, plus I had the names of the charities confused so I fixed that.

    Please let me know if you can't see the video. I have made it - I hope - so they don't get paid for views. They can sue me if they want, that would really help them, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Makes me so sad to read this, but thank you for putting it out there. Very well said!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Remember ... this was NOT a fundraiser! This was a money "qualifier." The women didn't pay a thing ... the boys promised to donate money (that they already had) if the women let them "cop a feel." You knocked it out of the park, Ann!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right They clearly had money anyway,that twenty bucks was not coming from their pockets. (I can't imagine women paying to allow it). So who bankrolled them, and could they not find a better way to donate money? Couldn't they have done a tearjerker video that made people think they cared? (But then they wouldn't have gotten to feel those breasts)

      Would it be taken seriously if I made a video sticking my nose is people's rectums for colon cancer? No, it would be considered undignified and gross and rightfully flamed. Do things like that all day,every day for months and years, and you have an entire country who has forgotten this isn't a real disease that takes lives.

      Delete
    2. The young women were shamed into submitting to the obscene "motorboating" because everyone, everywhere, is made to feel guilty if they don't support "breast cancer awareness" by doing whatever is suggested (one brand of yogurt over another, a cashier asking aloud if the customer wants to donate $ to a particular cause--with NO info about how much actually goes to the cause, whatever it is), etc. And with a camera filming them, how could they say No? I seriously doubt I would have said No if I had been a 20-something on the beach and approached in this way? I wouldn't want to be the one "bitch" on the nightly news who said No to supporting breast cancer awareness. Americans are being brainwashed into thinking it is our moral obligation to go along with whatever is being done in the name of breast cancer. It's a disgrace.

      Delete
  7. Whoever decided that the official color of breast cancer be pink was clearly clueless. Last week I ordered a suitcase in a bright pink (easier to spot at luggage claim) and was asked if I wanted to donate to Komen. No. I do not donate to Komen. I donate to Avon and research organizations who are more interested in cure than marketing.

    Ann, I could walk for a year and it won't heal you. I could buy NFL tickets and help pay for pink cleats and whatnot, but that won't help you or cure your sisters. I do what I can, as I can, for those battling this horrid disease.

    ReplyDelete
  8. They had better not try anything like that with my daughters. Not only am I disgusted as a breast cancer patient, but also as a mother of beautiful young ladies about the ages of those girls. Thank goodness that Breast Cancer Research Foundation has a sense of decency.
    Elizabeth J.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Watch their benevolence shrivel up at the suggestion of doing this to raise money for testicular cancer.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Miss Hathawy (Nancy Kulp) died of cancer in February, 1991. Bet I know where she'd fall on the cure spectrum

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love your posts. Incredibly eye-opening.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anne, I think you are right on, and funny as heck, as usual.

    But since you write with such honesty, I want to share an honest comment: it makes me sad that you choose to reinforce the idea that a feminist is someone who is anti-humor and anti-men. You're repeating propaganda from people who don't want to see gender equality. A feminist is simply a person - man or woman - who wants to see both sexes treated fairly. That includes you, by my measure. In fact, the criticisms you make here, like the criticisms of Barbara Ehrenreich, are feminist to the core.

    Of course, it is your prerogative to use whatever labels you choose for yourself and your beliefs. But I want to suggest, respectfully, that you might make your points even more powerfully, and more consistently, if you did not insert contradictory disclaimers about not being feminist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree with you 100%. This blog reminds me of Welcome to Cancerland all the time.

      Delete
    2. Yes:

      Wickedly Funny Humor
      + Gender/Feminist Analysis =
      Powerful Tool against the Pink Nonsense.

      Delete
  13. 'No one dies of breast cancer ... you'll have a few months of not worrying about bad hair days, and then this will be behind you' - this is the reaction I got from 'friends' when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Universally ho-hum, everybody knows you lose your hair for a few months but nobody dies attitude. It made me want to kick them in the teeth, except that they were my only social contacts and I couldn't.

    October is a travesty. Komen should retire in shame. May those of us who suffer from this disease live in peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand what you are saying. Also, I have long thought Komen should "retire in shame."

      Delete
  14. How about we deluge these jerks with photos of our surgically mauled chests and the message, "Motorboat THIS, a--holes!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliant! They would run away screaming.

      Delete
  15. This is such a good post, that I agree with 99% - for the other 1% see above!

    ReplyDelete
  16. someone came over my house and showed me this video. I couldn't conceal my shock and horror. You said it all Ann but would like to add...I wonder how funny this would be if these guys had to chop off their male parts for cancer. A**holes

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'd heard about these guys 'motorboating'. I had a notion that it had nothing to do with boating.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is a brilliant piece of writing. Dead-on accuracy, biting sarcasm, and brutal honesty. It makes me sad to know that someday, these boys WILL have to face breast cancer—a mother, a wife, a sister—and see how deadly serious it is. I only hope they are wise enough then to feel the shame that they should be feeling right now.

    -Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow. Never heard of motorboating, let alone using it as a ploy to raise money for breast cancer. So offensive. Also, I have long thought the pink stuff is all nonsense (men in pink shirts? what kind of silliness is that? and we're supposed to,what, thank them for their "support"?). I get frustrated and angry with DCIS or Stage I patients celebrating that they are "survivors" and proudly promoting the pink nonsense. Everyone's smiling and so happy and celebratory because they "survived"! Absolutely, more $ and time and effort should be devoted to Stage IV people.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Their stunt was in horrible taste. Immature, low brow, and generally moronic. And the degradation of woman continues even in the face of this deadly disease.
    I had breast cancer, stage1, HER2 positive, TCH chemo for 6 months and Herceptin continuing for the remaining year.
    I support metastatic breast cancer and actually I would say most early stage breast cancer patients that I know are not part of the pink crowd. I'm glad you are still here with us. Thanks for your posts. You are "Hi-freakin-larious" !! Thanks for your intelligent and insightful comments, Thank you for making us laugh!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, any of you could be us - I was Stage II once too. So you should want money to go towards a cure as much as we do!

      Thank you!

      Delete
  21. This was really disturbing to read about. I haven't even watched the video and I'm not going to bother putting myself through that. There's nothing I would like more than to slap these boys across the face.

    However, while I'm horrified at such an immature treatment of the disease, I would want to draw a line between these boys and corporations that use a pink ribbon to sell a product. Both clearly don't care about the disease and the women suffering from it, but I don't object to the corporations because I'm willing to accept their ends justifying the means. The goal of sexually harassing women is inherently disgusting, selling your product is not. If a company wants to do something it was going to do anyways, I figure breast cancer research may as well get something out of it. Using a disease to promote sales is definitely immoral, but I wouldn't want it to stop because of the millions that are raised for research this way.

    Overall, a totally necessary post and one I thank you for being brave enough to write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suggest you keep reading my blog and researching this subject, because in this case, the only end is that corporations have more money. The money does not end up going to help cancer patients.

      Delete
  22. Well, Cancer Charity didn't refuse the millions Lance Armstrong brought in via illegal drug doping. They knew he was using...but it was millions. The $7000 she raised was nothing to them...and not worth the debacle trying to defend themselves. I have issues with Cancer research...where they get their money isn't always on the up and up...and where does it go?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any charity worth donating to should post what they do with the money they raise on their website, and how much. You might check charitynavigator.org to see if a particular charity is listed, and whether they file a form 990 with the IRS (detailing their financials). I was surprised to see how many charities have very low "program expenses" (spending on research, grants, awareness, etc) compared with executive compensation or fundraising expenses (if all of the money you raise goes to fund fundraisers, you're doing something wrong).

      Delete
    2. Sometimes it is worthwhile to check out local charities as well, where money goes directly to patient needs in your community. I have a friend involved as a volunteer with a local-based charity that helps single and low income parents with cancer with daily living needs - gas cards, negotiating reductions with landlords and utilities, working as a partner with another local charity that prepares meals for low income by delivering them directly to these cancer families, keeping a pantry of non-foodstamp necessities like toilet paper and laundry soaps, just daily living stuff. Those kinds of things you can check out directly because they are based in your community.
      I know am OK with money going to things other than research, as long as it goes to directly help patients.

      Delete
  23. Great response to this disgraceful stunt, Ann. I could not bring myself to watch the video. I am going to assume that lots of young women said "No" to these hateful idiots and got edited out of the final video.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Found your post online. As a man I would like to thank you for opening my eyes more. There is no doubt those kids are in it for themselves but thank you for helping to put the month of October into better perspective for me.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting. If the post is over 14 days old, the comment will be moderated and will approved later. This is a spam prevention technique - but I love to hear from you!