I confess I’m put off by the ubiquitous breast cancer “awareness” campaign that we have seen everywhere for the last month. It strikes me as vulgar and unserious and implicitly elevates one form of deadly cancer over all others, even though this one is neither the most common nor the most lethal. Obviously it is very sad that women get breast cancer and that some die when their deaths were preventable. And I also am sympathetic with the trauma of a mastectomy. But men can get prostate and testicular cancer and have the trauma of losing their sexual functioning and in some cases their sexual organs. There’s a pretty obvious political reason (i.e. feminism) that one campaign is everywhere and the other two cancers are hidden away like your drunk uncle at the family reunion.
And what does it mean, after all, to be “aware” of breast cancer? Does anyone really doubt that it exists or that a cure would be a welcome thing? Do you think most people wearing that ribbon know that alcohol increases your breast cancer risk? Or that mammograms prior to the age of 40 or so are a waste of time and may increase your cancer risk or that breast cancer is not appreciably heritable? And speaking of awareness, has anyone become aware that a popular feminist lifestyle goal (that of women having fewer children, if at all, and doing so later in life) is a breast cancer risk factor? For some reason I think that last one doesn’t get top billing in this aggressive campaign, whose chief purpose is vanity and to remind everyone who runs the show.
Andrew Nowitcki shares my annoyance at this campaign that is literally everywhere:
In fact, although people still find various other types of tumors growing in other places on their bodies, it is exclusively mammarian malignancy that is granted the spotlight—an entire month, in fact, of nonstop press. During October, everything in sight is painted pink—the chosen color of feminine “empowerment,” I suppose—and a bevy of worn, weary “survivors” are regularly trotted out as exemplars of womanly courage and fortitude. I have nothing against women with breast cancer, of course; indeed, I wish them well. But do we really require pink newspapers delivered to our doorsteps, and do we really need to see professional football players wearing faggy-looking pink shoes and socks for an entire month, just to show we’re properly concerned for and in righteous solidarity with the afflicted?