by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
In this month of all months, in Pinktober, in the holy month of All Things Pink out there, author and cancer patient Mary Elizabeth Williams dared to post a brave if not downright shocking perspective in Salon she called The Smug Morality of Breast Cancer Month.
She included this jibe at a pink ribbon campaign that she describes as an “increasingly pervasive branding opportunity”:
“Perhaps it’s time to consider what this glut of pink says about our attitudes about the meritocracy of disease, and the ways in which we dispense compassion.
“This year lung cancer will kill triple the number of people that breast cancer does. Ovarian, cervical and prostate cancer will kill more individuals than breast cancer. And alcoholism, addiction and depression will this year continue to kill not just via the overt channels of overdose and suicide, but in their brutal toll on overall health.”
And let’s not forget to add to Mary Elizabeth’s deadly list heart disease, the #1 killer of women. It was only after my own heart attack that I learned heart disease kills more women than ALL forms of cancer combined. But targeting any disease as a “branding opportunity” is not about being anti-pink. Instead, as Mary Elizabeth Williams warns us:
“We run the risk of ennobling those with certain sicknesses while stigmatizing others.”
Continue reading “What women with heart disease can learn from “pinkwashing””