Halloween is almost here, and I’m wrapping up my series discussing Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I’m glad it’s over. Truly. I don’t like complaining and pointing at all the wrong. I think things like Pinkwashing need to be pointed at, need to be discussed. But I don’t like doing it.
The other day I saw another example of Pinkwashing. A popular car manufacturer advertised their luxury vehicles with a pink background. I thought, wow, they’re donating a portion of THAT purchase to breast cancer? Except, no. If you bought a luxury vehicle, somewhere in the realm of (I’m guessing, since I’ve never in my life been in the market for a luxury vehicle) $80,000 they’d give you a pink license plate cover for your new vehicle.
A luxury vehicle marketed with a pink background and the only money they’re donating from your purchase is from the license plate cover.
Go ahead… tell me that was an accident.
And then there’s one of my readers. Sabrina is a woman going through breast cancer treatment right now. A woman who is told she is brave and strong and she should keep fighting. She doesn’t feel brave, she said. She doesn’t feel strong. She doesn’t feel like she is fighting. She feels numb. And (she didn’t say this, but I think I can guess) she feels left behind.
Language failed her just as it failed me.
Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns might get to skip over the hard parts, but Sabrina doesn’t. She has to live every single hard moment, has to feel every single hard feeling. And she has to find a way live with what is happening to her.
But I still don’t like writing these posts. Complaining about Breast Cancer Awareness Month feels like an insult to the women I’ve known and loved who have also gone through breast cancer.
See, that’s the one thing Breast Cancer Awareness Month gets right: It honors.
It honors the woman linked to a chemotherapy machine. It honors the woman nursing radiation burns. It honors the woman who is just a few weeks out from having a double mastectomy and is learning all over again how to reach overhead to get a glass off a high shelf. It honors the women who did all of those things and died anyway.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I honor the women I’ve known who have walked the walk. I honor Sabrina. I honor Brooke. I honor Margie and Alma. I honor Pamela, who I met on FaceBook while I was going through treatment. I honor Jean and Patti, though they are no longer with us. I honor women I haven’t met, but I know their stories.
And I honor myself.
There is no doubt in my mind that Breast Cancer Awareness Month needs a makeover. This one thing, though . . . this honor. . . that can stay.