Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cancer Mall

Barbara Ehrenreich's excellent book, Bright-sided shined a light on the "infantilizing" pink-ribboned culture promoted by groups like the Komen foundation:
The first thing I discovered as I waded out into the relevant sites is that not everyone views the disease with horror and dread . . . There are between two and three million American women in various stages of breast cancer treatment, who, along with anxious relatives, make up a significant market for all things breast cancer related. Bears, for example: I identified four distinct lines, or species, of these creatures, including . . . the Nick and Nora Wish Upon a Star Bear, which was available . . . at the Komen Foundation Web site's "marketplace."

And bears are only the tip, so to speak, of the cornucopia of pink-ribbon-themed breast cancer products. . . "Awareness" beats secrecy and stigma, of course, but I couldn't help noticing that the existential space in which a friend had earnestly advised me to "confront [my] mortality" bore a striking resemblance to the mall.

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