Home > Uncategorized > Conspicuous Charity and why I hate Breast Cancer Awareness….

Conspicuous Charity and why I hate Breast Cancer Awareness….

I hate Breast Cancer Awareness.

Well….at least in its current form.

OK you say, “Mr. McDoof you are a cold, heartless bastard.” I say, wait a second…

It is ubiquitous, every girl and every dude who wants to feign a compassionate heart is wearing some sort of pink anything. Now look I hate breast cancer, my aunt got it and is trying hard to recover so I can see how important it is to get checked often, not to be afraid of getting a mammogram etc.

So how about this:

85% of all diagnoses have no family history.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between ages 40 and 55.

Bam! That’s my mom’s age and many of your mother’s ages. Who isn’t moved by the notion that there are women out there, our very mothers suffering from something that can be stopped. Why can’t we just do that?

Saying “I like it on a chair/I like it on the floor” etc. does not raise awareness for anything, except making me more aware that you are indeed a douchebag. The next time I say “That’s what she said” and you frown at such indiscretion, I am gonna smugly tell you I am raising awareness for prostate/testicular cancer.

Like everything else in life, tough issues like breast cancer need to be met with tough sacrifice and conviction. Waltzing around like a moron telling people you where you like to have sex, makes you an oafish horndog. People might giggle or laugh a little, but you’ve done actually zero work in doing anything for the cause for cancer. In fact, campaigns like these are distracting people from the more pertinent message of screenings and checkups. You wore a ribbon? Awesome, I am glad that I can see one now for the 467,854th time. OK, so I see pink a lot, but I am not sure what I am supposed do….

The most asinine part of all these awareness initiatives is that the people (upper-middle class folks who have the money and time to be able to parade around)  who already know the most about breast cancer issues are the ones saturated with the message. The NFL has caught onto this with a lot of the players wearing pink gloves and shoes, so maybe it would hit a bigger audience. But still while the pink is undoubtedly effeminate and distracting, where were the ads or statements reminding us what many of us men should be doing for our wives, sisters, mothers and daughters? Couldn’t these awareness funds be used more directly for actual research or other initiatives? Something tells me the intention is good, but lacks any real benefit.

It makes sense though, people can pretend they are doing something noble and at the same time face no real cost to themselves. Real breast cancer awareness would actually entail work. Want to really raise awareness? How about visiting a family in a neighborhood that doesn’t have these resources. Want to be of help? How about visiting a woman suffering from the illness and facing a scary and lonely stage of her life. On a scale of 1-10 on doing something about breast cancer, wearing a ribbon and walking around your friends who are already inundated with this message is a 0.0001.

Maybe its me being a cynic, but why does every charity need to raise fanfare to do anything? What value is there is in a parade other than feeling good about ourselves while all you really are doing is causing traffic for everyone else? Is the only way we can donate money to a cause when people walk for a few miles, or if there is an enormous gala more dedicated to showing how rich and generous you are? All of this nonsense is 99% self-congratulatory and 1% “O wait, there’s a real issue here.”

It’s not just breast cancer, apparently there is a LINK event at Circle (korean nightclub)? Are you serious?

What’s the message? “Come support the cause by doing what you do every Friday, getting piss drunk.”  Want to help North Koreans? I will promise you this will do very little to help North Koreans. Chasing fobby Korean girls with overpriced drinks in hand sounds like what old and sketchy Korean men do, not a way to bring freedom to North Korea. You wanna do that, fine whatever, lets not veil in under the premise of charity though please?

Is there something wrong with just, “Listen I am not gonna walk around or do anything, but breast cancer sucks. Can you donate to the cause?” OK, if parading is the only way we can raise money, fine I am all for it, but I wonder what this says about the state of the world right now. I am pretty sure that the reason why every celebrity has their own pet cause is not because of a sudden increase in “kindness” among them. Conspicuous Charity…apparently, our kindness is only worth something if everyone else can see it.

Listen, I hate cancer. Visiting my aunt in person, when she had a thinning head of hair shocked me. Seeing her in such a frail state made me wonder what we could do to help prevent/stop/help. Acting like a insufferable douche pretending to care for a cause is not one of them.

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  1. Tim
    October 6, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    good post, although the reason why people do things with such fanfare is that non-profits are always struggling to figure out ways to get attention to raise funds. not that their attempts always serve their purpose.

    “Saying “I like it on a chair/the floor” etc. does not raise awareness for anything, except making me more aware that you are indeed a douchebag. The next time I say “That’s what she said” and you frown at such indiscretion, I am gonna smugly tell you I am raising awareness for prostate/testicular cancer.

    Like everything else in life, tough issues like breast cancer need to be met with tough sacrifice and conviction. Waltzing around like a moron telling people you where you like to have sex, makes you an oafish horndog. People might giggle or laugh a little, but you’ve done actually zero work in doing anything for the cause for cancer. In fact, campaigns like these are distracting people from the more pertinent message of screenings and checkups. You wore a ribbon? Awesome, I am glad that I can see one now for the 467,854th time. OK, so I see pink a lot, but I am not sure what I am supposed do….”

    i’m confused by this part – what is this referring to, some ad?

  2. sarah
    October 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Perhaps the saddest part of it all is the fact that the fanfare, the traffic jams, and the ridiculous ads are what make people aware. Thanks to those pink ribbons, breast cancer awareness has become something to hate on, but also something girls now think about (besides, pink ribbons match any outfit! haha jpjp)

    So…getting ready for “Movember”? 😀

  3. koreahn
    October 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Yes, let’s show the world how powerful women are by making sexual innuendo on Facebook. That’ll show ’em!

    Also, WHAT THE FREAK DO PURSES HAVE TO DO WITH BREAST CANCER?! At least bras have something to do with breasts.

    Someone should tell whoever is launching these Facebook memes that it’s a completely moronic way for people to feel like they are doing something by “raising awareness” without doing much of anything at all.

    • orijinalbrand
      October 7, 2010 at 4:54 pm

      They used the bra thing last year, and decided to do purses this year. While i agree that this whole sexual innuendo=>breast cancer awareness is ridiculous, i’m fairly certain that the crux of my issue with this awareness movement is that many girls with these statuses don’t really care all that much about breast cancer as much as they are having fun making a sexual innuendo. I figure it’s similar to girls wearing sexually revealing costumes at Halloween, since its the one time they can use the holiday to get away with being risque. I guess i don’t want to call into question anyone’s intentions, but I just feel like at the end of the day, if you REALLY care enough to make people aware about breast cancer, there are better ways to express it.

      In regards to your 1 in 8 statistic, there is an explanation to this. This is true if you live to be 90 years old. Many do not live to reach this age. This is an interesting table that shows the numbers: http://chealth.canoe.ca/TableImages/full_size/1222.jpg

  4. Oscar
    October 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I personally do not understand why this offputs you so much.

    If their contribution to breast cancer awareness is .00001, what is yours?

    As someone who works in an industry where viral marketing plays a huge aspect, If 1 million women mindlessly “support” a cause, but it somehow creates more visibility and spurs very few into action, is that still not a significant contribution?

    For instance, if I take my girlfriend to a New York Giants football game, she may not know anything about the New York Giants. But if she wears a Giants jersey and wears blue and white ribbons in her hair, she is making a quantifiably tiny, but also emotionally important contribution to Giants fandom.

    Just my two cents

  5. Kala
    November 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I AGREE! THANK GOD! There are so many other cancer organizations out there that are completely ignored and even underfunded because people are fixated on breast cancer- people who otherwise might consider other charities (charities which I might add do not spend a good portion of their proceeds on t-shirts, bumper stickers and other dumb crap for those stupid goodie bags). People buy pink watches and feel like they did a good thing for the world– despite the fact that most of the proceeds go to the guy who makes the watch.

    The Biggest Loser just had a show where the contestants did a fashion show to raise money for breast cancer… Big Fish just did a fundraiser raising money by selling screen savers in honor of breast cancer. It is everywhere! If you are unaware of breast cancer by now than you are probably living under a rock.

    It is not that I am unsympathetic. I know that it is a horrible disease, and it would be great to find a cure. However, wouldn’t it be nice if at least some of these efforts are diverted to other cancers– if for example the Biggest loser did a fashion show to raise awareness of and money for glioblastoma? IF for example someone said, gee I do not need another pink t-shirt this year maybe I will donate to osterosarcoma instead? Not as sexy as having breast canvcer, but they certainly need the money.

    Also, here it goes– it burns me that people actually make money off of breast cancer. Yes, a portion of your donation goes to breast cancer awareness and research, but much of it goes into pockets. If you actually buy the merchandising– well yes someone somewhere is making money on that crap.

    I miss the days when wearing pink simply meant that you were gay.

    -C

    • Kala
      November 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      I would argue that the Susan Komen foundation (the source of much of this stuff) has no problem raising funds or ensuring their visibility. Indeed, my entire city shuts down for an entire saturday to facilitate their fundraising activities.

      • machine_girl
        March 24, 2011 at 9:19 pm

        what if every person who didn’t work that day in order to raise money, instead went to work and donated the entire day’s salary to a charity? I think a lot more money would be raised and the city wouldn’t have to shut down.

  6. June 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for this post. It’s spot on. I appreciate it.

  1. October 6, 2010 at 10:20 pm
  2. October 6, 2010 at 11:11 pm

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