the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Promotional Awareness


After I made my blog “pink” for Breast Awareness Month, I received a surprising email from someone who is against the whole concept of “awareness” month.  It seems as if there are quite a few people out there who think corporations are using their support of breast cancer for their own profit and brand awareness.  Are yogurt brands really interested in breast cancer or are they just marketing to women?  

From the blog  I Blame the Patriarchy:

But where’s the activism? The ostensible focus of all this pseudo-philanthropic pink jockeying is a kind of nebulous breast cancer ‘awareness’, rather than any serious effort at prevention or investigation into what actually causes breast cancer in the first place. Furthermore, once all this ‘awareness’ has produced, via mammography outreach programs or self-exam propaganda (both masquerading as ‘prevention’), a positive diagnosis, there’s not any great push to secure treatment for underserved women.

I don’t agree with this type of reasoning.   A lot of money is going to good use and all this corporate sponsorship is surely helping.  Or is it?

Politicians support virtually unopposable ‘bipartisan’ breast cancer funding initiatives as directed by behemoths like the massively influential and reactionary Komen Foundation and come out smelling like a rose. The rank and file, conditioned by now to believe that there’s no problem shopping can’t solve, are invited to feel virtuous and altruistic whenever they buy a Yoplait yogurt or a pink KitchenAid mixer.

My question for these naysayers:  would it be better if it were the other way — and there was no corporate sponsorship?  And isn’t this exactly what progressives have been asking for — for corporations to be more responsive to their consumers?  You think supermarkets (and Walmart) are completely altruistic because they have started to carry organic foods?  Or Starbucks carrying coffee from certain countries?  Of course they hope to make profits while doing some “good.”

But, I thank you, e-mailer, for opening my eyes to an interesting topic.

This mix of promotion and politics was on my mind last night when I thought about going to the movies by myself.   With Sophia in New York for October, I thought about finding the movie with the most sex in it.

I read about Shortbus, a film by the director of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” which is supposed filled with actors having real-life sex.  Perfect!

Now, once upon a time, moviegoers used to go to pornographic movies because they were horny or wanted to have some fun.  Things are different today.  You buy Yoplait yogurt because they support breast cancer awareness.  And you go to a porno movie because it is anti-Bush.  I read this before heading out the door —

A US film featuring actors performing real sex is a “call to arms” against President George W. Bush, the director told journalists at the Cannes film festival.

“Shortbus,” an explicit, largely improvised arthouse flick is a direct provocation, director John Cameron Mitchell admitted.

“It’s a little bit of a cri de coeur to us, a little bit of a call to arms” against the prevailing conservatism, he told a media conference, adding that his country was living in “the era of Bush, which is about clamping down, being scared.”

The 43-year-old, whose previous work was “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” about a transsexual rock singer, said the film was his own small act of defiance against Bush.

“If you can’t do elections you might as well do erections,” he said.

Oh, I see.   So, now the Whole Foods crowd, doesn’t have to feel guilty about going to see a SEX movie.  They are going to see an anti-Bush film.  In fact, by going to see to this movie — it’s a vote against the administration.

Yogurt as a breast cancer awareness tool.   Dislike of George Bush as a reason to see people f***ing.

I decided against going to the movies.  I went to a local juice bar wearing my pink breast cancer bracelet, met a cute girl, and asked her if she wanted to come back to my place to “protest the policies of the current administration.”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Survivor: Santa Fe


  1. mckay

    the sex flick against the administration reminds me of the number in Gypsy: you gotta get a gimmick.

    regarding the corporate sponsors for the susan g. komen foundation – race for the cure (to which you made a generous donation in the memory of my mom – thanks!!): the foundation does, in fact, allocate money for mammograms and health services for women w/o health insurance, so corporate sponsors are getting brand name recognition while helping out a good cause.

    i’m still wearing my pink bracelet. i hate going to the movies alone and no one’s asked me to join in a good ol fashioned protest romp, but a girl can dream.

  2. Postmodern Sass

    Hear, hear on the breast cancer “awareness” rant.  I heartily agree with her (or him). Of seven women in my immediate family, five have had breast cancer. I have never used the term “breast cancer survivor” to describe them, nor have I ever worn that stupid pink ribbon, and I avoid like the plague all that pink shit during the month of October. I’ve earned the right. Awareness is a meaningless marketing term.

  3. Tara

    I have seen buses giving free mammograms in town supported by corporations. If corporations want to use their powers for good instead of evil, I say more power to them. I’m not naive enough to think that it is anything more than a marketing tool and I don’t shop accordingly.

    I thought porn was pro bush. I’m sorry. I have no self-control.

  4. communicatrix

    Neil, to clarify what I said in my email to you (if mine was the email you were referring to–maybe you have a host of wary, hotheaded feminists emailing you), I’m not saying the Komen Foundation does *no* good and I’m not saying that raising awareness of breast cancer in and of itself is a bad thing, I’m just saying consider the source.

    Because of my own experience growing up in the advertising/marketing world, I’ve grown suspicious of do-gooder stuff sponsored by corporate America. Most of corporate America is about the bottom line; there is very little noble selflessness about it.

    In the same way I now check on charitable organizations to see what their operating expenses per dollar collected is like, I avoid Big Business-sponsored hoopla and try to put my time/money/energy where it will generate the biggest rate of return.

    As several of the commenters said on that post you linked to, many of the companies who are sponsoring this Boo On Boob Cancer! b.s. are also the ones responsible for dousing the world in carcinogenic chemicals to begin with. So the whole “We Love Boobs” thing is kind of disingenuous.

    Let’s put it this way: does Philip Morris spending money on anti-smoking ads really mitigate what it does the other 99.9999% of the time?

    Sorry, but when the rubber meets the road, most *people* struggle with doing something selfless rather than selfish. Do you really think a nameless, faceless, barely-held-accountable corporation would do more, given the same circumstances?

    /rant (for now, anyway)

  5. deezee

    I like Communicatrix’s point on corporate consistency. Sure, their doing something is better than nothing, but if discussions such as these can raise greater awareness in consumers and get us to up the ante on pushing corporations to more responsible behavior – to stopping their evil ways in the first place – I think that is a great benefit.

    So, thanks for getting this dialogue rolling…

  6. Deborah

    I agree – it would not be better if there was no corporate sponsorship or philanthropy … so what if their motivations are not purely altruistic and increased sales, tax breaks and positive public image are the motivating factors?? So what? I’ll gladly take their money to solve some of the social ills of the world. As the director of a nonprofit organization, frankly their money is as good as anyone else’s dough … and interestingly enough, many of these philanthropic corporate arms have employee involvement and exercise their voice, deciding what concerns they wish address in their own communities.

    Speaking of Shortbus, I will most likely see it and be unapologetic of my true motivations … sex. I don’t need any in-your-face movie to justify my detestation of BushCo. Good post, Neil.

  7. Neil

    This is a subject I am very interested in, mostly because I am so conflicted over it. What do we do in a world when the “evil” corporations of the world start doing good, even as they continue with their corporate ways? But hasn’t this been the case for years? The famous Rockefeller Foundation? The Ford Foundation? The Getty Museum? Every New York museum founded by a robber baron? Exxon sponsoring Masterpiece Theater on PBS? Bill Gates, formerly the most hated man in America, now the most giving man in the world?

    Without big business and big expense accounts, half of the restaurants, theaters, and sporting venues would close down in NY, LA, and Chicago, including such illustrous places as the “Staples” Center in LA.

  8. Dagny

    I had to mull this one over before commenting. And then I read Deborah’s comment. I think that sums up my feelings. Yes, corporations have various motives but if in the end they are supporting a good cause, doesn’t that outweigh the rest?

    The women in my family who have had breast cancer do describe themselves as survivors. As far as the annual reminder in having a designated month, I think that they should keep it up. People seem to forget about things unless they are reminded of them on a regular basis. “Oh. They’re not talking about it anymore so it must not be an issue now.”

  9. Neil

    Just to be devil’s advocate with myself — do you think we will ever see a Stop Heart Disease Month (which is a bigger killer than breast cancer) or is that an unsexy disease and too connected to corporate profits?

  10. Amy K

    My students just raised $1000 for the American Cancer Society in their work to raise money and promote Breast Cancer Awareness. I don’t see what is so wrong with this. I am proud of them.

  11. 2nd Pearl Past the Post

    Cutting out the middleman. That’s what organics and responsibly citizenry is all about.

    I saw the movie trailer too. I did idly wonder if it and US versus John Lennon would get censored anywhere in the US of A…

    I think the only problem with corporate sponsorship might be people thinking they’re excused now (“I gave at the dairy aisle”)

  12. Postmodern Sass

    Ahem. Neil: looky here.

  13. Neil

    Thanks, Sass. You see George Bush isn’t THAT bad!

  14. Roberta

    Thanks Neil. Really good post. I work in pharmaceutical advertising, and work directly with people who are raising awareness for the eventual profit of big pharma. And I have seen the tears in the eyes of these people who doing this work. Corporate America is evil, true, but… take it where you can get it. (And until we all give up consuming…)
    Hedwig is one of my favorite movies, so I may have to force myself to see all the sex.

  15. momentary academic

    This is indeed a lot to think about. But unfortunately, we live in a consumerist world. It would be wonderful if we could find the cure for disease without making everything so damned commercial, but our world doesn’t allow for that right now.
    Perhaps one day.

  16. Hilly

    Okay I may get flamed, spammed, hated and have things thrown at me for this but I want to offer up a more simplistic viewpoint mainly because I am sick and don’t have it in me to analyze the feminist versus non-feminist aspects of this and/or whether or not we should applaud or villify corporations.

    Right, a yogurt top probably has not saved anyone’s life, or has it? It the microscopic scheme of things, you take someone like me, who eats Yoplait anyway on a daily basis and suddenly one day, I am at work and notice that my yogurt lid is pink. “Oh shit”, I think “how long has it been since I’ve had a mammo?”. Then I make an appointment to get one and find out early enough that I have a small lump that can be removed before it gets out of hand. Let’s just say that changing the color of the yogurt lid had that type of positive domino effect, blatant advertisment or not. Is it then not worth it to at least give this month some sort of corporate recognition despite the wizards behind the green curtain?

  17. Jules

    I’d make a political comment here, but I’m smiling over a porn that is anti-bush

  18. Suzette

    Women are being diagnosed with breast cancer at the rate of one every three minutes, so there is not luxury of six degrees here – we all know someone affected. This touches us all.

    I’m not sure if the argument here is “Big corporate pennies for research- better than nothing? Yes or No.” I’m not even sure that people’s consumer choices are influenced by the presence of a pink ribbon.

    I think there are some bigger questions to ask, such as how much of each Susan G Komen Foundation dollar actually goes to the cause? (23 cents.) Who do those research dollars go to? The big slow moving business-as-usual agencies or the smaller innovative labs? How much money is spent on breast cancer research each year? No one knows! There’s no coordinated effort – 35 different entities receive funds from the pink ribbon people but are they all researching the same thing? Are they even all researching, or are they using the funds to “promote awareness?”

    What about prevention? What about lobbying to change the enviromental contribtors to breast cancer? What about a little more focus on diagnostics – can you believe that we haven’t moved past the basic mammography technique in all these years? And don’t think for a minute that they detect all breast cancers. In fact, don’t even think that early detection leads to a better chance of survival – it doesn’t.

    Susan Komen died in 1982 and the approach to dealing with breast cancer is the same now as it was then, only now more women are getting it and dying from it.

    Thanks for opening this discussion. Now we’re all “aware” – now what?

  19. schmutzie

    Me, I am not so crazy about the pinkness and the ribbons and cutesified infantilization of a disease that happens to affect a lot more women than men. As far as the marketing end of it goes, though, Twisty had this to say about it, and she’s bang on:
    SunChips is a ‘proud supporter’ of the ignominious Komen Foundation. If you spend 39 cents to mail in the UPC code from this ’specially marked pink ribbon bag’, SunChips will donate 25 cents to Komen. What a deal.

  20. Miriam

    Neil, let’s cut to the chase–did the cute girl go home with you or not? Don’t leave us hanging.

  21. leahpeah

    it would be great if people would just be aware and donate funds as they can on their own without gimmicks and reminders to every and all research groups, as much as they can stand. it would help the sustainability of our planet. but since we all get busy and self absorbed with our own lives, i can see the reason we need reminders. however, licking damp and sticky yogurt lids, collecting a reasonable amount and then actually sending them in will never happen in my house. i would love to see the percentage that people actually send in per produced items. in that way, it seems mostly marketing than actually helping.

    i like hilly’s story. it would be great if people were spurred from seeing the lids and then both men and women decided to pay attention to the shape of their breasts. (men get it too!)

  22. plain jane

    Schmutzie: And of that 25 cents, less than 6 cents goes to the cause (according to Suzette’s figures).

  23. Daisy Mae

    OMG, I loved “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”! I haven’t heard of Shortbus (other than recommending my husband ride it to work on occasion) but if it is by the same director as Hedwig then it must be rousingly (is that a word) disgusting and therefore right up my alley.

    By the way, for about a year I thought it was “Hedwig and the Angry ITCH”. We won’t go into the why’s.

  24. Neil

    But isn’t this a problem with big charities in general with their huge administrative staffs, and not something particular to breast cancer?

    The one thing I don’t particularly like is when these organizations take on a life of their own and begin to not work together. Sometimes it seems as if Cancer Care, Gilda’s Place, etc. seem to work as poorly together as the FBI and CIA did before 9/11. I didn’t realize that there are actually 672 organizations founded to combat breast cancer.
    Daisy Mae, I originally wrote it as “itch” myself.

    Miriam — I struck out. She was a Republican.

  25. Julia Schopick

    For an interesting twist on the topic of the “pinking” of breast cancer awareness, please see the link on my website,, to the article “Welcome to Cancerland: A Mammogram Leads to a Cult of Pink Kitsch” by Barbara Ehrenreich.

    This article will give you a different perspective on the topic!

    Julia Schopick

  26. incy vincy

    i agree with communicatrix.

    i think the idea of multinationals is basically very similar to colonization – when all the money most people had was forced into the hands of very few people who had no interest in those people whose money they had (:D this sentence has to be some record) except that the means have become more sophesticated and british royalty and other royalties have been replaced by CEOs.

    after taking/robbing most people off what if a few pennies are given back. no, the entire concept is wrong – no one jumped across a ditch in two steps!

    ok, the above was a rant by someone who hasnt researched markets. but i am anti pinkies and other such stuff.

  27. Fitena

    The concept might be wrong, but then “would it be better if it were the other way?”
    And then, every bit helps and one has to acknowledge and appreciate thatto its vrai valeur.

  28. Suzette

    But does every bit help? That is the question I’m asking. Not only should we know how much of that dollar goes to “The Cure”, but what the heck is “The Cure” exactly? (Is it research? What’s being researched? Who is doing the research? Who decides what kind of research gets the money?)Or is it raising awareness? How many ribbons does it take to crank out those pink ribbons? Once we’ve got our ribbons, is that the end of our engagement – now we’re off the hook?

    FYI- I was wrong when I typed 23 cents per dollar going to to the programs that SGK suppots – its 13 cents. source:

  29. kristen

    I can see both sides but personally, I’m so freaked out by breast cancer that I’d rather have the corporate leeches promoting pink everywhere if it does what Hilly suggested and gets someone in for a mammo that hasn’t had one or has forgotten to schedule hers for that year. Gap is doing a red theme thing for heart disease and every Valentines Day, there’s a big rush of red everywhere (I think Eve Ensler does something with her vagina monologues as well). Lung cancer is the leading killer of women and only now are we hearing/reading about that.

  30. Edgy Mama

    Did the cute girl say yes?

    I occasionally write health stories for my local newspaper, and we’re always debating whether or not to cover the “health crisis of the month” awareness campaign. There seem to be several each month. This week I’m writing an article about lead poisoning in kids, which probably will run next to an AP article about Breast Cancer Awareness. So, not the local angle, but a nod anyway.

  31. justrun

    I’m confused that your emailer thinks you can have awareness without marketing. How would that be possible? I’ll wear my pink ribbons, buy yogurt and mail in the lids and walk in all the 5K’s possible if it means even one more woman gets a lump checked.

    I know that’s not “big picture” to some people but in the case of early detection (which is currently the only thing we have “one over” on breast cancer) the little picture IS the big picture.

  32. Tata

    The difference of opinion we are having here – and this is a remarkably civilized conversation – is not what it at first appears. Everyone agrees:
    1. breast cancer – bad.
    2. people having happy sex – good. Let’s set aside the politics of sex itself, which won’t get us anywhere. I will say it’s possible to pick up Republicans, Neil, and I believe that we should be picking up Republicans, because all politics should be argued naked. You know. To keep things in perspective.

    Our problem is not anguish over the suffering, it’s not the disease, it’s not even stupid technologies that have not improved over time. Our problem is us, each and every one of us. For all of our talk, we are doing nothing and – here’s the truly significant detail – we don’t want to be personally involved. We want to act as passively as we can, by mailing off UPC codes and pink lids, and absolve ourselves of any responsibility for thinking this situation through because the corporate angle assures us this effort must be what it says it is.

    It’s not. As Suzette says, the Komen Foundation’s focus isn’t funding research or prevention; the focus is perpetuating itself. The foundation has power. What we should see but can’t through the nauseating product offers is that a charitable organization’s goal should be to put itself out of business.

    Yes: out of business. Fund research. Find the cure. Find the cheap, effective preventive methods everyone, everywhere can afford and take part in. Done. That this is not happening should be your giant, red flare clue that the system has failed.

    I’m not saying my hands are any cleaner than anyone else’s but we should face the fact that this pink ribbon industry is all crap, and it isn’t going to achieve what it says it will – and that we are responsible for telling that industry we are aware of its failings. We won’t be complicit in this. Don’t buy their stuff. Write and tell them you’re not their sucker, and until they get their priorities in order, you’re not going to walk or run or shop or otherwise come to their pointless party.

    Doing something for the sake of doing something will never succeed. Accept that you have to be involved, and do it. Otherwise, you’re just eating yogurt.


    Have you seen the adds for yogurt with fiber? When’s colon cancer awareness month?

  34. better safe than sorry

    wow, good for you for going pink! i do what i can, while i don’t go out of my way to buy pink, if the choice between the item i’m buying is the regular one or one with the pink ribbon on it, i’ll pick up the pink one, in hopes that i am helping, even if it’s just a bit.

  35. JohnM

    Some many of you talk about some idealized version of a desired world. The “evil” corporations don’t have to do anything at all. The fact that they decide to put some of their dollars to good use, for whatever reason, selfish or otherwise, is fantastic. They should be applauded, not derided, to encourage them to do more, not less. The world hasn’t been black and white for a long time, people….

  36. psychomom

    Just a year ago you showed NM your pink ribbon. Thanks for the reminder to make an appointment.

  37. Tata

    JohnM: attacking the critic rather than addressing the argument adds nothing useful to the discussion. Further, your secondary argument that we are lucky corporations dehumanize us with one hand and help us with another – rather than with both – is a dead end, if our point is to address human problems.

  38. sarah

    Its a tough decision, and a tough opinion to make. Its also a very personal and real issue for many people.

    I truely believe that every little thing can help. So if its even 1 penny towards the greater good, thats one more penny than before.

    Heart disease is a very real problem, as well as other cancers. There are support system for them as well, but more people are aware of those problems, scared by those problems and check for those problems.

    Breast cancer is treatable if found early, so a main goal is to promote awareness.

    I know people who have survived breast cancer, as well as some who havent. Any and all ailments need research, which requires money, which requires marketing in this world. Its just the way our society is, but it doesnt mean that we can’t do our own little part in our corner of the world. Change doesnt happen if no one is willing to participate.

    Could corporations do more? Yeah. But so can we as a people.

  39. Lou P.

    Reminds me of a photo I saw of a guy holding a poster from a Bourbon Street-esque scene that read: “Show us your boobies or the terrorists win.”

  40. communicatrix

    I’m confused that your emailer thinks you can have awareness without marketing. How would that be possible?

    Well, for starters, via blogs and lively comment threads contained within 🙂

    Obviously, we’re not all on the same page when it comes to this issue. But as someone pointed out, we are all here discussing this with amazing civility. That, in and of itself, I count as progress.

    Although I personally would like more progress, and faster progress. But I’ve always been impatient…

  41. mmariem3

    If Yoplait really wanted to help the Komen foundation, would not the corporation donate a percentage of all the sales of pink topped yogurt? Yoplait has customers “submit” the pink lids and then Yoplait will “donate” 10 cents to the Komen Breast Cancer foundation.

    I think that promoting awareness for any illness is a good idea whether the disease is heart disease, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, etc.. Corporations and people need to be more conscientious where their money goes and how the money is used.

    Neil, I like the idea you pinked out your website no matter what anyone says.

  42. Neil

    Sophia has already scolded me for “not taking a stand on one side of the other,” but the subject seems more complicated than that. But I would like to refute the statement that Suzette said that little has changed since 1982 when Susan Komen died of breast cancer.

    Awareness has helped.

    According to Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research at Cornell University:

    The current five-year survival rate for women with breast cancer is 86%. (The survival rate is the percentage of women who are still living a period of time after they are diagnosed with breast cancer.) The current ten-year survival rate is 76%. These rates include women at all stages or levels of severity of breast cancer. Women with cancer that has not metastasized – that is, the cancer has not moved to the lymph system or other parts of the body – have a five-year survival rate of 96%. Women whose breast cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body have a five-year survival rate of 21%.

    From 1976 and 1997, there was a statistically significant improvement in the five-year breast cancer survival rate of eleven percentage points (from 75% to 86%). This was largely the result of improvements in the detection of breast cancer at early stages although advances in the treatment of breast cancer have also contributed.

  43. Melissa

    I appreciate any effort anyone makes in broadcasting the awareness of an issue as important as breast cancer. I don’t think Yoplait has done anything to cause anyone cancer. I don’t think Kitchen Aid has dont anything to cause cancer either. So what if it’s a corporation giving money? If you don’t think they are giving or doing enough to fund treatment and examinations for those who cannot afford it then start writing letters to those corporations and ask them to do more. And yeah, they are more likely to do more if they can earn money from it. And here’s the kicker… the more they earn the more they have to give.

    It’s pretty damn easy to shit all over everyone else’s efforts just because it’s not perfect.

  44. Belinda

    I have a slightly different, small, niggling concern about the abundance of attention paid to breast-cancer awareness (a whole month!)…and it’s not that I have ANY problem with raising awareness about breast cancer. What worries me is, breast cancer is pretty far down on the list of causes of mortality in American women, and I worry that other, more prolific and insidious health conditions, are being overlooked, possibly because breast cancer is “easier?” (That is REALLY not the right word, but I’m still on heavy post-op meds, so I may be making a fool of myself here, brain-wise.) I believe that the number ONE killer of women in this country is heart disease, about which VERY LITTLE is known. I would TOTALLY get behind a women’s heart disease awareness month or campaign. Because the symptoms are often totally different than what men with heart disease experience, often even doctors don’t know what they’re seeing.

    I call that a problem worthy of increasing “awareness,” at least as much as breast cancer, about which much is known and much can be done, especially with early detection. What if we could do the same with heart disease? With endometriosis, which effects MILLIONS of women (and came within 6 months of killing me 6 years ago, myself)?

  45. Neil

    I do agree with Belinda that breast cancer awareness is easier for corporations to “sell” since everyone loves breasts and they are such a central part of being a woman, but there is less attention given to other important medical concerns. I think people made a similar argument with AIDS a few years back.

  46. Danny

    Of course there’s lots of politics and marketing surveys involved in these corporate sponsorships and people should closely follow the money trails but I am definitely on the side of supporting corporate activities that bring in the bucks and promote awareness of breast cancer or any other important cause. “Awareness” is not just a word, it can be a life-saving state of mind. Say what you want about Katie Couric, I am sure that her on-air colonoscopy following her husband’s death from colon cancer led to many lives being saved. Meeting the lovely Sophia and learning about her bout with breast cancer really did make my wife focus more on her own breast exams. Seeing the pink on Neil’s blog makes me that much more sensitive about the issue when I hear about it elsewhere. I get that some people are perplexed why some diseases get more attention than others, and to them I say work to get “your” disease in the spotlight. It’s not just an easy way to feel good about ourselves, it truly can make a difference. On the other hand, some corporate partnerships are too repulsive to stomach, like tobacco companies doing cancer work—they should be outed as the killers that they are.

  47. Bre

    I’m a firm believer that “all publicity is good publicity.” So maybe it’s cheezy for yoplait to have pink tops only in October, but it at least makes people think about the issue more often! And that can’t be bad.

    the election/erection thing? I’ll leave that one alone!

  48. rach

    If it does good, if people wear their jeans to work on lee jeans day, if everyone who did that gave £5 or $5 to this cause then who gives a monkeys arse. Sorry but feel really strongly about this. Set up a separate blog called PINK RIBBON, not to get hits or comments, just to raise awareness. How soon before my 40 something friends start finding lumps? Corporate warmongering or just doing your bit? Who can say what is right or wrong. When you have lost a loved one to this disease, you will do anything to save someone else. I don’t want to offend anyone, and freedom of speech is what we should all strive for, how many blogs have we all read where someone is going through this. We don’t have to buy the merchandise on offer, for a month we just have to raise awareness and do our own little thing.

    My effort is at

    It’s just for info, oh and a fantastic YouTube that someone sent me. Don’t comment, just participate.

  49. thephoenixnyc

    Where I come from the “Shortbus” was what the special-ed kids rode to school.

  50. CrankMama

    Neil.. i hope you showed your cute friend the true problems with the administration… slowly and with great success.
    I agree with you. I think it’s good that corporations are making some effort to be activist… And whether the intentions are golden, they raise awareness.

  51. Neil

    Thanks, Rach! Great blog you put up.

    I guess there are a couple of issues here, but I think everyone pretty much agrees that trying to stop breast cancer is a worthy cause.

    It seems there will always be issues of where money comes from and who it goes to, especially when there are limited resources. I even remember one of the more unpleasant parts of the 9/11 tragedy were people fighting over where charity money should go. I remember widows of firemen killed in action before 9/11 were upset at new widows becoming instant millionaires because of their tragedy.

    And as for mention earlier of the Sprecher Institute study saying that survival rate for women is increasing, there are other studies that show an increase in cancer cases.  I also became aware of this info:

    “You’d be surprised at how studies can be set up to prove a point.  Secondly, did you notice that the reporter was not a physician but a PhD and the institution was not the medical school branch of Cornell,but the veterinary school?  A little more Googleing reveals that they are funded in part by the state department of agriculture to study environmental effects on cancer, yet all their reporting concerns dietary effects. That raises a suspicion in my mind that their
    unstated mission is to selectively find environmental effects that are man=made (chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, additives), and I can’t help but wonder if this was sparked by a desire to put distance between breast cancer and hormones found in cow’s milk. I find it just too much of a coincidence that agriculture, veterinary medicine and breast cancer are rolled up into one coincidental report.”

  52. Karla

    I’m painting my breasts pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. And when the subject comes up, I’m loudly proclaiming, “I’m aware of breast cancer.” It’s the least I can do.

  53. Belinda

    I like the suggestion made here, that whenever you remind someone to “get a mammogram,” you add, “…and a lipid profile, since heart disease is the #1 killer of women. Note that she also has the 2002 stats displayed, and the mortality figures are:

    Heart Disease: 356,000
    Stroke: 100,000
    Lung Cancer: 68,000
    COPD: 64,000
    Breast Cancer: 42,000

    Now, add up the totals on the three heart-related things listed, and you get 520,000. I mean, that’s more than ELEVEN TIMES the deaths from breast cancer. Obviously, we need to get way more concerned about the health of our hearts and circulatory systems. Not at the EXPENSE of breast cancer awareness or anything else, but in ADDITION. So, yeah, get that mammogram…and a lipids profile, blood-pressure check, heck, maybe even a full cardiac workup every so often. I’ve had one in the last year.

  54. Neil

    Belinda – those are surprising statistics. Here is one way where focusing on one disease can be deceptive. You begin to think that breast cancer is the #1 problem with women, when in reality it isn’t — and women forget to be “aware” of these other potential killers. I think most people still believe that heart disease is still more of a man’s problem.

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