|Cupcakes for the Cure (after you finish your KFC)|
When I am not also feeling annoyed about the prevalence of pink and the absence of teal, I want to urge everyone to focus on the fact that once no one paid any attention to breast cancer either. It has taken over 25 years to build up this much awareness for the disease, largely due to the actions of the Susan G. Komen Foundation ("Komen"). Perhaps teal needs to take a page from the Komen playbook.
Which brings me to the second issue that has been bothering me. Are the methods worth the outcome of increased attention to the disease and money for research and treatment? Natasha Singer in today's (October 16, 2011) New York Times reports that Komen has raised billions for breast cancer awareness, treatment and research. Komen started with the Race for the Cure in 1983 but under founder Nancy Brinker's (Susan Komen's sister) salesmanship, Komen moved into commercial endorsements. Although pink was associated with Komen from the beginning, the ubiquitous pink loop ribbon came out in 1992 as part of an Estee Lauder campaign and taken from another cancer advocate, Charlotte Haley, who first used a peach loop ribbon to solicit breast cancer donations. And then the corporate sponsorships cascaded and grew until we find all sorts of interesting items in the pink genre-- such as KFCs Buckets for the Cure, Yoplait yogurt (with all its potentially breast cancer causing sugar), Egglands Best eggs (whose "humane" practices have been questioned), cooking appliances (I myself bought the "pink" Kitchenaid mixer because it was on sale for less than the other mixers) and even potentially carcinogenic perfumes.
It troubles me that breast cancer awareness has become big business although it is hard to argue with success. For my teal sisters, I think we need to look carefully at the Komen model for raising money and awareness but we need to do something rather than feel sorry for ourselves that pink always seems to trump teal.