Think Pink

Pink everywhere... Now what?

Pink everywhere... Now what? Source: incurable_hippie hide caption

toggle caption Source: incurable_hippie

I realized a small dream of mine this weekend, and purchased my first fishing pole and reel. I've been a casual fisherwoman since I was a little girl, when my dad taught me how to fish at my grandparents' farm, with a push-button reel and a rod, baited with worms we dug out of the compost heap behind the house. The skills he taught me then came in handy a decade later, when, as a camp counselor, I untangled lines and baited hooks for campers fishing on the banks of the Severn River. It's not a huge part of my identity, but being on the water definitely centers me and brings me peace. But this isn't about my love of the outdoors... It's about the fishing pole. I knew what brand I wanted, so when I entered the enormous outdoors store with my guide and expert, he directed me to the appropriate section, where we immediately laid eyes on the obvious choice: a beautiful, six-and-a-half-foot freshwater pole, black with metallic pink wrappings. Shocked, he said he'd never ever seen a pink one before, and earlier, when I'd expressed a (half-joking) desire to find a pink one, he said he thought I was nuts — or at least SOL. But there it was, and we quickly realized the serendipitous timing of my purchase, coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness month. Seeing a pink fishing rod really made me wonder, though... How much good do all these pink-branded items really do? There's little doubt that breast cancer has become "the marketing darling of diseases," and you can shop everywhere for everything in the trademark pink. I'm sure the money goes to the cause, but it turns out that the saturation of the market with pink beribboned everything may be lulling us all into a false sense of security about that progress medicine is actually making to fight the disease. So I want to know what's next for the public campaign. How do you turn awareness into actual knowledge about preventing and identifying the disease? And what about the countless other deadly diseases... Are they smaller fish in this sea of pink?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

There's a reason Stella Marrs has made a postcard about Breast Cancer Awareness month (seen here: ) with some of the text being: Breast Cancer Awareness Month is exclusively sponsored by Zeneca pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries....their slogan is "early detection is your best prevention," which is nonsense, since if your cancer is detected, it's already too late to prevent it"
Yes, some funds from the pink ribbon merchandise (and I sell some of it) goes towards funding research, but no, you're probably right, we're falsely secure (though the recent report that breast cancer numbers are down - probably due to less hormone-replacement drugs being prescribed - is good news, huh?).

But we always like easy symbols over more difficult substance.

Sent by Ann Burlingham | 3:09 PM | 10-22-2007

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from