Being Aware of Awareness


Did you know there’s something very nasty out there called “breast cancer”? If not, then my guess is that you’ve been dead for the last ten years or so. Yep, that’s right; I’m bitching about breast cancer “awareness”.

Over the last few days, I’ve seen things about football players wearing pink, people doing breast cancer walks, and just now, a group of construction workers wearing pink hard hats and standing in a formation like the ubiquitous pink ribbon.

Now these are all well-intentioned, and I have no doubt they earn money for breast cancer research, and that’s what they should do. That is, in fact, all they should do. Telling us this is about “awareness” as if there are people out there who need to know about breast cancer but don’t, and yet somehow will magically become aware of it by watching an NFL game where the players wear pink, is just silly.

I also have a problem with the use of pink in this campaign. I think it sends the not-very subtle message that only women need to worry about breast cancer. This is completely wrong. It can and does happen to men. Yes, it happens less often, what with men having less breast tissue for it to happen to, but it does happen.

I suppose I can accept the idea of raising awareness about the fact that there is testing and that breast cancer is survivable, but I don’t know that people aren’t really aware of the former, and the latter is obvious by the fact that there are people who have survived it.

Maybe I’m being a bit too cynical here, I don’t know. I just get dislike the concept of raising “awareness” about something almost everyone is aware of. Raising money to research treatment for breast cancer, sure. Awareness, no.

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One Response to “Being Aware of Awareness”

  1. Zach Sheffler Says:

    Your post is well-taken, but I disagree on one critical point: of course everybody is aware of breast cancer, and while we’ve gone a little overboard with pink in October, the critical awareness that needs to be raised is that breast cancer has very, very high survival rates when caught early. If the deluge of pink causes more women to perform a self-exam once a year in October, then mission accomplished.


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