If you look closely at this photo, you’ll see that I’m only wearing a scarf.
I had breast cancer 4 years ago (technically, I’m in remission..). I had a mastectomy and did chemo. I gave my tumor to research, I participated in a drug study and I did this photo shoot for Of Scars — the idea is to see photos of breast cancer scars and then see, meet, and talk to the real, complete women. It’s an amazing event and a REAL way to increase awareness of Breast Cancer.
At Caribou Coffee, October becomes pinkwashed… In 1995 they had a key employee die of breast cancer, Amy — Now, every time I go to my local Caribou (often, it’s the only coffee between home and school) in the month of October, someone is pushing “Amy’s Blend” on me. The store is awash in pink, people are telling Amy’s story that were probably BORN about 1995 — and they sound like they lost her yesterday.
I find it hard to decline to participate… it seems to me that I’ve given enough time and energy to breast cancer. For cripes sake, I gave breast cancer my left boob… and, for some reason I feel compelled to explain myself, every time, for a cup of coffee.
There are a couple of things nagging at me… if you read Amy’s Story carefully, they say they donate “10% of all sales” to Susan G. Komen — but, what does that mean? 10% of profits? 10% of the cost of every purchase price I pay? Either way, it’s troubling… I don’t know the mark-up on coffee, but many retailers have a 50% mark-up from their wholesale cost… so, if a bottle of shampoo costs your stylist $5, she’ll sell it to you for $10. So, if it costs Caribou $5 to produce the coffee, you pay $10 and $1 (10% of purchase price) goes to Komen… and they keep $4…. and that’s the best case scenario… if they follow the basic retail trend.
What they’re doing is pushing coffee using fear and pity. It makes me ill — They’re participating in and perpetuating the fear women have of losing their breasts — which is scarier than most cancers, because our society has an obsession with boobs… 262 names for them alone… Having your boob become deadly is scary, not because of the deadly part — but, because without boobs a woman is no longer sexy — she’s no longer useful to society as a sexual thing and thus no longer useful…
Let me tell you, it just ain’t so — but, most women are scared of breast cancer and thus they buy shit with pink ribbons on it…
The pity angle should be obvious — I, as a woman with one boob, am someone to be pitied because I’m no longer desirable to men… I don’t want to get too personal here, but I have yet to find a man who actually has a problem with my one-boobed status…
If you say no, without explanation you get a look that can politely be called “dang, you’re a heartless bitch”… if I explain, then I get pity, have to explain my medical status etc… most of the time I prefer being a heartless bitch.
Frankly, I’m tired of breast cancer and I don’t want to explain it to the youngin’ running the cash register — I also don’t want to hold up the line of customers who, like me, just want some coffee… they don’t need to stand behind me while I explain and then answer the obligatory questions and get well-wishes from a strange teenager.