I've been struggling with how to express my feelings about the pink breast cancer ribbon without causing offence, or diminishing what is truly a valuable awareness-raising tool, a sign of moral support and a source of comfort for many. Then the universe goes and plops the beginnings of an answer in my lap. I'm in the car coming back from Argos with my husband driving and find myself screeching STOP!!! as we pass a shop window. I catch a glimpse of blue painted torso and red doughnut breasts. I fling open the car door and roll over a few times as he speeds away. Not really. I make him go around the block and pull over safely, kids. (Can you tell I'm excited? RARRRRR!!!)
Turns out the painting is a screenprint (in this case, on a tote bag) by an illustrator called Lucie Sheridan, and as soon as I see it I know just why the pink ribbon disappoints me. The pink ribbon makes me think, first, that breast cancer is a female disease. Well, yes it is mostly, but men DO get breast cancer, and can you imagine how alienating and disturbing it is to their sense of self? God knows it's hard enough for women. The pink ribbon also reinforces the idea that it's a one-size-fits-all disease. It isn't. There are so many different types of breast cancer, affecting each and every person differently. And we don't all want to wear pink - nothing wrong with it, I just find I can't comfortably align myself with it, for whatever reason. So. The bag has given me an idea. Hurrah! More soon.