These two go together apparently, with a few restaurants, several recipes, and even a rap album all sharing the name.
So when will beer, and all alcohol, follow chicken in being banished from breast cancer celebrations, whoops, I mean fundraisers?*
Before I say more, let me announce my own hypocrisy. I am no teetotaler. I love my wine. But I am also NOT a non-profit, or a health/cancer advocate, or anyone even remotely qualified to give any advice, least of all medical advice. In fact, I would never suggest anyone make any of the choices I made during cancer either medically or mentally/emotionally, etc.—in fact opposite choices are likely the best bet for most folks. I definitely do not encourage others in drinking alcohol—I like making my own dumbass choices and everyone else can make theirs. I am just an anti-social Cancer Curmudgeon. I enjoy pointing out the Dumb Shit Done, in my stupid opinion, in the world of cancer, in service of Pink and otherwise.
A few years ago Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink campaign focused on the hypocrisy of KFC joining with some Pink group, coating their chicken buckets Pink to raise “awareness”, and probably to use customers’ goodwill to make a load of money—because that is the real reason so many big name corporations put the pink ribbon on their products. BCA has taken on other products/corporations for this pinkwashing. And I mean pinkwashing in the strictest sense—a product that is linked to causing cancer (like fast food sold by, you guessed it, KFC) being sold by a corporation using the pink ribbon to sell the dangerous damn thing. Like, get cancer and fight cancer at the same time? WTF?
I don’t know what Pink races and other Pink events are like in other regions, but in my rural beach resort area, many popular Pink events are hosted and/or sponsored by a local bar or brewery, and feature consumption of alcohol, and usually unhealthy food. No one blinks an eye about this, in spite of the MANY warnings in breast cancer health reports linking alcohol (and crappy food) consumption to breast cancer. Well, I’ve seen a few random Facebook posts griping about alcoholic drink recipes designed to honor Pinktober—but nothing about alcohol-business sponsorship of large events. I hope some are out there that I simply have not yet stumbled over.
Oh, I know, these local businesses are willing to help, to give money to local groups that provide invaluable services of support to breast cancer patients. Therefore I should quit my whining about it. I am sure I benefited, indirectly or even directly from these funds. Apparently, no other businesses are willing or able to pony up. And like I said, I still love wine. So yeah, zip your lips Cancer Curmudgeon.
But I cannot help but cringe when I see all these ads, increasingly as October approaches, for cancer “awareness”** events that feature alcohol. As recently as this spring/summer, there was an event at one beach town (I live right on the Mid-Atlantic East coast, near several beach resort towns) called Boobs and Brews in honor of a recently deceased mets breast cancer patient, to raise funds for the state breast cancer coalition. This fall, several Brews for Boobs (notice, differently named from the other event) parties will take place at different locations each weekend in the Delmarva region. And the annual Pink Run, which I suspect is the largest in the local beach area, is held at a popular bar. After the run, drinking and eating of BBQ (is that healthy food?) will ensue. Special PINK Ruby Red Crushes will be featured. I assume they will be traditionally alcoholic, since the website does not specify that the drinks will be non-alcoholic. Not even gonna go into the donation structure of this run: in which one can donate increasing amounts of money to be designated as a 34B cup ($50) to 44DDD cup donor level ($2,5000). Cute, huh? YES I am being sarcastic!!!!! More like, disgusting and typical in the continuing awful saga of the sexualization of a deadly disease. But, whatever, dude, that is how we do at the beach.
Also, I should pause to mention here that I HATE that word—boobs, titties, and all slang for breasts—never liked them, but now that I’ve had breast cancer, I absolutely loathe these terms.
Hey, I’m a good Eastern Shore girl—I love the BBQ and the wine and it sounds like a fine time for some (not the anti-social Cancer Curmudgeon). But it irks me that these support organizations, which have many duties including educating the local population about risk and cancer, take this Pinkwashed money, so guiltlessly, and by association are saying, “hey, drink up, it’s OK”.
Am I really the only one to think this strange?
I just recently bitched about how impossibly ignorant most people are—not understanding the risks of making unhealthy choices and how those choices impact probability of cancer and other illnesses. But how can folks understand, when their fight against cancer is sanctioned by an alcohol business? Folks can FIGHT cancer, with beer in hand! (YES, being sarcastic!)
No, I don’t expect BCA or anyone, really, to take on all these localized events in which a breast cancer-causing industry throws a party for boobies; that would be ludicrous. And I suppose taking money from alcohol based businesses is no different than joining with cosmetics industries, or pharmaceutical industries that produce both cancer treating medicines and chemicals that cause cancer. And of course I use cosmetics, took the cancer treating drugs, as well as continuing to drink alcohol and yes, even eat bad chicken. So why am I bitching?
Honestly I do not know. I guess I just wonder why I see so few criticisms of this type of sketchy partnership. I know that non-profit fundraising and cancer advocacy is a murky business. Too bad this murkiness muddles the messages of education for those who truly do not understand the complexities of cancer.
*I mean breast cancer celebrations sarcastically. For those who’ve never read any other posts on this blog, here’s the deal: I think the celebration aspect of these events gets confusing. Celebrate surviving, the end of treatment, fine, whatever. But often these events seem to celebrate breast cancer as a rite of passage, and I HATE that.
**Please, are we NOT aware of breast cancer YET? Enough with awareness already, it is an empty word, no meaning anymore.