Over the Line!


I’m not sure which surprises me more…

the vile, disgusting, stomach-churning, pull-out-your hair angering “iGoPink” campaign for Breast Cancer Charities of America…

or the fact that this stuff still shocks me.


I thought we hit a new low with the 5-Hour Energy Pink Lemonade “jingle.” And in fact, we probably did. But this takes the cake…

An article by Deborah Dunham discusses the campaign, and how people are responding. I hope it reflects growing unrest. And what of Breast Cancer Charities of America? Unfortunately I don’t unpack the numbers well, but they can be found here. It seems the organization does some good work. The Help Now Fund provides for the direct financial support of breast cancer patients to offset their rent and utility expenses while undergoing treatment and in 2011 they sent nearly $9M in medications overseas to places like Central America and Africa.

But at what cost to women who don’t need the help of a nude Gretchen Christine (Real Housewives of Orange County) to feel horrible about their scarred, mutilated  breast cancer-effected bodies.

Perhaps more amazing is the fact that Breast Cancer Charities of America doesn’t seem to see the shame in what they are promoting. And I’m sure their annual “Stiletto Sprint” is a winner too!

Is it yet another good idea gone bad? A straying from mission a la Komen? In fact, it seems there is a lot of straying from mission in the breast cancer world these days. National Breast Cancer Coalition seems to still not understand that it is metastatic disease that kills, and while they continue to focus on their Deadline 2020 marketing campaign and the Artemis vaccine, they are also asking their “leadership” to cough up another $1000 for the privilege of being on the inside of their recruitment machine. And yet they fail to hear the voices of those they seek to recruit.

We rant, we rave, we educate…and it might just be from my vantage point, but it seems to be getting worse, not better. Yes, I will be painted as a reactionary, be told to “lighten up,” that I’m too easily offended. I’m ok with that. But the thing is, it has got to end. Perhaps we’re getting the message out, but at the rate change is coming… We can blog, we can boycott, but how do we get them to listen?



32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. effmets
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 01:23:57

    Call the local news media. Get on TV.


  2. ernestineartist
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 01:29:30

    Reblogged this on Easel Essays.


  3. Scorchy
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 01:53:01

    I think it is totally possible for us to misinterpret ads like this. When I had to, for instance, choose the hot guy’s chest over the regular guy’s chest for my male breast cancer meme. He was hot, but I wanted to save the man, not just the hot man. And it would be very easy to misread the intention behind that ad. HOWEVER, THIS IS PURE UNADULTERATED BULL PUCKY! This is nothing but advertising for this twisted Housewife of Orange County (I had to look her up). I think Breast Cancer Charities of America would be better placed to spend their money promoting what it is they do (well, whatever that is–I didn’t look). You go to her website and purchase cosmetics and items from her “Pink Collection.” But there is absolutely no mention anywhere I could find about what buying that pink collection means. She writes on her site: “[the naked pose] was to help bring awareness to a very important cause The BCCA (Breast Cancer Charities of America). Hey it got your attention didn’t it?” Bring awareness, marginally. And all of those products she’s selling? Looks like she’s just selling stuff that is pink. I don’t see anything about donations/proceeds going to BCCA. Effing shameless. Eff them!


    • Lori
      Jan 08, 2013 @ 10:41:13

      Well, hard to add to that!! I agree completely…it is shameless. As much on her part as on the part of BCCA. What on earth are THEY thinking??? I’ve slept on it…I’m still feeling sick!


  4. The Savvy Sister
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 04:26:41

    You write: We can blog, we can boycott, but how do we get them to listen?
    I say: Maybe we all get naked and march to the NBCC headquarters…..I don’t care if people see my tits…they’re not mine.


  5. DrAttai
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 07:01:33

    It’s incredible how low advertisers will go, and also incredible how someone can think that this sort of promotion will do anything except increase the conversation about HER. Not about women with breast cancer. Yes, it got my attention, but unfortunately it also made me nauseous. I can’t believe that the woman in the ad or Breast Cancer Charities of America really thinks that this will help women who are diagnosed with and need treatment for breast cancer. Shame on all of them.


    • Lori
      Jan 08, 2013 @ 10:42:58

      As I’m sitting here, I’m actually starting to get nervous. There is a huge lump in the pit of my stomach and I am literally nauseous – because despite what I want to believe, despite all that we do, SOMEONE IS GOING TO THINK OF WORSE. UGH!


  6. NotDownOrOut
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 07:16:02

    I hope I will not cause offense with this posting because I mean none. I don’t think the Housewife is the problem. I think the “celebrities” get requests for support from all kinds of charities and they try to pick a charity that will fit with their career or life objectives. Posing for an ad that appears to support people suffering from breast cancer seems like a socially responsible thing to do. The “celebrity” most likely has a publicist who knows just as much (or little) about the cause. If you think about it–promotion of “reality” TV stars 101 probably does not include a class in responsible support for charitable activities.
    I have a couple of suggestions for helping to improve the situation.
    1. Most states have assigned to their state attorney general the responsibility for registering charities and persons who solicit contributions on behalf of charities. Write to your state’s attorney general to express outrage that ads for “pink” products masquerade as charitable solicitations. Demand that the attorney general or the equivalent in your state investigate and prosecute anyone pretending to solicit a “contribution” when none is made. Ask why those who advertise “pink” are not required to report to the state’s attorney how much of a sale’s proceeds are contributed to a bona fide charity. If your state’s laws don’t prohibit this, then it should have one. In a time when government’s don’t have revenues, this is a legislative change that adoesn’t cost money. In fact, it ought to appeal to governments because false charities deprive the state of tax revenues. Your state’s attorney general is an elected official. Such people look for causes that reduce the suffering of their citizens. Enlist their support.
    2. The movement you want to see toward funding for research and development of new approaches to “mets” does not appear to exist yet because the groups that seem involved appear to be letting the cause down. Instead of joining forces with existing breast cancer research charities that purport to support you and then let you down, you need a charity just for “mets” so that your cause is different from any other. You have your own gritty and determined battle to take up every morning that we go on without a cure. So how about someone’s daughter or sister or aunt or mom (or son or brother or uncle or dad–I know the disease is not confined to a gender) taking up this cause just for people with mets? I am a niece of someone with mets. I think I’m not the best sponsor as I’m recovering from uterine cancer treatment myself, but it would help to have a youthful sponsor because this is a mission and the cause needs someone who will make a commitment that’s going to have to last longer than a couple of years if you want to raise enough awareness and money for research. I don’t know enough about mets yet to suggest someone. Do you know of a family struck by this disease that has the social/political/media “chops” to commit and serve?
    3. Isn’t there a beauty queen who just won her state award and has been diagnosed with breast cancer? I think I saw on TV that under pageant rules if she loses her hair prior to the national competition then she will not be allowed to wear a wig? Could she be invited to support the mission? Beauty and the Beast. Real beauty isn’t superficial. It is fortitude. When the beast is bone deep, it is going to take fortitude to root it out. Who hasn’t sat in a infusion clinic alongside a woman whose battle with cancer has deprived her of hair, reduced her in size and bleached her until all you can see is the startling beauty of what makes the fight worth pursuing–grace and fortitude locked in battle? Humanity battling for a cure? No high fives until there is a cure. No bows (double entendre intended).
    4. The effort needs a human “face” in the media. It needs an image that isn’t a ribbon, which connotes running races for a cure these days. How about an ad campaign in which women who suffer with mets stand with a pile of rink ribbons around their ankles? The message could be “METS–you can’t tie a pink ribbon around it,” “METS–No one wins a race they don’t start running,” “METS–No awards until we can see a finish line,” or “METS–Run research trials, not races.” I’m not in PR so I’m sure someone from that field can imagine it better than I.
    As I said at the start, I hope you don’t take offense of anything I said is ignorant of efforts made or underway or discarded. I’m new to learning about the situation and looking for education if I’m wrong.
    5. Have you been to change.org to sign a letter? How about posting some letters to “celebrities,” companies and charities that perpetuate the myth that they’re winning the battle that demand they tell the truth–about what they’re doing when they pose “pink”?
    What are some of your ideas for getting out the word? I see here excellent ideas for what to do with the money being raised. Can we raise more money just for METS?


    • Lori
      Jan 08, 2013 @ 10:58:48

      My blog – I get to decide if content is offensive. YOURS IS NOT! Your is thought-provoking and constructive, and it’s going to take me some time to digest it all!! THANK YOU for jumping in. In response, I’m going to take a shot at this, though thanks to a nagging head cold it may not be coherent…

      I agree…the Housewife, though not someone I can respect, she is also not someone I care about. It’s the ORGANIZATION behind her, endorsing her, taking MONEY from her, and PROMOTING HER!

      1. You are correct – we need legislation. I actually did initiate a conversation with a state representative once upon a time, but let it drop off. California is pretty good about legislating stuff, and I seem to recall NY has started this. I will certainly pursue it with the AG!

      2. There ARE “mets only” orgs out there. The one nearest my heart is METAVivor (http://www.metavivor.org), which gives 100% of their contributions directly and exclusively to metastatic breast cancer research. And the challenge is that mets reserach, like mets patients, doesn’t sell. We aren’t the happy ending Hollywood wants; we aren’t pink ribbons and parties. There HAS been talk of a spokesperson – but the problem is, once you’re diagnosed with mets it is really hard to find time to champion a cause…which is not to say this isn’t the route to go, only that it’s an uphill battle.

      3. “Beauty and the Beast”???? — OMG LOVE IT, LOVE IT…it is DEAD ON! I will research the pageant winner you mention, but then what to do with it? CJ, if you read this, expect a call from me!!

      4. You ARE into PR – all great ideas. Beginning to wonder about how one solicits that aid of AdCouncil – and whether they can take on a cause directly. More thinking….

      5. I have a Komen petition on change.org – was off to a great start, when my ADD/chemo-riddled brain dropped that ball in favor of the last 100 things I did. Must think about where and to whom a petition would be addressed.

      OMG – SO MANY GREAT IDEAS. Thank you again and again!!!


  7. Cancer Curmudgeon
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 16:55:41

    Hey regrounding! I’ve nominated you for the Reality Blog Award…it has no rules from what I can gather, I simply nominated 5 more blogs as did the one who nominated me (see my blog post http://anotheronewiththecancer.wordpress.com/). Don’t worry if you cannot accept…no pressure, just know I still keep up with your blogs even if when I am not actively posting (life interferes). Take care and keep up the blogging!


  8. Cancer Curmudgeon
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 16:56:02

    Reblogged this on anotheronewiththecancer.


  9. Acacia
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 19:08:43

    Holy crap. I am continually flummoxed by how insensitive and frankly offensive these adverts are. I think that NotDownOrOut is right, we need to focus on the groups that are actually on our side and care that we’re dying. Maybe it’s time to launch a counter campaign to these superficial craven marketing schemes. Komen isn’t on our side, the businesses donating a pittance (or nothing) of their pink promotions aren’t on our side.

    We need to change the conversation.


    • NotDownOrOut
      Jan 08, 2013 @ 19:26:42

      The Komen organization took a big hit on the Planned Parenthood budget matter. Maybe this is the time to make a pitch for support of a different approach to research.


      • Lori
        Jan 08, 2013 @ 20:20:39

        I’m in a “take no prisoners” kind of mood! Going to talk to some mets-focused people and see what we can make happen. I’m also going to work on a fact sheet and press release about mets.

        It’s an idea whose time has come!

    • Lori
      Jan 09, 2013 @ 16:23:33

      YES WE DO!!!

      The more deeply involved I become in the breast cancer community, the more narrow I see my choices. Sad but true. Right now I’m focusing my efforts on Breast Cancer Action – the first to call companies out on Pinkwashing, and METAVivor – where 100% of their donations go directly to research on MBC.

      And of course, I’ll keep ranting!


  10. Lori
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 20:26:42

    Last night, after posting this article I sent BCCA an email urging them to disassociate with these ads. I’ve heard nothing. Just thought I’d share….


  11. chemobrainfog
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 20:41:57

    You are officially on this team. Beauty and the Beast is PURE GENIUS. As are the rest of your observations….

    My mind is going……


  12. Cancer in My Thirties
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 21:39:03

    Wow!!! Thank you for bringing this to light… I don’t think you are overreacting at all.
    I wrote a post a couple of months ago because I was dismayed by pinktober and all of the pinkwashing — http://cancerinmythirties.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/national-no-bra-day-and-breast-cancer-awareness-month-or-please-put-that-pink-can-of-soup-down-put-your-bra-back-on/ — … but this ad really crosses the line moreso than anything I mentioned. I can see why you find it offensive — I certainly do!

    Good for you for taking a stand! Thank you for being a voice for all of us…


  13. NotDownOrOut
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 09:05:14

    Reblogged this on Not Down Or Out and commented:
    As my readers know, I have family (Aunt Arlene) and friends (Joyce) who are dealing with breast cancer. I also have numerous online friends whose blogs I read who are dealing with breast cancer every day. And I’ve lost people who I care about this year due to breast cancer. You may not know that many of the “pink ribbon” activities you see in the media do little for finding a cure and that, even when they are committed to curing breast cancer, they largely or entirely ignore the plight of women with metastatic breast cancer. Those are the women who die of breast cancer after long and painful battles to extend their lives. We have no cures for them and few in the “works.” So it makes them and should make the rest of us mad when people pretend they are raising money for the cause and when they pretend a cure is in sight. Read Lori’s blog to learn what you can do to help! And please help. Send a link to a friend and ask him or her to read, too. Folks, anything worth doing is worth getting the “village” involved.


  14. Nancy's Point (@NancysPoint)
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 15:09:02

    Hi Lori, This is quite a timely piece for me to read today. I’m taking part in a radio discussion tomorrow on feminism/sexism and breast cancer awareness campaigns. I hope I can remember to say something meaningful! Keep writing about this stuff. It matters. In my mind, writing is action too. People are starting to listen, just not enough – yet!


    • Lori
      Jan 09, 2013 @ 16:21:33

      And timing is everything! This one really just set me off.

      Yes, blogging is ONE vehicle to get the word out, but I’m running out of patience and time.

      Good luck with your interview!! Will it be online???


  15. Denise McCroskey
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 06:22:34

    As a breast cancer survivor who endured a Mastectomy, I found this ad utterly offensive as I, and all breast cancer patients and survivors, are being used. Thanks for bringing this to light.


    • Lori
      Jan 10, 2013 @ 14:08:51

      I couldn’t agree more! Shameful that anyone would do this, more so that a breast cancer “charity” would associate with it!


  16. Shari
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 17:40:08

    Hi Lori,

    When I was exposed to this kind of ad (not quite to this extent) in October, I was in the midst of my radiation treatment. Since sometimes a picture tells more, I blogged with what I looked like.


    I share this not to promote my blog, but because I don’t mind people seeing what breast cancer really looks like on me. Thanks for getting the word out there, and thanks to NotDownorOut above for some great ideas on how to move forward.



    • Lori
      Jan 10, 2013 @ 17:53:26

      Hi Shari,

      It is great to “meet” you!! I am so glad you found mt blog and that you shared yours. AWESOME POST…honest, brave. I can’t wait to read more from you!

      Folks…check it out, she’s one of us!!


  17. Trackback: Weekly Round-Up « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer
  18. eileen@womaninthehat.com
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 17:20:03

    You’re not alone in your thoughts. That poster is so inappropriate that I can’t even find words …. They’ll keep it up, though, because apparently it brings in dollars. First and foremost, they are fundraising, they are making money, they are lining pockets, under the guise of supporting women with a brutal disease. I’m saying that some of that money doesn’t go toward the actual cause but … You know.


  19. Anonymous
    Jan 15, 2013 @ 08:06:48

    funny how advertising for pink products never shows a woman or man hooked up recieving chemo or without their hair, fatiqued, or breastless…what would be so horrifying to bring the truth to these adds, that it is not about pink products and feeling good about a purchase, how about it about lives, fragile lives, strong women, tired women, women fighting to live and thrive or at least to have funds to pay their bills while living with METS….this pink shit is out of control


  20. The Accidental Amazon
    Jan 16, 2013 @ 18:54:47

    Lori, you know how I feel about this. I’ve lost count of how many blog posts and snarky graffitti re-do’s I’ve done of crap like this. Maybe this one needs the Amazon Poison Photoshop touch… 2012 hit a new low, I think, with Boobstagrams and the pink PornHub bus. Oy.


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