As pink’tober comes to an end, I am reflecting on what pink means to me as someone fighting breast cancer. It is complicated. I am not against pink, nor am I for it. It is simply a colour afterall.
Pink is important for family and friends. It is a way to show support. For some, it is the only way they know how to show support. Ribbons are worn as away to acknowledge that they too have been touched by this disease.
Pink is abused by marketers who co-opt the emotions of survivors, friends, and family members in order to make more profits. Please read Ann’s post “Let the Buyer Be(a)ware” before buying something to “support” breast cancer.
Pink is important for awareness. As much as awareness campaigns fall short, and pink is overused, it has been successful on some fronts. Breast cancer does not carry the same stigma it used to – some would say it still carries stigma – and it definitely does in some communities – but in many communities it does not. Pink has meant that my husband can openly talk about my diagnosis with his colleagues as work – they too can show their support.
Breast cancer awareness has also meant support for those living with breast cancer. There are both face-to-face and online support groups. I quickly learned that although my journey will be unique to me, I am not alone in my journey. Many other women share the same struggles with decision making, side effects, emotions … all of it. I proudly wear the pink t-shirt that I bought to support Bay Area Cancer Connections, as their programs help me stay grounded when I need it the most.
I like pink. Pink looks good on me. Even before pink had the loaded meaning of breast cancer awareness, it was a colour that I chose to wear. Now, I think twice before I put on pink clothes. I hate that – I hate that one of my favourite colours now is complicated. Fortunately, pink’tober is only one month of the year. The pink ribbon will always mean breast cancer awareness, but simply wearing pink will not. I am looking forward to pulling out my pink shirts and not having to consider whether or not I’m making a statement by wearing them. Pink is simply a colour afterall.