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The Year of ‘Pink Fatigue, ‘Depinkification,’ and ‘Pinkwashing’

Common Health (99.9 wbur, Boston’s NPR News Station) by Carey Goldberg, November 1, 2010

October is over. Phew. Not that the month itself is bad — I’d vote it the best in New England. It’s the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month thing. Consider this month’s O magazine: its glossy pages include a two-page breast-cancer spread for dressbarn and full page pink-ribboned ads by Ralph Lauren, Vera Bradley, Hanes, kmart and Ford’s “warriors in pink.” Kind of…much. Then there was the whole KFC pink bucket thing, and the NFL halftime pink ribbon…

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Under-reported Stories on Breast Cancer Awareness

Shine on Yahoo.com, by Theta Pavis, November 2, 2010

Have you ever heard of Project Censored? The group does a terrific job of writing about under reported stories. They are a favorite among investigative journalists and other media savvy people. Well, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (or Breast Health Month, depending on who you ask) and two things crossed my desk this week that could fall under the category of “Under reported Breast Cancer Stories.”

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Pink Ribbons, Pink Fatigue, and Breast Cancer Awareness: What Does Pink Mean?

About.com by Pam Stephan, October 30, 2010

Pink ribbons are worn in many ways to promote breast cancer awareness. Every October, you’ll see pink ribbons on everything from gym equipment and jewelry to pillows and potato chips. You may even get a case of Pink Fatigue! Even though pink ribbons are meant to celebrate breast cancer survivors and raise awareness and funds to find the cure, many people dread the annual arrival of Pink Ribbon October. Let’s cut through all this Pink Ribbonalia and see what’s behind it.

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Is the Pink Ribbon A Bad Idea? Maybe

Rodale.com Interviewed by Emily Main / October 29, 2010.

It feels good to support breast cancer survivors, but those pink ribbons could be distracting supporters—and researchers—from the disease’s most urgent issues. Emily Main Interviews Dr. Gayle Sulik about the costs and benefits of the pink ribbon campaign.

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Pink Sink: A New Book Takes Down Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Slate by Katherine Russell Rich, October 29, 2010, [Referenced by The Indiana Law Blog (Nov. 21, 2010)]

Every year, when Pink October, aka Breast Cancer Awareness Month, rolls around, dozens of women with breast cancer begin posting online to express one single sentiment: Make it stop. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has become a distracting sideshow, a situation that sociologist Gayle A. Sulik explores in compelling depth in her new book, Pink Ribbon Blues.

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‘Think Pink’ Campaign Takes Away From Fight Against Breast Cancer

Tennesseen.com by Sylvia Cappellino, October 28, 2010

A recent article in The New York Times called “Pink Ribbon Fatigue” by Barron H. Lerner, M.D., Oct. 11, reinforced my thinking regarding the pink October month of Breast Cancer Awareness. The article was written in conjunction with a new book being released called Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health by Gayle A. Sulik, a medical sociologist.

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Merchandise Tie-ins to Breast Cancer Awareness Have Some Seeing Red Over All That Pink

The Dallas Morning News by Kim Horner, October 28, 2010

The pink rubber duckies may be cute. But can they really help cure breast cancer? What about the pink buckets of fried chicken? Or one of the most controversial breast cancer awareness products, a Smith & Wesson handgun with pink grips and an engraved pink ribbon? “Where does it end?” said Gayle Sulik of Denton, author of Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health. During “Pinktober,” as some call October’s breast cancer awareness month, everything from dental picks to NFL players’ cleats turns pink. Sulik’s new book is part of a growing backlash against a movement that critics say has become more focused on making money than finding a cure.

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Cure for Cancer Stalls, But Pink Puts Companies in the Black

 AOL’s WalletPop by Gergana Koleva,October 27, 2010

The idea of associating pink with the battle against breast cancer has unquestionably worked as a marketing tool. But how do you sort legitimate support for the cause from shameless product marketing when both use the same symbol?

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Breast Cancer Tales: The Inspirational Vs. The Actual

The New York Times by Abigail Zuger MD, October 25, 2010. [Picked up by Tuscaloosanews.com (posted Oct. 26, 2010), Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for BioethicsHerald-Tribune (posted Oct. 26, 2010), and Monografias.com (Oct. 27, 2010.]

Before penicillin came along, syphilis was known in medical circles as “the great mimicker,” a stealthy disease able to mangle the human body in virtually all known ways. “Know syphilis and you know medicine,” professors would tell their students. Exactly the same thing might be said of breast cancer these days — but not in the same circles. Rather, it is the social scientists who get to contemplate the full panorama of human reaction to disease by studying the fallout from a single one: all the shades of anguish and anger, the posturing, the politics and the cartloads of wishful thinking, all wrapped up in a big pink ribbon.

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Does the Pink of Breast Cancer Awareness Month Make Women With Cancer Feel Worse?

Ezine Articles, by Dave Pipitone, October 25, 2010

October is the traditional month for Breast Cancer Awareness. You’ll see pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, pink clothing of all types worn by both women and men. In fact, this year of 2010, the professional football teams of the National Football League have included pink in their football uniforms. Burly lineman and linebackers put pink cleats on their football shoes; quarterbacks and receivers wear pink wristbands and carry pink towels as part of their gear. Why pink? How did the pink ribbon movement start? And most importantly, does it really help women who already have breast cancer? Or make them feel worse?

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