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Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing
Are you seeing pink? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which means pink ribbons and pink everything are showing up everywhere – NFL players sport pink accessories, there are pink cereal boxes on store shelves and pink newspapers in the mailbox. But is that pink can of soup really making a difference to eliminate breast cancer? Critics call it “pinkwashing” and say it’s time to move past the superficial awareness campaigns for what is a complicated and devastating disease. They say that visibility and fundraising alone isn’t the answer to ending breast cancer and that this sort of marketing oversimplifies the disease with detrimental effects. We’ll explore the nexus of disease, marketing, awareness and research in what some call our “feel good war on breast cancer” and learn about some of the politics and controversies over prevention and treatments.
- Dr. Marilyn Sarow: Professor of Mass Communication at Winthrop University and Co-Author of Cancer Activism: Gender, Media, and Public Policy
- Dr. Richard White: Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute
- Dr. Gayle Sulik: Medical Sociologist, founder of the Breast Cancer Consortium, and author of Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health
- Laura Nikolaides: Research & Quality Care Program Director, National Breast Cancer Coalition
The Stream, Al Jazeera, Oct. 11, 2013.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so you’ve probably noticed more pink products on the shelves as companies promote awareness campaigns. But many businesses are accused of “pinkwashing” – plastering pink on their products to make a profit, while some are reportedly using cancerous chemicals. So, why is there a lack of transparency and is the purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month getting lost in the pink? Join the conversation at 7:30pm ET. The show re-airs on 10/12 at 12:30AM EST/11:30 CST. http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/the-stream/the-latest/2013/10/11/buying-pink.html
Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception
Blog Talk Radio, Tavis Smiley Network, host, Stephanie Robinson, Jul. 25, 2013
When breast cancer strikes, are women really in charge of their healthcare decisions? Women whose bodies carry the imprint of the surgical solutions speak out on The Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson. They discuss common fears like leaving family members behind and the need for good medical information. Two experts offer facts on prevention and treatment. Dr. Gayle Sulik, an author promoting women’s health rights, pushes back against mass media she says trivializes women’s suffering. Dr. Abenaa Brewster, a practicing oncologist, takes on sexuality, proper diagnosis and treatment unhampered by celebrity patients and popular culture. With issues like Angelina Jolie, the discomfort of staring eyes when sharing surgical history and the pain of watching a family member loose a breast cancer battle – the conversation is heart-warming and informative. This show is for you: females living with the disease, friends of women on the brink of surgery and anyone interested in stories about triumph over illness.
Angelina Jolie and the ‘breast Cancer Gene’
KCRW, host, Warren Olney, Mar. 16, 2013
In 1974, First Lady Betty Ford talked openly about her mastectomy, bringing the fears of every woman out into the open. Since then, much has changed, including the discovery of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes in 1994 and 95. This week, international super-star Angelina Jolie revealed her decision to have both breasts removed — even though she did not yet have cancer – starting a new conversation about what to do if genetic testing shows a high risk for the disease. Experts say the most important lesson is that even the testing is not for everyone, let alone a double mastectomy. There’s concern that many women will demand more treatment than they need, partly because of the “pink ribbon” culture and the medical industry. We hear more about the agonizing decisions women might be faced with all on their own.
- Alice Park: Time Magazine
- Joanna Rudnick: documentary filmmaker
- Ellen Matloff: Yale Cancer Center
- Gayle Sulik: Breast Cancer Consortium
Untying Pink Ribbons
Women’s International Summit for Health, host, Tera Warner, Mar. 8, 2013
WISHsummit.com — In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Women’s International Summit for Health (WISH) kicked off on March 8, 2013. In its fourth and final year, the 2013 WISH summit features interviews and writings from leading experts on breast cancer, sex and hormones, diet and detox, love and luck, money, mystery, mothering and even the secrets of women’s self-defense. This entire series was FREE, and you can download the MP3s of interviews between Tera Warner and her guests.
Making Cancer About the Patient, Not the Body Part
CBS Pittsburgh, host, Mike Pintek, Oct. 31, 2012
PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — Are certain breast cancer campaigns making women look like sexual objects? “Save the tatas, save second base…” Do they trivialize the actual woman battling the disease? KDKA Radio’s Mike Pintek talks with Gayle Sulik, sociologist and author of “Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health.” She talks about why some awareness campaigns might portray breast cancer the wrong way, and how the focus needs to shift back to the woman. Mike then talks with Lee Hurst, founder of the Feel Your Boobies Foundation, about the best ways to raise breast cancer awareness, and how that awareness translates to improving research and finding a cure.
Dr. Gayle Sulik on the Problem of Breast Cancer and the Search for a Cure
America’s Radio News, hosts, Lori Lundin and Tim Burg, May 1, 2012
Gayle Sulik, Author of “Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health”, talks to America’s Radio News about women’s health, the problem of breast cancer and finding a cure.
Pink Ribbon Scams
Ageless Media Network, April 11, 2012
Gayle Sulik was a featured guest on Ageless Radio’s April 11 show on what to look out for when purchasing pink ribbon products or making donations. Sulik is author of “Pink Ribbon Blues,” a highly researched book that exposes the short-comings of pink ribbon marketing in advancing the cause for a breast cancer cure.
On the Corporatization of Breast Cancer and Its Detrimental Effect on Womyn’s Health
The Third Wave: Feminist Community Radio, host, Julie Lalonde, (CHUO 89.1 FM), Feb. 14, 2012
Host Julie Lalonde interviews Dr. Gayle Sulik, author of ‘Pink Ribbon Blues’. Gayle dicusses the corporatization of breast cancer and its detrimental effect on womyn’s health. She also highlights the controversies surrounding the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The Business of Raising Money for Breast Cancer Research
The World Today Weekend with Marcella Bernardo, CKNW 980 AM, Vancouver, BC, host, Marcella Bernardo, February 5, 2012
Marcella Bernardo interviews Dr. Gayle Sulik, author of “Pink Ribbon Blues” on the profit motives behind breast cancer fundraising.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Defunds Planned Parenthood
“In Deep” with Angie Coiro, Live From the Left Coast Productions, host, Angie Coiro, February 4, 2012
Angie Coiro interviews Gayle Sulik, author of “Pink Ribbon Blues” on the controversy surrounding the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s withdrawal of funding for low-income patient mammograms through Planned Parenthood. The interview goes well beyond the headlines of the controversy.
Pink Ribbons and Politics
The Kojo Nnamdi Show, NPR Affiliate WAMU 88.5, Feb. 2, 2012
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision Tuesday to defund Planned Parenthood has ignited a firestorm of debate. The Cure Foundation says new policy precludes it from funding organizations under investigation,
The Shortcomings of Breast Cancer Awareness Marketing
Ageless Media Network, Jan. 21, 2012
Gayle Sulik was a featured guest on Ageless Radio’s January 21st show. Sulik is author of “Pink Ribbon Blues,” a highly researched book that exposes the short-comings of pink ribbon marketing in advancing the cause for a breast cancer cure.
Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is There Pink Fatigue?
All Things Considered, National Public Radio, host, Rebecca Roberts, October 16, 2011
It’s October and one color dominates the landscape: pink, the color of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer fundraising events dominate the month, from the massive Avon walks that take place in nine U.S. cities to the international Susan G. Komen Races for the Cure. Even the White House gets bathed in pink floodlights in recognition of the campaign. But what if your breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t make you want to wear pink socks, walk for the cure or be a “warrior in pink?” Rebecca Roberts interviews Barbara Ehrenreich, Nancy Brinker, and Gayle Sulik on the issues.
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