Public Writing

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Porn HubDo Sexy Breast Cancer Campaigns Demean Women?

Psychology Today, November 21, 2012.

Porn site donates a penny to charity for every 30 “boob-themed videos” watched. Las Vegas restaurant promises to “Save 2nd base” and provide an open bar to guests in pink bathing suits. Campaigns like “Save the Ta-tas” and “Feel Your Boobies” use slang and provocative imagery to raise funds and visibility. Is this breast cancer awareness? Or is it sexual objectification? Sexy breast cancer awareness campaigns use a variety of objectifying techniques. See some common examples.

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Sexy Breast Cancer Campaigns Do Demean Women. So What?

Save the boobies 7

Psychology Today, December 12, 2012.

The sexual objectification of women across media and entertainment outlets has increased substantially, a trend that corresponds with the rise of the internet, excessive advertising, and the use of shock value to break through the noise. Trending perfectly, a new genre of breast cancer campaigns uses sexual objectification to get attention. It is the means to an end, but since advertising is an applied form of persuasion the ends are not likely to include active thinking. When internalized, sexual objectification has important negative implications for women.

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20121031_inq_sulik31-aBringing on the Pink

Philadelphia Inquirer, October 31, 2012.

Komen for the Cure’s pink-ribbon celebration marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But when a woman with breast cancer reads a Race for the Cure flier that says “Check out the merchandise now” or “enter for a chance to win a Gift Card from,” what is she supposed to think? In its efforts to expand the consumer base, Komen lost sight of the fact that consumers are people – people so committed to the cause they’ll turn away from its largest, wealthiest charity.

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Gayle Sulik and Rachel Cheetham Moro, 2011

Gayle Sulik and Rachel Cheetham Moro, 2011

Promises of Hope. Not Cure.

Girl w, Pen, September 27, 2012.

I too used to secretly look forward to October, when I would drape myself in pride with all manner of garish pink, survivor-emblemed merchandise and take my place in the Survivors circle whilst bopping out to “We Are Family” or whatever the cheesy designated anthem was for that year….But I’m not doing it this year or ever again.

Rachel Cheetham Moro used to write a lot about the bollocks of breast cancer on her blog, The Cancer Culture Chronicles, which she published from June 2009 until her death from metastatic breast cancer in February 2012. With snark-filled accuracy, Rachel cataloged how merchandisers blithely use the desire for cure(s) to lull well-meaning supporters into a state of consumptive bliss. Shopping for a cure never felt so good. If only “cure” were part of the transaction.

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2104826441_3556fa39d0Is Susan G. Komen Cleaning House?

Ms. Magazine Blog, August 9, 2012.

In early 2012, the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut ties with Planned Parenthood (and then the semi-reversal of that decision), sent the organization into a frenzied state of damage control. Attendance at Komen events declined, donations dropped and the organization immediately sought advice from a former White House press secretary in the George W. Bush administration and hired a consulting firm founded by former Democratic pollsters to assess Komen’s reputation.

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Komen Leadership in Flux

Oxford University Press Blog, Oxford University Press, August 9, 2012. This essay was translated into Italian by Grazia De Michele. L’Amazzone Furiosa, August 13, 2012.

On Wednesday, Komen President Liz Thompson announced her plans to leave Susan G. Komen for the Cure next month. Founder Nancy Brinker will also give up her role as Komen CEO and serve as chair of the board as soon as a replacement is found, and two board members are stepping down, Brenda Lauderback and Linda Law. The news comes exactly one week after Komen was criticized once again in a key public forum, this time by MDs who called out the organization for the exaggeration and distortion of medical information in its 2011 advertising campaigns about the benefits of screening mammography.

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Italian Translation »

Life-Changing Opportunities for Faculty and Independent Scholars: A Spotlight on the National Endowment for the Humanities

The Independent Scholar, National Coalition of Independent Scholars, 2012.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. NEH Fellowships and Summer Stipends support scholarly research at any stage of development that advances knowledge and understanding of humanities fields, humanities education and public programming, and the humanities as a whole. Award recipients often produce articles, monographs, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources. Dr. Sulik received a research fellowship from NEH in 2008 to complete the research for her book, Pink Ribbon Blues.

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imageBreast Cancer and the Environment: A Report from the Institute of Medicine

Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB!) Newsletter Vol. 14 (no. 1), 2012.

A new report from the Institue of Medicine (IOM), Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach, examines the existing literature about breast cancer risk posed by various environmental factors, highlighting actions that offer potential to reduce risk, and recommends key areas for research. The report, sponsored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, was released December 7, 2011 and the findings were presented in a plenary session at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Dr. Gayle Sulik discusses strengths and weakness of the report.

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Think-Before-You-Pink-Toolkit-Cover-231x300How-to-Take Action: Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink® Toolkit

The Source (Fall/Winter, Issue 114), 2011. Breast Cancer Action.

As breast cancer incidence rates rise, deaths from metastatic breast cancer stay where they’ve been for decades, and the majority of breast cancers come from unknown causes, it is clear that the billions raised and spent each year on breast cancer are insufficient to solve the breast cancer problem. The advocacy group Breast Cancer Action has been on the forefront of encouraging concerned citizens to ask critical questions about where the money goes, how it is raised, and what it accomplishes? BCAction’s think before you pink Toolkit gives activists more tools for action.

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020-ch-5-arimidexThe Marriage of Lobbying and Charitable Efforts

Oxford University Press Blog, Oxford University Press, October 31, 2011.

Nonprofits that provide public services need resources, financial and otherwise. When corporations that are seeking to gain political and economic favor forge ties with nonprofits, however, it may or may not be win-win. Corporations in the breast cancer industry spend billions each year to promote the cause while marketing their own revenue-producing solutions to the epidemic. By donating money to charities and gaining their favor, are corporations using their influence to encourage specific loyalties from their beneficiaries?

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