Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October BJP Page--Not Quite Pink

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and suddenly the whole world has turned pink. Ok, ok, ok, that's an overstatement. It wasn't suddenly. It has been building up for a while.

Several weeks ago there was an advertisement in our local newspaper for readers to (pay to) honor and remember those have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This weekend the newspaper insert from one of the big box office supply chains featured pink merchandise. There was another insert with lots of product coupons giving discounts for buying pink--soup, toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo, yogurt, and so on. The morning news shows all featured stories abut Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And when I went to the grocery store this morning, there was a "Think Pink" sign next to the green beans suggesting that I buy more vegetables and fruits.

I'm a survivor. But to be perfectly honest (and at the risk of coming off as a crotchety old biddy), I have mixed feelings about the entire event. Oh, sure, I understand the need to raise awareness and to remove the stigma of any kind of cancer. Times have changed since Betty Ford went public with her breast cancer. Education, screening, and treatment--even prevention-- have saved many lives. And we need to continue to find more ways to save more women (and men).

But as a survivor, I sometimes find the relentless pinkness of October just a little too much, especially when it coincides with various scary medical check-ups. I admit it, I'm a wuss. During my first couple of years as a survivor, I felt blindsided by the media's emphasis on the pink month. I was concentrating on getting my strength and my hair back, and there it was. It was a little like Jaws 2, "Just when you thought it was safe..." there would be another breast cancer story. Several survivor friends were also disconcerted, bothered, unsettled. I was surprised and relieved to find I was not the only one who felt that way. It's easier now because I know what to expect in October, and I know I am not so weird after all (at least in that way). I also wonder why we need a soup coupon to make a contribution to charity. What if I bought a less expensive kind of soup and contributed the difference? What if I donated a dollar for every pink story or advertisement?

I thought I "ought" to do a pink page for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ought, schmought! I don't want to do it. It just would not be relaxing. So I decided to make mine not quite pink. Here are the beads I will use:

They're a pinkish peach and salmon, an all together prettier color.

I would be interested to hear what other survivors feel about the pink month.

And has anyone participated in the Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer, the Bead it Forward quilt part?

Final note to others: Get your mamogram!
Final note to self: Embrace your inner wuss!


The bad Liz said...

I don't see an issue with using other colours that are not quite pink - they are close enough and coordinate well. Go for it.

Congrat's on being a survivor. Since my mom had breast cancer in the 70's, I do my exam and my next smashing is due in February/March.

abeadlady said...

I do understand what you mean by "relentless pink". I like your alternative solutions, but unfortunately there are those in this world who would forget if not reminded in this way.
I like making my beading count for something. I have participated in Pink Artists, Beading for a Cure (colorectal cancer), and am currently working on squares for Jeanette Shannigan's Bead Quilt. So many in the beading community contribute in this way. Yea for us!
Love your colors. That scheme is one of my favorites.


a2susan said...

I think your colors are lovely, gentle, and soft. Since you are the survivor, I think you should be able to choose any color you want!

sam said...

I'm not a survivor but one of my best friends is beginning radiation after months of chemo and a double mastectomy. I think your choice of not-quite-pink would just about sum up Robin's feelings of the craziness that surrounds breast cancer awareness month and the color pink. For her it was something she had to deal with, not something to celebrate with a color as cheery as pink.

I look forward to seeing your project for this month.

Jane said...

I'm a survivor, going on 17 years, so October wasn't so pink when I started; I was happy to see that awareness was growing over the years. But you are right, everyone seems to be jumping on the band-wagon, when there are so many other causes that could be emphasized as well.

I love your colors, they look awfully close to pink to me!

Congratulations, and I hope you continue to gain strenth and peace in your life.


Carol said...

Well, I'm not a survivor, but I had a bad scare and I'm a wuss too! My maternal mother died of breast cancer because she didn't take care of it and it went to her lungs. I think the pink month is great. But I read an article where the brands that sell pink only contribute a very smidgen to the cause while using it as a marketing tool. Bad Karma. I buy the house brand or I couldn't afford to make a more substantial donation to this or any other cause. You make your project whatever color you want! Be different and make it your favorite color. The point is to enjoy what you are doing and if you are sick to death of pink, well go salmon/coral or whatever your lil heart desires. You Go Girl! And I love your work.

pam T said...

It seems that certain colors, like PINK have become somewhat of an opportunity for commercialism... it's nice to commemorate and nice as a reminder, but for heaven's sakes, quit bombarding us! I think you should bead in whatever color you feel like and taking a stand against PINK is OKAY too!

Tracey N. said...

I like the color choices you have made. Very pretty and close enough to true pink for you to use. There is a variation in the actual pink used for commercial use anyway. I say Go ahead and use these beautiful colors! Dont you love the Bead Bin? I saw their label on some of your beads! Good luck and I cant wait to see what you come up with. Tracey

Marty S said...

Tracey N,
I do love the Bead Bin. I'm from Michigan, but we're in Madison this weekend visiting our daughter. The trip to the Bead Bin is scheduled for today.
Marty S

GraceBeading said...

Hi Tracey,

I'm not a big fan of pink (childhood trauma of a pink room for way too many years), I say that and yet find that every time I bead with pink I really enjoy it!

I am a bit overwhelmed by the color and October usually makes me more aware of how much I don't care for the color pink. But it sure does stand out in markets and advertisements, so in that way I think it's good in how it makes folks aware.

That said - if I have the time and inclination, I can't resist beading and donating for a good cause. 2009 will be the third year I have participated in the Bead it Forward quilt and really enjoy that. Like Arline, I have participated in the Beading For A Cure project that benefits Colorectal research. And this year I'm particularly fond of the Pink Artist project because even though it's a breast cancer research fundraiser, the coordinator encouraged the participants to use whatever color they liked for their squares. It is an amazing project and if you haven't seen it, please do check it out when you get a chance

nologic said...

I love the colors you have chosen. It is your journal page so any color you chose is the right one.

I sometimes feel that pink has been morphed into advertising hype by the big companies and profits all wrapped up in a feel good pink bow. Yes, much good has come because of the huge support, but I really appreciate your words. I don't want to forget that there are people behind all the pink.

beadbabe49 said...

Great post! I'm also a "survivor" and I'm not real thrilled about "that" label either! But I'm also not into wasting a ton of energy trying to stop a juggernaut like the whole breast cancer awareness movement.
Yeah, I have contributed to various breast cancer charities and enjoyed it but I'm not going to *buy* into the whole consumer support scam.

Pursuing Art... said...

Hi Marty,

I am late in swinging by and catching up with everyone's pages! But today is the day! ;-)

Your September page is just lovely! I love the colors you chose and it turned out just great!

I think the colors you chose for your October page are beautiful! I think you should go with whatever makes you happy! I am looking forward to seeing your piece.

I, too, have beaded for Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer. 2009 will be my third year! Jeanette started a wonderful project to raise money for Susan G. Komen in memory of her mom! I have felt honored to contribute to such a worthy cause!

~Lisa ;-)

freebird said...

What I really hate is going through the check out at the supermarket and being asked if I'll contribute. It seems they always have a cause. I tell them we give to charities of our own but they make you feel like a scrooge. It's a good thing to raise awareness and money for research. Just wish it were more like the artists getting together for a fundraiser who do there own thing rather than corporate marketing.

What is the color of wholeness and health to you? That's the color you should be beading. Pink is the commercial color. What is yours?

Robin said...

I'm so glad you posted a link the this post from last year, Marty! (Don't know how I missed it.) It's the commercialism of PINK in October that bugs me. But, like you, I am for cancer awareness and research. I'm glad you found a way to deal with PINK!

Robin A.