I want to sue Susan G. Komen.
I want to sue Playtex gloves, Campbell’s Soup, Glad wrap, and every single corporation making money on the carnage of cancer. I want compensation for the last 7 Octobers shoved down my throat with pink ribbons and “awareness.”
How dare you. My physical rubble, my scars, my rib cage, my bones remember the day my breasts betrayed my body – I still had a baby at home to hold.
How dare you paint me pink. And to place your pink interpretation of my experience on mundane housewife products? Insult, meet injury. I hear some effed-up patriarchal focus group somewhere, dudes kicking back, women wearing men’s suits trying to live with the fact that they sold out. This is what they are saying to me with every pink ribbon: “See…I even own this; you are a woman and you mean nothing more than cleaning products—and if I can, I will whore you out to make money.”
I thought we’d come a long way, baby?
Psyche, join hands with your old friend despair, as we walk through the aisles of life in October and are hammered by image after image of a pink ribbon and the plethora of pepto-bismol shaded products I am supposed to buy. Does a kitchen sponge really make a woman get a mammogram? Is the dog food manufacturer really giving money to breast cancer research? I want evidence. I deserve evidence. I want the lab report on the efficacy of the color pink to reduce incidence of breast cancer. I want evidence that demonstrates that just seeing a pink ribbon on a golf ball increases the chance a woman will do a self-examination.
My body was hijacked by a disease at 36 . Hacked up, hacked off. Nerves cut, nodes removed. Home in time to hold my baby and play with my toddler. Dead tissue, dead sexuality, dead eyes meet mine every time I look in the mirror. Each October, my “recovery” is held hostage by corporations who sell their products with pink ribbons on them. Another invasion. Another intrusion. More and more mocking and belittling by those in power. I have to fight to “survive” October.
Oh October, I am tired of surviving you, and the other traumas of invasion that make me qualified to use the word “Survivor”.
Susan G. Komen, Avon, Revlon–you take one good look at my daughter’s 7-year old face when she sees the wreckage of my body. See her naive disgust, confusion, and fear that it will be her fate as well. See her try to piece together why her mother has no breasts, no nipples, no evidence of being a woman. Look directly into her eyes when she asks if she will “get it,” and I dare you to hand her a pink ribbon.