In support of pink

Story by Katie Hoffman

It’s pretty safe to say I will probably have breast cancer at some point in my life.

According to the most recent data from the National Cancer Institute, one in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. My chances are increased from that due to my family history. My dad’s mom and sister both battled breast cancer before it unfairly took their lives.

My aunt is unfailingly the most courageous and spirited woman I will ever know. She spent 15 years of her life fighting and living with breast cancer. When I was little, I never understood her illness, but I think that’s how she wanted it to be. She never let cancer affect her daily life. After going into remission three separate times, the cancer always seemed to find its way back into her body. My aunt died of breast cancer in 2007. I’m angry that this disease stole my aunt from our family, and more than anything I hope to see a cure during my lifetime.

It is because of this that when October — breast cancer awareness month — rolls around, I am the first person to start buying products featuring that pink ribbon, telling me the makers of that certain product will donate to a breast cancer research fund. I choose to support any cause aiming to prevent another breast cancer death.

In an editorial written in The Spectator on Oct. 20, Anna Soldner highlights reasons why she chooses not to support the breast cancer awareness movement. Yes, the breast cancer awareness ribbon is pink. Does that really matter? I highly doubt that anyone — regardless of race, class or gender — fighting breast cancer gives a second thought to the color of a ribbon when they are in the hospital hooked up to various machines injecting chemicals into their body in order to survive.

My aunt was not a feminine woman. She was a lesbian, vegetarian and librarian. I don’t know if I ever heard her say she loved the color pink, but I can assure you that she was thankful that ribbon existed, because the general public associated that with the disease taking her life slowly but surely, and donated their hard-earned money to support the people behind that ribbon.

To say that the breast cancer awareness movement objectifies women is a stretch. To raise money for a good cause through products people are going to buy regardless makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t companies hop on that bandwagon?

Take, for example, Yoplait yogurt. In October they switch from their generic silver foil lids to shiny pink lids, asking consumers of their product to slip them in an envelope and send them in.

It’s that simple to support breast cancer research. In my opinion, it takes way more effort to go out of your way to not buy Yoplait during October because you think its simply a marketing ploy. So what? They’re going to make money the other 11 months of the year, so props to Yoplait for at the very least raising awareness about breast cancer in a grocery store. If these companies are willing and ready to donate money for simply buying their products, I’m at a loss as to why anyone would stray from doing just that.



Katie Hoffman is a senior print journalism major and Copy
Editor at The Spectator.