A tongue in cheek guest post here from Ronnie, a born satirist. The thinking being that satire might be able to get to the heart of a serious matter, in a way that more straightforward social critiques sometimes don’t.
“First, a word of explanation may be necessary for our readers not based in the United States. ‘Komen’ in this post is ‘Susan G. Komen for the Cure’ - the most widely known, largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the United States, but one that has been criticized for its use of donor funds, as well as its choice of sponsor affiliations and its role in commercial cause marketing. In early 2012 Komen took a controversial decision to cut its funding of Planned Parenthood, a decision widely seen as politically biased and revealing Komen’s close association with the Republican Party. The decision was reversed within a few days, but the damage to Komen’s reputation is considered by many to be serious, permanent and possibly final.
Over here in Liverpool, I’d heard of Komen, of course. But my interest was particularly piqued when a British newspaper, The Guardian, started reporting in detail on the Planned Parenthood issue, quoting our friend Gayle Sulik, talking about pink culture organisations in general, and Komen and its recent difficulties in particular:
‘Komen is the largest and is held up as the gold standard. But it is just part of it,’ she said. ‘There’s the conflict of interest, with regard to the companies associated with pharma and diagnostic tools, who stand to benefit from treatment. Then ‘pinkwash’, where products might be carcinogenic, to unhealthy products like M&Ms. I’ve even heard of Pub Crawls for the Cure. It’s part of the general culture.’Gayle Sulik, sociologist and author of ‘Pink Ribbon Blues’, said pinkwashing is only the beginning of how ‘breast cancer culture’ undermines women’s health. Sulik, a researcher at the University at Albany Department of Women’s Studies said that the culture has caused a split in advocacy groups between those focussed on awareness and education, like Komen, and others.
‘Komen is under investigation by the public. So far I don’t see the public being very forgiving. There is so much product placement, so many huge events,’ said Sulik. ‘It will be interesting to see what happens next.’
So then, on with our tale. Let’s see what might have happened next… Continue reading