Monday, October 15, 2012

"Pinkwashing."

I was fully enjoying my hot bubble bath when I read Lucy Danziger's editor letter in the latest edition of SELF magazine. I had the pleasure of listening to Lucy speak at the gala last week, so reading her article impacted me in a totally different way. She's cool, she's hip, and she is not afraid to tell it like it is. Yes, she inspired me.

 Celebrity chef Katie Lee,
Editor in chief of SELF, Lucy Danziger
Owner of Dylan's Candy Bar, Dylan Lauren 

This months letter begins "Be Fearless. Great things happen when you do or say the thing that others won't." I know that I probably offend people with some of the crap I write. I get it. I can be a little too pushy, I might show things you really don't want to see (Wanna see my scars?!), and I might give you the look for those tan lines you're sporting. I'm harmless. I just don't want to see you--OR YOUR CHILDREN-- sitting next to me in the chemo suite. That's all.

No one downplays the seriousness of breast cancer. We know it, we support it, and we try like hell to prevent it. This is all thanks to folks who have put a great deal of time and support into raising awareness. While I am proud of societies acceptance of the seriousness of this horrible cancer, it ticks me off when people assume that my cancer is nothing to stress. No lie, I have lost track how many people have told my family and I, "At least it's just skin cancer!"

Bottom line: I support all cancers, and I am active about supporting breast cancer due to the people I love who have been touched by it.

However, I ran into a little issue the other week that just didn't settle well with me...

I attended a breast cancer event recently in honor of our family friend who has recently started her own battle. I enjoyed the event, I was touched by the survivors there, and I will more than likely run the race again next year.



What I didn't like was the basket promoting indoor and outdoor tanning that was a raffle item.

My mom and sister both warned me not to look at the basket. I knew right then what it was.

I know that the event coordinators cannot monitor every little item that folks donate, but a basket with tanning items, including sessions at a local tanning salon, just seems inappropriate since we are all there to raise money and awareness for cancer. Yes, the event was for breast cancer. Does that make it acceptable to raffle off items that are known carcinogenics?

Oh, it just makes me crazy.

Anyway, back to Lucy's letter. Lucy touches on how supporting breast cancer is the "in" thing for companies to do these days. She writes, "Companies have recently come under fire for 'pinkwashing'--using the ribbon to burnish their image while marketing products that endanger women's health..." Haven't we seen this lately?

I have heard from people all over the country who have become infuriated with local tanning salons who are offering discounted tanning sessions in honor of breast cancer awareness month. I know I am not the only one who sees the issue with this. Let's double check our boobies all while baking our skin--our largest organs-- in the coffin shaped bed. Brilliant.

Here's one great marketing campaign. "D-Feat Breast Cancer By Tanning." 

I can't even write about this anymore.

Because I don't want another tanning bed basket to be raffled off--and even if it is, it won't be as awesome as mine--I have offered to donate a skin safety basket at the upcoming Party in Pink with Just Dance Roanoke event this coming Saturday,  This basket will include sunscreens, high priced self-tanners, my favorite bronzer, and The Skin Cancer Foundation's Journal. I'll probably toss in other last minute goodies that promote skin cancer awareness as well. I haven't thought it through yet.

I just know that I can't sit back and stay quiet.

Skin cancer is cancer, too, damn it.

10 comments:

Vicki said...

I think a skin-safety basket is an amazing idea! You are a true hero and inspiration in my eyes!

Donna Piunt said...

As a fellow melanoma warrior I support and agree with your outrage towards giving a raffle prize that promotes tanning for a event to raise cancer awareness. DUH! Thank you for voicing your opinion! Love your blog! Stay strong and keep fighting! Donna

Rose ~ from Oz said...

Oh Chelsea I think your basket will be awesome and let's hope people SEE the message. My Melanoma journey has been and does get trivialised too.
It makes me mad.
You're doing great - keep going! :)
PS: last week was just the best for you!

Lyndsay D said...

I commend you for the effort your making to make others aware of the effects of tanning and to be smart about skin care!

Lyndsay @ theallmylove.blogspot.com

Rebs said...

I had a so-called mate message me a few days ago. Part of what he said was "You have had a couple cut out ... Don't stress, get over it. You don't have cancer.... Not even close to it."

Alas there are people out there who really do believe that Melanoma is not at all dangerous :-(

Your writing style is awesome, keep up the inspiring work!

Mandi S said...

Thanks so much for this and all you do to bring awareness to melanoma. My husband is stage 3b (1 year NED as of yesterday). People do not hear about melanoma like they do breast cancer and that needs to change!
Mandi <3

Michelle said...

I'm new to your blog and tanning is something that I recently stopped. I noticed spots on my back and am going to the derm next week for it.

Martha Woods said...

I've also noticed the "pinkwashing" and it angers me. Companies seem to think that slapping a pink ribbon something makes it and them so much better.

Jenn said...

I'm a first time visitor to your blog and wanted to say I totally agree with you! It's so frustrating how breast cancer takes over. I don't believe one form of cancer is better or worse than any other. They're all devastating. Good for you!! I'm doing all I can to raise awareness. My mom just had to have a mastectomy due to metastatic melanoma. Yah....she's lucky it was just skin cancer. Some people need to be educated.

Jill said...

Hi Chelsea

I've never commented on here before but I'm a fellow skin cancer gal myself. I know it would be a little graphic, but what if you also put in the basket a mini photo album with some of the pics of your scars? That may be enough right there to get through to someone who is uneducated about skin cancer. By the way, I think your amazing :)