WP 7 Mainstream Breast Cancer Culture – Gabby Wahla

Ley’s idea that the focus should be shifted from curing cancer to finding the cause and preventing it definitely made sense to me. In the video commentary with Lea Pool “Pink Ribbon Inc.,” they talked about how only three to five percent of Breast Cancer funds go to prevention. Why would we only spend three percent on something that could change someone’s life? Money. I knew nothing about this going into this week and leaving it, I am actually not that shocked. It seems very typical of the United States’ business transaction-like healthcare system to not fund prevention to make more money out of cancer. If they give less funding to prevention, more people get the cancer, then seek the treatments that are very expensive. When they perform chemotherapy on someone, they are using a great deal of chemicals, which the patients have to pay for. The research that is funded is chemical research that helps them see what chemicals can kill the cancer, rather than what chemicals produce the cancer.

I think what really freaked me out was the little informative cartoon about women as customers of products. Women use usually 12 products a day, whereas men usually use six. Many personal care products contain chemicals that are very under researched, so many contain cancer-causing ingredients. A major thing that subtly showed the patriarchy and its involvement in it is the beauty standards placed on women. In the cartoon, it showed a rich man stocking the shelves of the makeup isle that the woman was purchasing makeup and person care products from. What they are alluding to is that the patriarchy is enforcing the harsh beauty standards on women, so they fore them to buy these products that have chemicals that can give them cancer, and then when they get cancer they must pay for all the chemicals used. It is a cycle that needs to stop!

Another weird thing they discussed was the fact that no one has trademarked the Breast Cancer pink ribbon. Companies can put it on their products and say that they are donating to breast cancer research, but there is no one place to send proceeds. There is no real formation of how it is set up, and companies can lie all they want about donating because there is no one to monitor it. For example, the March of Dimes is an actual trademarked and copyrighted foundation and if its logo is used, there must be a portion of proceeds going directly to it. There is no specific code like that for Breast Cancer research! Also, all the research that actually is being done is not diverse at all, in which they are primarily studying white middle class women, who are also the targets for the products sold with the pink ribbon.

Overall, this section really made me emotional due to my family ties with Breast Cancer. To find out that the United States’ medical system is not doing all they can to prevent the women (and some men) that I love from getting this horrible disease is infuriating. It makes me want to alert everyone I know to stop using all the products we thought were ok, and start trying to get researchers to find safe products that do not cause myself or my loved ones one of the worst diseases later down the line.

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