It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s time for my annual rant against the Susan G. Komen Foundation. You literally can’t be unaware of them, because their marketing machine is so unrelenting it would make Steve Jobs blush. And it’s all in the name of “awareness”. As if anyone has ever watched an athlete swing a pink bat and said “Gosh, what’s that for? It’s because of WHAT? Cancer, you say? What’s that? Oh….oh, wow, and it can happen in breasts, too? THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.”
No. It’s never happened, and never will. The only awareness that’s happening there is brand awareness, albeit under an altruistic guise. It’s a way for people to pat themselves on the back for purchasing Official Cancer© Brand Merchandise. (And that’s not even a comedic exaggeration because the Komen Foundation will sue any other charity that uses a pink ribbon or the phrase “for the cure” or anything close to it.) Meanwhile, the foundation receives tens of millions of dollars a year, of which 21% goes to cancer research. The rest funnels back into more pointless marketing, more corporate sponsorships which benefit said corporations more than anyone else, and the foundation heads.
Yes, I know 21% is still a lot better than 0%, but here’s a radical idea: if you want to give money to cancer research, give money to cancer research. As in most things the middle man has no compelling reason to be there. Spend 10 minutes and half a brain cell researching charities and where your money will be going. Don’t trust a snappy ad campaign to do your work for you. It’s really not difficult, people. And it will mean a whole hell of a lot more than slapping another goddamn pink ribbon on another worthless goddamn trinket.
(Addendum: I lost a pretty awesome aunt to breast cancer. I rant because I care.)