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There's Nothing Pretty About the Pink in the New Documentary 'Pink Ribbons, Inc.'

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood June 1, 2012 at 11:28AM

Ever since I saw this movie -- which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last fall and is directed by Lea Pool-- I have been obsessed.  Now, since all the Komen crap over the last several months, this film is even more timely.  There is no need to mince words.  Cancer sucks.  Breast cancer sucks.  Talk to any woman who has had breast cancer and you will learn very quickly that this is nothing pretty or pink about it.  Yet, what the film makes you think is that there seems to be some sort of conspiracy of pink to make breast cancer a lot less horrific than it is.  When you see all the money that is put into building awareness about the disease you have to ask yourself, doesn't everyone really already know about breast cancer?  And, why is so much money being spent on raising awareness and not enough on finding out why the hell people get cancer in the first place. 
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Pink Ribbons

Ever since I saw this movie -- which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last fall and is directed by Lea Pool-- I have been obsessed.  Now, since all the Komen crap over the last several months, this film is even more timely.  There is no need to mince words.  Cancer sucks.  Breast cancer sucks.  Talk to any woman who has had breast cancer and you will learn very quickly that this is nothing pretty or pink about it.  Yet, what the film makes you think is that there seems to be some sort of conspiracy of pink to make breast cancer a lot less horrific than it is.  When you see all the money that is put into building awareness about the disease you have to ask yourself, doesn't everyone really already know about breast cancer?  And, why is so much money being spent on raising awareness and not enough on finding out why the hell people get cancer in the first place. 

I don't want to take anything away from any woman who is figuring out a way to fight and survive this horrible scourge, but don't you think that this whole happy pink cancer world has just gone too far?

The movie digs in and shows how breast cancer has been corporatized and made to look prettier than the devastating disease it is. One person in the film calls the way we deal with breast cancer the "tyranny of cheerfulness." The film shows also women fighting the disease who are in stage 4 and dying who feel that this way of dealing with breast cancer has made them and their fight invisible because everyone wants you to be focused on the happy part of cancer.  As if there is one.

Towards the end of the film it gets to the kicker -- that for all the fundraising and walks we still are not making enough forward progress in preventing and treating the disease. No for the anger part.  AstraZeneca is the company that makes Atrazine which causes cancer and has been banned in Europe.  For some reason Atrazine is still allowed to be used here in the US even though studies have shown that it causes frogs to develop different sex organs.  This shit is in your water.   The company also makes Faslodex which is a drug given to women with metastatic cancer.   So they cause the cancer and make money by giving you a drug to save you from cancer.

And Revlon, which has given millions for cancer and is the leading corporation in this movement, has carcinogens in their products. Yes ladies, your lipstick has carcinogens in it.  Bet you didn't know that. 

But what made me angriest was the realization that a woman who gets cancer today will probably have almost the same exact treatment that her mother had a generation ago.  Women are still being slashed, burned and poisoned. 

This documentary made me so angry and it was a true wake up call.  It's one of the docs where you see what's behind the wizard's curtain and quite frankly what is there is neither pretty nor pink.

The film opens in NY and LA today.  It will roll out across the country in the coming weeks.  Here is info.

This article is related to: Women Directors, Documentary


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