pink ribbons and survivor narratives

I have been trying to stay busy and not focus all day on how I am looking forward to bebe-lentille’s birth. Yesterday as I was browsing Netflix looking for a way to fill an hour or two, I came across a documentary I had been wanting to watch for a couple of years but had missed when it was shown in theatres, Pink Ribbons, Inc., by Lea Pool. It is a 2011 documentary based on a 2006 book by Samantha King, Pink Ribbons, Inc., Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy.

The film explores the industry that has grown around breast cancer awareness campaigns in the last decades, from the birth of the pink ribbon symbol to wide-scale “pinkwashing” as a marketing tool for corporations that often participate in the distribution of products linked to cancer (cosmetics, bovine growth hormone-boosted dairy product, etc.). Pool conducts in-depth interviews with researchers, activists and women dealing with breast cancer, whether they identify as patients, survivors or allies, questioning the large social consensus supporting pink-ribbon initiatives across North America and beyond.

Pink Ribbons, Inc. offers a lot to take in and reflect upon – interests of large corporations, including those that belong to the “pharmaceutical industrial complex”, lack of fundamental research and prevention, racial and class-based biases in research and treatment, etc. – but I thought one of the most interesting aspect of the movie was the discussion around the cheerful discourse that has become associated with the “fight for the cure”. Lire la suite