Maleficent’s Mastectomy Metaphor?

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The lively discussion of the film Maleficent has focused on the turn of the plot after its title character is drugged by the human she loves and stripped of her wings, her ability to fly and, he presumes, her power. Jolie told the BBC, We were very conscious, the writer and I, that [the scene in […]

Think Before You Pink: Toxic Time Is Up

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Why is the breast cancer epidemic still raging after 30 years of “awareness” and pink ribbons? Each year, corporations pack the shelves with pink-ribbon products, surrounding us with “breast cancer awareness” messages. These products help to raise billions of dollars in the name of breast cancer, yet more than 40,000 women in the U.S. still […]

Will Komen’s New Leadership Put It Back on Track?

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Last week, the Susan G. Komen Foundation named Judith Salerno to replace Nancy Brinker as president and chief executive officer of the breast cancer charity. In the highly controversial aftermath of the Planned Parenthood defunding debacle in January of 2012, Komen’s announcement comes with a sigh of relief. Although founder and former CEO Brinker will […]

Melissa Etheridge and “The Brave Choice”

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There’s been a lot of discussion of “shaming” recently on the Ms. Blog: fat-shaming, slut-shaming, young-mother shaming. Let’s add to that list cancer-shaming. Last week, singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge, in an interview with the Washington Blade, was asked how she felt—as a breast cancer survivor—about actor/director Angelina Jolie’s public announcement that she had undergone a prophylactic […]

People Over Profit: What the BRCA Ruling Means for Patients’ Rights

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Last Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented, a historic decision that guarantees that the DNA that comprises our very being cannot be owned by a corporation. The hard-fought victory had been years in the making and represented a David and Goliath fight between patients and profit. In one corner you […]

Barbara Brenner and the Road Less Pink

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I met Barbara Brenner in a book. In a collection of scholarly essays called Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic, she wrote the final substantive chapter, which was about women creating a breast cancer movement. I had just begun my own investigation of breast cancer culture, industry and advocacy. I re-read Barbara’s words many times. […]

Making it Better, Not Worse

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You need former Ms. editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin‘s new book How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick. Everyone needs this book. If you have a sick friend, if you are a sick friend, if your friend has a family member who is sick, here’s where to turn to learn how to help […]

The Breast Cancer Gene and Control of Women’s Bodies

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When it comes to women’s health, corporate interests and profits have been driving the agenda for far too long. There’s no better example than breast cancer, where companies make billions selling pink ribbon products in the name of the disease, and yet we have too little to show for this money. The commodification of breast […]

Ditch the Pink: Breast Cancer Products That Are Actually Practical

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All through October, we’ve been wagging our fingers at inane products that will pink up your life but do little to actually help those with breast cancer. For the final day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we decided to shine a light on some pampering items that are directly useful to people battling the disease. […]

Where Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Intersect: The NFL

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As breast cancer awareness campaigns have become more visible, and the color pink has become emblematic of survivors and those who support their struggle, I interpret the omnipresent October color as a way to mobilize social consciousness, action and hope. As a woman, I am incredibly grateful to see our national embrace of an initiative […]