Last week, I got an email from a company that I’m sure was well intentioned. But boy, was it ill-conceived. For every pair of pink headphones sold during the month of October, it said, they would donate a portion of the proceeds to Breast Cancer research. Here was the pitch: “We here at (company) love boobies and we know you do too! Show your underlying support for all the joy “the ladies” bring the world” by buying our product. In the even more offensive video on their website, they try to be funny as they say they “really really love boobies” while staring exaggeratedly at a female employee’s breasts, but then only make things worse in the “serious” part of the video when they say they “If breasts go extinct, the world would be a very sad place.” So are they saving breasts? Are they worried about “the joy the ladies brings the world” or are they worried about the nearly 40,000 women who DIE each year from breast cancer?
Yup. 40,000 women die each year from breast cancer. It’s easy to forget that, amidst the pinkwashed cocktails, lipstick, sneakers, you name it, that come out in force during October – breast cancer awareness month. Can you think of another kind of cancer that has a slogan? Another cancer that could inspire a post called “71 Catchy Breast Cancer Slogans“? that lauds these slogans, including ones like “For Guys, every month is Breast Awareness Month,” and “Save Second Base”?
So I was happy when my friend Shari, from the food blog My Judy the Foodie, asked me to be a part of her Bake it Happen campaign against breast cancer. Shari’s mother, Judy, died of breast cancer. And Shari’s blog was started in her honor. What did I have to do? Bake Judy’s Banana Bread and share it with someone to spread awareness – and to raise money. And for every picture of Judy’s Banana bread tagged #BakeitHappen, a donation is made to breast cancer research.
When I asked my daughter to bake it with me, she said “but breast cancer’s not such a bad one, right?” Hmmm.
I know why she feels that way. My mother had breast cancer the year my twins were born — they’re 13 now, and my mother – after some pretty unpleasant surgeries – is fine. My sister had very early stage breast cancer last year, and she’s fine. My friend Karen, too. So baking this bread with my daughter gave me the opportunity to tell her that yes, mortality rates from breast cancer have been falling for a decade or more – but still, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer for women, and yes 40,000 women die of it each year. Awareness raised.
So while I have to admit that I like the Bake it Happen slogan for the campaign better than the Bananas for Boobies one that’s also being used — since the campaign raises real money, and since it gave me an opportunity to talk to my daughter about the realities of breast cancer, I’m proud and happy to be a part of it.
Here’s my little photo collage of how it went:
See that mallet? Yep. That’s how we matched the bananas. (they were a bit under-ripe) See those kids? They’re licking the “mixer lollipops” See that mess? That’s me. See that doorman? He’s one happy recipient of a Judy’s Banana Bread. Ready to do you part? It’s easy:
1. Go to the Bananas for Boobies website, get the recipe, and bake a loaf, of Judy’s banana chocolate chip loaf
2. Take a pictures of your tasty treat.
4. Share the love by sharing loaf in real life. Take a photo (and post it!) of that too
You might even win an iPad!
Every time you share a photo, a dollar is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
So forget the pinkwashing. Do something that matters. Bake with your kids. Raise real money. Save lives, not just breasts.