We’re not half way into September yet and already social media is filling with images of people with silly pink outfits and accessories grinning inanely and reducing to a joke a disease that still kills far too many women and men.
The argument is that this somehow raises awareness. However, in reality the people who see these images are already well aware. Those in the hard to reach groups, where awareness is still needed, are rather unlikely to see them or to relate them to cancer awareness.
I’m sure that it does support opportunistic fundraising. But at what cost? If we trivialize what is a serious disease we do ourselves and the public at large no favours in the long run. The message becomes lost in the process. Some would argue that the end (fundraising) justifies the means, but that is not a position with which I am comfortable. I have no argument with the calmer statements; the fountain that runs pink during October with signage explaining why, a coffee morning/evening/fundraising event with information. It is the semi-hysterical pinked shrieking that I find so offensive.
You can still have fun while fundraising without turning things into an offensive circus. While I am no fan of Macmillan as an organisation, their World’s Biggest Coffee Morning events are usually enjoyable without trivialising cancer. The HIV community have, from the outset of their awareness and fundraising campaigns, managed to hold events that are both highly successful and thoroughly enjoyable.
Is it because we find breasts a bit embarrassing but not as unmentionable as bowels? A bit of a schoolboy giggle? The Page 3 mentality?
It is 25 years this year since Estée Lauder started their Campaign and co-founded the pink ribbon to raise awareness and funding for research. Time for the rest of us to grow up and leave the embarrassed schoolboy attitude behind the bike sheds.