Thursday, October 25, 2007

October Awareness

This AlterNet article got me thinking. I don't think the article makes it's point very well, but it's something I've been thinking about for awhile.

The point of the article: October is the "awareness month" for both breast cancer and domestic violence. According to the article, we ignore domestic violence because breast cancer is sexier. You know...because of the boobs.

I agree. Pink ribbons abound and...well...does domestic violence even have a ribbon?

Yes, in fact. A quick Google search - purple. Wear a purple ribbon and a few people might know you're supporting victims of abuse.

First point of contention - purple and pink? Are we seriously resorting to baby girl colors? Plus, purple for domestic abuse victims? Purple? The color of bruises? This is the least of our problems, I know, but it's still a little ironic. Or sad. Or both.

Second - yes, breast cancer gets more press. It's hot. Like AIDS. Ugh. It makes me sick that disease has been American-ified. But shit. It gets people to donate money. For research. Right?

Some more than others. Let's put it this way - if you're going to donate, it's better for everyone if you don't buy a ribbon or a hat. Just give the money to the charity. Oh, and stay away from the American Breast Cancer Foundation, the Strang Cancer Prevention Center, and the Walker Cancer Research Institute.

So does publicity/popularity for one disease take away money from diseases with less zazz? Are we too focused on saving boobs that we overlook the psyche of the abused?

I don't know. But the more I think about the two, there are a lot of similarities between breast cancer and spousal abuse. Survivors form strong support groups and want to help others get through what they went through. Both can kill. The victims of both are overwhelmingly women. Both started out as "personal" problems and are gaining focus in a broader realm (SEE: women are the majority of victims).

But - breast cancer could have a cure. Could any amount of research eradicate spousal abuse? I am not in anyway saying domestic violence charities can't do a tremendous amount of good. But it's more about the services - shelter, counseling, etc. Maybe it's the research, the race to the finish line we love to give our money to. "Find a cure." You know.

And, yes, we love a nice, clean face to our charities. That's why AIDS has lost panache even though it's still prevalent in Africa.

And we love boobs. Bottom line: people are giving money to charity. That's a good thing. And awareness months? I don't think they really do anyone any good.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I do love the boobs!
I certainly agree that we in America love our sexy causes. An argument could be made that the fact that AIDS awareness became sexy is a victory. 20 years ago - just after acquiring its name and putting GRID out of business, who'd have thought it would exist on the radars of homophobes and soccer moms? Breast cancer awareness is more than sexy, though. Don't you find it interesting that it has a month but prostate cancer doesn't? I mean, we all know that Pfizer and its competitors sold some souls to the devil to rush the hard-on drugs through the FDA. Yet, it seems that women may have actually won the race in this case. Personally, I say score one for allowing a gender-specific cause to make it to the big leagues (forget the Rockies and the Sox, next years its the American Heart Association vs. Stephen Colbert!).
Now, as for domestic violence, perhaps a tie-in with COPS?