...I'm here to inform you that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Which means that it's also a good time to point out some of the...ummm...problems with all this "awareness." Awareness itself is not a problem, of course. It's the hyperconsumerism that seems to accompany this awareness that has become a problem. It's the consumerism disguised as activism disguised as progress.
And what does this have to do with sport? Well there is a sport angle. So many teams and events unproblematically sponsor breast cancer "activism" through a variety of means. Teams wear pink jerseys or sneakers or laces. Proceeds of various items or tickets go to "research" (on what exactly, a cure, drugs, other treatment is never revealed). Then there are the events that survivors and supporters participate in: runs, walks, triathlons, etc. The events sponsored by companies like Avon (which refuses to reveal the potential cancer-causing effects of its own products and their production) spend an inordinate amount of money on advertising and prizes, swag, and generally staging the event. We should question whether it might just be better to donate that lump sum directly to the cause.
Samantha King, a sport studies scholar, wrote a book that came out a couple of years ago that analyzes a lot of these events as well as some of the discourse around breast cancer activism. I probably have mentioned this before but in honor of all the awareness going on this month, I re-recommend, Pink Ribbons, Inc.
I am all for awareness. I am all for programs that involve getting more women to self-examine and get mammograms. And it's as good a month as any to get one (hint hint, BB). But please don't go out and buy the pink oven mitts and matching tea towels or the pink toaster oven. Or even the pink lemonade that they are selling on Northwest flights this month for $2--seriously. If you want to help the cause donate directly. Check out the organizations, what the money goes to, and just write a check.