Way before I had breast cancer, and way before pink ribbon campaigns, I hated pink. I hate what pink is meant to stand for, which was girly-ness. Girls (and women) are supposed to be dainty, ladylike, obedient, cooperative and most importantly, less than. The color is overwhelmingly associated with delicacy and femininity. Then there’s that whole association with lady parts and I’m just done.
I’ve never been, and never will be, a girly girl. No pink. No frilly dresses. Or dresses period, really. No ladylike baloney. It Just ain’t happenin’. I’ve never liked dresses. I don’t like my legs bare. It’s been that way since I was little.
When the Pink Ribbon campaigns started in the early 90s, I rolled my eyes. Hard. Every cause under the sun suddenly needed a ribbon campaign. Yellow ribbons for serving soldiers, red ones for AIDS, green for mental health awareness. Then… every flavor of cancer got its own ribbon. Pink ribbons for breast cancer. Because y’know, it’s a women’s disease, and breasts are kinda pink, and… the clincher… pink is associated with the female gender and all of that crappy stereotyping that goes with it. Yuck.
Getting cancer is anything but good, cooperative, or beautiful. It’s an ugly fucking disease. It doesn’t matter which kind you get. It’s all damned scary.
So why, if this is how I feel about pink and pink ribbons, did I chose Pink Ribbon Road for my title? Well… I wanted to be easy to find. This pink ribbon nonsense has been going on for over 25 years and it’s a known visible cue. I didn’t want my breast cancer notes to be lost among those for some other disease or cause. The way to do that was to co-opt the concept so that my site would be added to Google and other search engines and grouped with other sites like it. Why? Because I didn’t know diddly-squat about cancer or breast cancer or any of what goes along with it before I got this dreaded disease. I want people to find my words and have some idea what to expect when they’re diagnosed, and to know that they don’t have to take a back seat to all that encompasses the treatment of this condition. I’m hoping that somehow word gets out to people who also have no genetic pre-disposition, or other obvious reason, to be vigilant about their health and getting their annual screenings. Would mine have been found sooner if I’d have been getting regular mammograms? It’s hard to say. The type of breast cancer I have is pretty aggressive and wily. It could have grown over the course of a year or two, or it might have taken only 6 months. I have no way of knowing. All I know is that I’ve got it and am being treated in the hope of sending it into remission. Probably kind of a pipe dream, but it’s one I’ll hold onto for a while longer.