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dimanche 14 mars 2010
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
The breast is not, in this society, just another part of the body. So we should have expected that breast disease such as cancer would be subject to different treatment than other diseases.
Still, some of the breast cancer related campaigns are surprising. Most are inspiring and rallying - but some are exploitative.
A few weeks ago, messages were flying around Facebook inboxes, chain-mail style, urging women to post the color of their bra on their profiles to raise breast cancer awareness - and to confuse men who would get updates with just a name of a colour. No information, no explanation - just the bra colour. Many immediately criticized this “awareness raising” technique. Newsweek blogger Mary Carmichael pointed out that “At this point, there can’t be a person in the world who isn’t aware of breast cancer... This isn’t awareness or education ; it’s titillation… It’s harmless, but also pointless.” A feminist blog at Salon.com was even more incisive : “This bra color movement seems a similarly desperate attempt to get guys to simply give a crap about breast cancer by making it sexy and flirtatious, which I find not only embarrassing to women but insulting to men.”
Last September, Canadian charity Rethink Breast Cancer released an ad to promote a “Boobyball” fundraiser that featured a buxom woman entering a pool party while being ogled by attendees. The camera cuts between close ups of her bouncing breasts and snippets of text that string together to say : “You know you like them. Now it’s time to save the boobs.”
Sexualized breast cancer awareness campaigns are a new thing, but more common is cause-related marketing - placing a pink ribbon on products and promising a portion of proceeds will go to research or awareness raising. Companies attract buyers to their products because of the charitable nature, but only pass on their customer’s money while they enjoy greater profits. Some companies will pledge to match the donation their customers’ purchases generate though many don’t advertise that they also cap their donations. One American consultancy firm found that 79% of consumers would switch to a product or brand that is identified with a cause, all other things being equal.
“Breast cancer is a disease. Not a marketing opportunity. This is wrong,” says breast cancer patient Jeanne Sather, author of the blog The Assertive Cancer Patient.
Companies may also be guilty of “pink washing.” American watchdog group Breast Cancer Action defines pinkwashing as a company manufacturing products that may cause breast cancer while simultaneously promoting breast cancer fundraising. These pinkwashing companies greatly benefit from the fact that much of the effort in combating breast cancer is focused on diagnosis and cure—not on prevention or inquiries into environmental causes of the disease.
The fact that prevention is not a main focus is part of why breast cancer appeals to companies looking to engage in cause-related marketing. If prevention were a focus, breast cancer campaigns would be partly about pollutants, additives and growth hormones in our food, inadequate research and inadequate labeling and consumer information, etc – not issues that attract sponsors.
Companies are also drawn to breast cancer related marketing because it is a disease in which there is no presumption that the sufferer somehow brought it on themselves, as there can be with some other diseases. The cause is not political—it allows for companies to communicate that they are women-friendly, without being labeled activist. And of course, breasts have an image linked to sex as well as motherhood.
In her book Pink Ribbons Inc., Samantha King points out that “it’s unlikely that the battle against breast cancer will be won so long as it is approached as a single-issue problem that is unrelated to other health conditions or to broader social issues. Large, corporate-funded, single-issue foundations have come to dominate health advocacy and, as a result, questions related to universal healthcare, discrimination, or the impact of the environment on disease have been pushed to the margins.”
Think Before You Pink says the Breast Cancer Action group, to make people aware of these goings on. It recommends that, before we buy a product with a pink ribbon on it, that we ask how much money actually goes toward breast cancer programs and what is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic. The campaign has succeeded in getting some companies to remove cancer-linked additives to some cosmetics and the cancer-linked synthetic growth hormone from some yogurts - including pink-lidded yogurt, which was being sold to raise money for breast cancer but was made with dairy stimulated with the carcinogenic hormone.
There are wonderful initiatives supporting the important work relating to breast cancer. But we need to examine how easily we buy into supporting the fight against breast cancer through consumer culture. We need to work to not only find a cure, but to work toward prevention and stop allowing companies to pinkwash their carcinogenic products. We need to include men who not only can develop the disease themselves – two men died of breast cancer in New Brunswick in 2007 - but who suffer with and support their mothers, partners, sisters who are battling it. We need to include men and not merely try to briefly capture their interest through condescending sexualized awareness.
To quote cancer survivor Barbara Ehrenreich, we can’t just “slap on a pink ribbon, call it a day.”
Elsie Hambrook is Chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
On line in Sisyphe, March 2010
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Elsie Hambrook, Chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women
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