Pink, Inc.

Reducing breast cancer – a complex disease with different manifestations – into a single entity for which there could be a single, magic bullet “cure” may sell T-shirts and mammogram machines. But it doesn’t begin to address the insidiously complicated nature of cancer or why it strikes women in the first place. Yet there’s money to be made in the notion of a “cure” – a slippery word you will be hard pressed to find anyone in the world of cancer treatment ever using. But “Race for the No Evidence of Disease” just doesn’t have the same easy ring to it. Nor does the expensive, unsexy environmental and social change required to identify and eliminate the roots of cancer.

There was once a time, in the distant past, when breast cancer was not a cheerful lipstick shade. It was not warm or soft or fuzzy. It was not an opportunity for gratuitous ogling wrapped up in the guise of “saving the boobies.” And it sure as hell wasn’t the best thing to happen to consumerism since Christmas. But as the film makes clear, while the disease itself remains as vicious and harrowing as ever, the response to it has evolved. And what began as activism about a serious women’s health issue has morphed into an excuse to go shopping.

As King tells Salon, “Raising money doesn’t automatically equate change. In fact, the way that this particular fundraising phenomenon works is to reinforce the status quo. It funds the same kinds of research that ask the same kinds of questions instead of research that might look into prevention or reduce the incidence rate.”

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