Very well made documentary about profiteering on the suffering of breast cancer patients that occurs right under our noses.
I was very excited about this film's release, as I was diagnosed with very aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2011 at age 34, along with a deleterious BRCA1 mutation which I also passed to my daughter and which forced her to undergo a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction at age 20 in order to mitigate her risk. As a result of my diagnosis, my eyes have been opened to the dirty pink underbelly of this cause marketing darling, and I have endured more than my fair share of pink fatigue, as well as the emotionally draining rah-rah glamorization of the disease. No other deadly illness comes with inundations of the “just stay positive” nonsense and offensive sexualization such as “ta-ta’s” and “second base.” Not to mention the war/military metaphors attached to cancer and specifically breast cancer such as “battling” which inadvertently implies that those who die didn’t fight hard enough, though of course, people don’t realize this (and surely don’t mean its inverse implication) when they’re just trying to be supportive of a loved one who is facing this disease.
When I was undergoing chemotherapy, it was not unusual to see people dressed in pink feather boas, bright pink tutus, or bedazzled bras worn over their shirts in the infusion area of the cancer hospital. No other form of cancer is glamorized in this way. By contrast, brain tumors and pancreatic cancer don’t have these cutesy or sexualized tropes attached to them.
This documentary dares to expose the other side of the coin to show that those of us diagnosed with metastatic disease are offended and hurt at the “survivor” mantra and party-like atmosphere as well as excluded from depictions of the disease because metastatic patients will ultimately have their lives taken by this insidious disease. It is often told to metastatic patients that their presence at breast cancer events will frighten, scare, or cause lower stage patients to feel “less positive” and as a result, those dying of the disease or those with a terminal diagnosis are excluded or told not to attend events. It also shows that companies who claim to raise money for “awareness” (seriously, we are all aware...though not correctly because there is so much misinformation about such a common disease) are some of the same companies that use carcinogens in their products.
This film does a very good job of showing what many breast cancer patients feel is a glamorization of their suffering and the creation of a cause marketing darling...without any real benefit to those who are diagnosed (the death rate in the US has remained around the 40,000 per year mark despite billions thrown at the disease).
Those featured in the film are the late Barbara Brenner of Breast Cancer Action, breast surgeon Dr. Susan Love, Nancy Brinker (sister of Susan G. Komen), and many others. Highly recommend.