Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women's Health

Gayle A. Sulik, foreword by Bonnie B. Spanier, Oxford Univ., $29.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-19-974045-1
You may never think pink again about breast cancer after reading Sulik's sobering and lucid critique of what she calls "pink culture"—which has turned a "complex social and medical" issue into "a popular item for public consumption" and has actually "impeded progress in the war on breast cancer." Sulik, a medical sociologist, argues that the truth about breast cancer, so memorably voiced by its victims in the early 1990s, has now been "silenced in a cacophony of pink talk" about triumph and transcendence thanks to advertising, the media, and the medical establishment. And, Sulik says, pink products and symbols only reinforce traditional notions of femininity and sexuality. Equally troubling is the questionable impact of mammography, which, though urged upon women, has scarcely affected death rates—40,000 women (and 450 men) die of breast cancer each year. With breast cancer incidence rates rising, Sulik's call to "take a road less pink" demands to be heard. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/23/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Paperback - 402 pages - 978-0-19-993399-0
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