Pink FridayFriday, July 06, 2012
I've written before about my ambivalence towards pink, particularly in the context of breast cancer awareness. It's just so simplistic: Breasts! Breasts on ladies! Ladies love pink! Breasts! Ladies! Pink! Arrgh! Are there no other colours in the world in which women might possibly be interested? Apparently not. And what about the 300 men diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK? Isn't it bad enough that they're having to deal with cancer in their lady lumps, without also having to strut around in a pink wig and a pair of fairy wings?
But of course, I'm being simplistic too. When it comes to breast cancer, pink is more than just a colour. It's not like someone's colour-coded all of the cancers so we can easily find them in a great big cancer filing cabinet. "Testicular cancer? Try the bottom drawer, blue folder, labelled NO GIRLZ ALOWED". Hardly.
No, pink is not just a colour. For starters, it's a shorthand; a silent expression of support and solidarity. It removes the need for questions and explanations. It can shout to the rooftops, "I'm going through something really shit!" It can whisper, "Me, too."
Pink is a banner around which the troops can rally. Under which they can charge forwards towards greater awareness, improved standards of care and a strengthened community of support and understanding. Pink means business.
It's also a way for the rest of us to show our support. I might not be able to offer a cure, but I can offer to bake a dozen pink cupcakes and charge my co-workers for the privilege of eating them. I can put on a pink t-shirt and slog my guts out in the rain to raise a few hundred pounds. I can turn up to a secondary breast cancer awareness event as my mum's date wearing a fabulous fuchsia pencil dress.
Sure, pink sometimes stinks. But it can also be something wonderful.
These musings on pink aren't entirely unprompted. Remember that interesting news I mentioned the other day? Well, it has something to do with the colour pink. No, I'm not going to be Miss Piggy's stunt double. More's the pity. What I am doing is taking three months off my day job as a lawyer (unpaid! eek!) to take up a Community Fundraising Internship with Breast Cancer Care (unpaid! eek!).
Am I crazy? Maybe. I really hope not. After my mum's last setback, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to do something, anything, to help. I can't make her magically well again, but I can contribute my time and talents to a charity that has been a constant spark in even the darkest moments of the past three years.
I'm still not entirely sure what my role will involve, but I do know that a big part of it will be promoting and coordinating BCC's Pink Fridays campaign in Scotland. Time to reconcile myself with pink, then. In general, I think - I hope - that there will be plenty of opportunity to work creatively and take myself outside of the little lawyer-shaped box I've spent the last six years building. We shall see.
So, that's my news. Have any of you ever done something like this? Voluntarily abandoned a nice, comfy, well-paid position in favour of financial ruin and moral superiority? Am I completely insane? (Actually, don't answer that last one.)
I feel compelled to mention that any views expressed on this blog, whether about cancer or pink or dogs wearing clothes, are my own and not those of Breast Cancer Care (or, for that matter, those of my "real" employer). But you knew that already, right? Right.
Images: 1. Antigoni Chryssanthopoulou 2. Ben Giles, both via Society6, with which I am currently obsessed. Can a girl ever have too many iPhone cases?