Segregated neighborhoods are more likely to be poor, and if you barely earn a living wage, you definitely can’t afford health insurance that would cover preventative care (Thanks Affordable Care Act). The pink ribbon does not help bring awareness to the socioeconomic inequities connected to breast cancer; they commodify the disease and make it “sexy” under the guise of raising awareness.
’Saving the Boobies’ is a mantra that gets thrown around a lot this month, but it does not properly address how breast cancer adversely impacts and ends lives. Talking about breasts as if they are an independent entity, as if it’s the breasts that are worth saving as opposed to the life and body they are attached to is not only patriarchal, but also down right sexist. It implies that a woman’s worth is in her breasts, in her sexuality.
This quote is from her essay Saving The Boobies Will Not Save Me on Still Furious and Still Brave. Here she notes that Black women develop breast cancer less often than White women, but are 40% more likely to die. Even when controlled for class, Black women still receive inferior healthcare. This is against the backdrop of a culture that thinks we do not feel pain, need less pain medication, heal faster and are “strong” for the purpose of “enduring” the pain from others.
I had a friend who got breast cancer before 35 and had a double mastectomy. I was glad they saved the HUMAN over “the boobies.” The fragmentation involved in this campaign irritates me. I had a breast cancer scare at age 28. Though my tests came back clean, the period between the tests and no result was incredibly stressful. Worse is how EVERYONE demands joy and heroism and “fuck cancer” and all of this stuff that Black women are already forced to do based on the Strong Black Woman stereotype.