Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women's Health
Oxford University Press, 2011
Pink Ribbon Blues is a difficult book to read, but I'd like to see it become required reading for any student in sociology. Gayle Sulik has taken some brave steps to bring into focus, not only a sacred cow, but the elephant in the room -- corporatization reaching even into one of our most well respected charity organizations.
Every chapter has well-researched and copious footnotes. For those of us used to reading books that let us look through someone else's eyes and hear the stories of individuals told, it does seem a bit on the cold academic side, but the picture that emerges as the book goes on is far more chilling. I believe all the documentation in this case is critically important, because when an author takes on a non-profit not only with some serious political and socially well-connected associates, but with a host of high-powered corporate sponsors and donors, she needs to have her facts straight.
Pink Ribbon Blues describes an environment that is disturbingly similar to “regulatory capture,” a situation in which corporations become very close to those who regulate them, in an attempt to keep from being too closely watched. The increasing popularity of the highly visible “Race for the Cure” and the “pink ribbon culture” that it has spawned, provides a platform, as well as a huge potential market, for corporate, medical, and pharmaceutical interests. It seems that “pink ribbon culture” may be slowly mutating into a culture that could be harmful to patients and survivors of breast cancer.