It’s an Epidemic, Stupid!

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By Angela Wall, Communications Manager

Today marks the official launch of this year’s Think Before You Pink ® campaign “It’s an Epidemic, Stupid!” As we head into November’s election, we urge everyone concerned about breast cancer to demand representatives from every state support the 2012 Breast Cancer Action Mandate for Government Action. We need to move beyond “awareness” and pink ribbons to demand candidates and elected officials take real action on breast cancer, by initiating and supporting independent research and strong regulation to turn the tide on this epidemic. 

Here at Breast Cancer Action we believe breast cancer should be front and center in national conversations about healthcare reform and women’s health. The federal government’s job is not only to protect those it governs from nuclear and terrorist threats but also from toxins that increase the risk of breast cancer and other diseases. However, for the last 30 years, the government has basically outsourced its responsibility for public health and breast cancer to large-scale philanthropic organization, like Komen and Avon, which are beholden to corporate funders.

At the same time, when an election comes around, many candidates seek our votes by simply wearing pink ribbons and touting empty, ‘feel good’ legislation. We will not let our government outsource its job to protect public health. We will not allow our public officials to engage in ‘political pinkwashing’ by claiming they care about breast cancer without actually initiating or supporting policy changes that significantly help women living with and at risk of breast  cancer.

For the past 10 years, BCAction’s Think Before You Pink® campaign has confronted the flood of pink products sold in the name of “awareness” by highlighting the hypocrisy of the worst pinkwashers– the companies or organizations whose pink products contribute to increasing our risk of developing the disease. This year we are shifting the focus beyond individual products or companies and calling upon policymakers and elected officials to support strong regulation and independent research.

It is our government’s responsibility to monitor and regulate industry in order to protect public health. Pushing the burden of responsibility onto the shoulders of individuals is an unacceptable response to a public health crisis. Nor can we be expected to effectively address and end this epidemic by shopping our way out of this disease. As long as corporations dump pollutants into the air, the water, and the products they sell, and pharmaceutical and biotech firms prioritize profits over patients, we need government action. We need government intervention. Join us demanding your elected leaders stop political pinkwashing, uphold their unique and essential role, and endorse the 2012 Breast Cancer Action Mandate for Government Action.

Breast cancer requires more than awareness, and pink ribbons, and screening. Join us. Tell elected officials across this nation to take meaningful action to address and end this epidemic.  Join us by visiting our campaign webpage to learn more, and to take action!


  1. jeanne
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I “get” the play on words and I definitely support the views that motivate this campaign but I gotta say, I’m not wild about calling people “stupid” (even if they — or their actions — are).
    Them’s my two cents. And I remain a huge fan of your organization.

  2. Camille Miller
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    jeanne, the phrase “it’s an epidemic, stupid” is taken from Bill Cinton’s 1992 political campaign when the slogan was “it’s the economy, stupid”. Since then, others have replaced the word “economy’ with something else, in this case, ‘an epidemic”.You can read more about the use of this phrase:'s_the_economy,_stupid

  3. michele
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Jeanne. Regardless of the origin of the use of ‘stupid’, or how others have used it, I believe it’s use is inappropriate for the slogan. It was off putting to me and I have been living with breast cancer for more than ten years without conventional treatment. I have been a vegetarian, eating mostly vegan and organic for thirty years so this issue is very close to home. I am fed up with the chemicals, frankenfood and the like, but ‘stupid’ doesn’t work for me. Other than that, I love what this organization is doing!

  4. Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    This is a classic women’s exchange, isn’t it? With all due respect to the gals who are worried about good manners here, there’s a time for anger and forcefulness, and this is one of those times. Women need to not fear using forceful language. I find the language terrific, and the use of humor refreshing. Partly because I’m sick to death of the bullshit sweetness of the Pink Campaign. As an ordained religious leader I would like to say, “Way to go, BCA” and also, “FUCK CANCER.”

  5. Linda
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    PeaceBang, AMEN! (AWOMEN!) There are times when gentleness is called for, but as we know, it’s way past time for women to be overtly angry about the continual awareness year after year. Breakthroughs don’t come from people buying pink things to feel good about buying pink things. We need research, better treatments, and cures. As someone without a BRCA mutation and who only had a 13% chance of having breast cancer when diagnosed at age 30, I think we should ALL be offended that breast cancer is still the huge issue that it is. If the use of somewhat harsh language gets the attention of the complacent, more power to that. Thank you for your empowering words.

  6. Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I wrote a mild rant on “Why Pink Makes Me Cringe,” and a reader commented that I wasn’t alone. She provided me with a link to your site and I clicked right over.
    Thank you for your work, breast cancer sucks & marketing BC sucks more.
    I’ve signed your petition and listing your site on my blog, for others to read the “other side” of pink.

  7. Posted October 4, 2012 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    We need to take as many cues as we can from the AIDS community in how to hold the government accountable for engaging in meaningful activity to end this epidemic. I think the word stupid is a playful wake up call to bring a bit of gravity and focus back into how we dedicate our volunteer and advocacy time towards reducing the incidents of this disease.

    Breast cancer is not a gift, a message from God, a personal wake up call, or a sorority. These thoughts might be awesome and much needed support mechanisms to get through cancer, but too often these days we are confusing the personal messages of cancer with the actual epidemic. We need a wake up call that breast cancer is an epidemic and you don’t fight an epidemic with awareness, you fight it with strategic action.

    Once again, BCA, you rock.

  8. sheranda
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    …..I am on the survivor side of the “epidemic” and as a 38 yr old single mom of 4 and grandma of twins, I am all about early detection and side effect prevention. All BS to the side, the pink ribbon pisses me off when it is used for political anything and/or financial gain. We are a new breed that is ignored in the planning of anything useful. No consideration is given to following us around and documenting what future strugglers will be able to expect after treatment. I am struggling to raise teenagers alone, in pain, dealing with all the long term consequences of surviving cancer, gimped up in many ways, but not enough to draw benefits, unable to afford Dr. visits, dreading the inevitable day when I am again told “you have cancer”. DAMNIT, SOMEONE STOP THIS TORTUROUS THREAT TO what we call our lives.

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