Warning: lots of opinions follow. There is a strong possibility that this entry will thoroughly piss you off.
I was sitting there drinking coffee, getting ready to ride out to Daytona for a nice ocean swim and grading and house cleaning and a run and all the other fun that awaited me Sunday, and I picked up my October copy of Fitness magzine. I flipped through several articles and noticed that this was Fitness's annual Breast Cancer Awareness month issue.
Now, I'm all about cancer awareness. I regularly contribute to the ACA. (After all, what kind of heartless/clueless idiot would I be, a cancer survivor myself, if I didn't support cancer research and awareness in general?) And I'm the first person to stand up and share my story in the hope that someone will take action and care for themselves or the women around them.
But I am extremely over the enthusiastic plastering of everything pink during October, the breast cancer campaigns in every women's magazine, mentions on every TV show and every product in the country whose market is predominately female. (Don't get me started on the effectivness and tactics of the Komen foundation - that's another story altogether.)
Breast cancer has become a tireless, exasperating, pink marketing machine.
Yes, I know only women have breasts (although men can carry the gene for some hereditary types of breast cancers). Yes, I know some forms of breast cancer are extremely invasive and aggressive. But If you take a peek at the CDC's top causes of death in women, you will see that one of the top 3 causes of death for women of all races is cancer. This doesn't say BREAST CANCER ONLY. It says CANCER. (As a side note, guess which type of cancer kills the most women? It's not breast cancer, and apparently it hasn't been in 20+ years.)
In my immediate family alone, there are at least 3 women with cancer: I lost an aunt to lung cancer; another is a cervical cancer survivor; I am close to a NED diagnosis with thyroid cancer. None of us, you will notice, is a breast cancer survivor. Let's not forget skin cancer, too. Where are THEIR monthly magazines? Where are THEIR Races for the Cure? Where are THEIR pretty ribbons, yogurt lids, and products emblazoned with signature colors?
Oh, that's right. They're either non-existent or hidden, because the rest of the public is too busy wearing pink and saving ta-tas.
My point isn't whose cancer is better, worse, deadlier, or more important. My point isn't that we shouldn't care. My point is that this isn't the only cancer we SHOULD make a big deal about. I'd like to see the money raised go to ALL cancer research, and that I wish the general population of the country, especially marketing and media, would acknowledge that ALL CANCER IS BAD, not just breast cancer.
Shouldn't this be OBVIOUS??
-begin new rant-
So, already feeling peeved because I've been bombarded with pink crap for the past few weeks, I turned the page to see that Fitness also did an article this month on a first-time triathlete.
First I got super-excited . . . . I love hearing about people getting into sport and making themselves healthy. Then I realized that she is a twig-and-bone former high school track star who used to run 4- or 5-minute miles and had virtually NO obstacles to face while training. I'm SORRY, but SHE does NOT COUNT as a first-time athlete and I am not terribly inspired. Couldn't they have picked someone like my friend over in Tampa/St. Pete who went from her first tri to being an amazing athlete and spin instructor while raising kids and dealing with real life, budgets, etc? Or how about my friend in Lakeland who got off the couch, quit smoking, and now runs Iron-distance races and helps coach a tri club? Or how about my friend in Colorado who raises kids who also race, overcame incredible odds of her own, and is also intellectually accomplished and almost always trains HERSELF?
No, of course not; they had to select a size-zero, virtually-fat-free former track star, get her hooked up with a coach, and then I'm supposed to be inspired??? Don't get me wrong, GOOD FOR HER. I'm always happy to see new people hooked on the sport. But I continue to be MORE impressed by the women triathletes who surround me who have overcome more obstacles and learned more about themseleves and are certainly not 4-minute-mile track stars to begin with. And if gender isn't an issue, what about someone like Ben Does Life? He lost over 100 pounds by making his life healthier through marathon and triathlon. He didn't grow up a 4- to 5-minute track star.
-end rant #2-
In training news, I logged a TEN-HOUR training week this week.