Joe's Reviews > Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women's Health

Pink Ribbon Blues by Gayle A. Sulik
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's review
Aug 21, 2011

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Read in August, 2011

At its core, this book has a message that needs to be heard: people are different, and the dominant breast cancer culture and message is not appropriate for everyone. An approach that may be perfectly helpful for one person may not resonate with someone else -- and if that person can't find a message that works for them, they may feel alienated and alone, and end up being hurt. Additionally, while breast cancer culture may be largely composed of people that have only the best intentions, some people, organizations, and companies involved in breast cancer culture may be driven by their own interests.

Unfortunately, the message in this book is largely buried by irrelevant and distracting terminology and stories. As an example, the author often uses the term "she-ro" -- a shorthand for an idealized model of near-superhuman breast cancer fighters that have an endless source of optimism and courage. It seems to me that Sulik ends up using the term to quickly dismiss a number of messages that don't really fit the harmful model she presents. Yes, some books and groups encourage people to embrace optimism wholeheartedly, and while that is not the right approach for everyone, it may end up being perfect for others.

Ultimately, this book would have been much stronger if the author had been able to remove the extraneous parts, and focus her message more tightly.


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