Cultural Resistance: a way to break from the habitual assumptions, patterns, beliefs, and processes that saturate everyday life by using the content and mediums of culture to create new meanings, language, practices, and visions of the future. People resist the culture using art, music, memes, and just about any cultural form.

See also: Illness Narratives; Language

Example 1: Graphic Arts

Ribbon LogoNonfiction comics work as persuasive communications tools because they are popular, understandable for a range of literacy levels and cognitive abilities, and have a sense of permanence that promotes recognition and recall. What’s more, they are nonthreatening and have potential to motivate readers to think critically and engage.

In this graphic comic strip (right), “Pink Ribbon Envy” the authors take on serious issues about the commercialization of breast cancer and the way the pink ribbon brand renders other illnesses invisible. Since breast cancer has been elevated to the most prestigious position in Western society — as a consumer brand — most people living serious illness are invisible unless they involve breast cancer. Written by Adam Bessie and co-written and drawn by Dan Archer, the comic features interviews with marketer Brock Greene and BCC founder Gayle Sulik.

In this panel (below) from the graphic comic “Breast Cancer Awareness Czar” by cartoonist Matt Bors, the artist pokes fun at the lengths markets will go to fund raise for breast cancer. From pink fracking drills to pink buckets of fried chicken, is there anything that hasn’t been embossed with a pink ribbon?

1.Pink Fracking Drills-Buckets

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Example 2: Memes

Memes are rebellious, comedic, and potentially subversive examples of cultural resistance. If they get the attention — even briefly — of many many people they have the capacity to disrupt norms and bring valuable ideas into the collective consciousness.

If you’re not adept with Photoshopping images, you can use and to create memes from popular templates.



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The Pinknado poster (right) was created by BCC member and blogger Kathi Kolb (The Accidental Amazon) as part of her “Fight the Pink Peril” collection. It is an artistic remake of a poster for the 2013 made-for-television satirical disaster film Sharknado, which isabout a waterspout that lifts sharks out of the ocean and deposits them in Los Angeles only to wreak havoc on unsuspecting communities.

Kolb created the poster in response to a solicitation call she received from a “scam group” asking her for donations to support women with breast cancer. Having researched pink products and charities before, she collected information about the group and found it to be yet another group using breast cancer to make money. She had also just received a mailed solicitation from Bank of America for their Pink Ribbon BankAmericard MasterCard. Bank of America had earned its own list of reports about fraudulent practices.

Kolb wrote a blog post detailing these interaction and the research she did. Pinknado highlights the corporate exploitation of breast cancer awareness.

The Most Interesting Man in the World

The meme “I don’t always get breast cancer” (below) came from a blogger called the sarcastic boob. Based on the popular Internet meme “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” which mimics a character played by Jonathan Goldsmith in a successful advertising campaign for Dos Equis beer. The meme follows the phrasing “I don’t always [X], but when I do, I [Y].” The advertising campaign was a success for the beer brand, and the Internet meme went viral. The Sarcastic Boob’s meme circulated in the metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer community, pointing to the fact that information about metastatic breast cancer does not have the mass appeal necessary for inclusion in mainstream awareness campaigns.

Example 3: Collage Art

BELLA THE TRUTHTELLER is a collection of Collage Art that evolved from the brochures and magazines of an oncology waiting room. Within these patient care materials, breast cancer is presented as a meaningful learning experience; treatment is something to endure before getting back to “normal” (i.e., being “cured”); metastatic breast cancer is a “chronic condition” instead of an ultimate cause of death; breast cancer patients are a consumer base for corporations; pink products flourish; and survivorship focuses on looking so good no one can tell you’re being treated for breast cancer. Refusing to quell her anger, Bella gives voice to aspects of the breast cancer experience pink ribbon culture sanitizes away.

Intended to “stir thought and bring out the TRUTHteller in all of us,” here are three collages from the 2011 Collection by BELLA THE TRUTHTELLER:

  1. “Coping With the Language of Breast Cancer Culture.”
  2. “Breast Cancer: The Simulated Reality.”
  3. “I’m Angry. Now What?”

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