Infantilizing life’s troubles: One has to wonder why a campaign like Pink Shirt Day is needed

“Infantilizing life’s troubles: One has to wonder why a campaign like Pink Shirt Day is needed,” by Pete McMartin, The Vancouver Sun.

I wear pink on occasion. A button-down Oxford cloth shirt with a blue blazer. For me, it’s an edgy fashion statement, not the colour of altruism.

When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was surrounded by pink. Rather, she was bombarded by it. It was everywhere, as if the earth was awash in Pepto-Bismol. It was on rubber wrist bands, in TV commercials, on T-shirts, on the bottles of hand creams, on (this, most hilariously) pro athletes’ uniforms. She could not escape it: Pink would not allow her to forget her condition. It insisted on reminding her of how much people cared about her, of how much they were rooting for her, as if cancer was a football game and their cheers could help her into the end zone. In the delusional vocabulary of the Pink campaigners, they wanted her to battle cancer and beat cancer, as if she could will herself to health. Go team go!

Meanwhile, all my wife felt was an immobilizing fear and growing rage. To trivialize and prettify something as terrifying as cancer, by giving it a colour, the colour of Barbie and little girls’ bedrooms (and there is much about the sentiments around breast cancer campaigns that is childish and treacly), seemed to my wife to be puerile. It was Feelgoodism unhinged from reality.

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