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Cancer Activism: Gender, Media, and Public Policy by Karen Kedrowski and Marilyn Sarow (University of Illinois Press, 2007) – Explores the interplay between advocacy, the media, and public perception through an analysis of breast cancer and prostate cancer activist groups over a nearly twenty-year period. Despite both diseases having nearly identical mortality and morbidity rates, Kedrowski and Sarow present evidence from more than 4,200 news articles to show that the different groups have had markedly different impacts. They trace the rise of each movement and explore how discussions about the diseases appeared on media, public, and government agendas. They demonstrate that the breast cancer movement is not only larger and better organized than the prostate cancer movement, it is also more successful at shaping media coverage, public opinion, and public policy. Breast–Cancer–Activism

From Pink to Green: Disease Prevention and the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement by Barbara Ley (Rutgers University Press, 2009) — From the early 1980s, the U.S. environmental breast cancer movement has championed the goal of eradicating the disease by emphasizing the importance of reducing—even eliminating—exposure to chemicals and toxins. This book chronicles the movement’s disease prevention philosophy from the beginning. Challenging the broader culture of pink ribbon symbolism and “awareness” campaigns, this movement has grown from a handful of community-based organizations into a national entity, shaping the cultural, political, and public health landscape. They demand that the public play a role in scientific, policy, and public health decision-making to build a new framework of breast cancer prevention. Breast–Cancer–History-Environmental Aspects Read BCC Review »

coverHiding Politics in Plain Sight: Cause Marketing, Corporate Influence, and Breast Cancer Policymaking by Patricia Strach (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016) — Examines the politics of market mechanisms–especially cause marketing–as a strategy for public policy change. Taking breast cancer as a case, Strach skillfully contextualizes pink ribbon culture and shows how its cause marketing (and cause marketing in general) overly simplifies solutions to complicated social problems. The process of transforming advocacy into highly individualized, easily marketable products and services permeates how people (including policy makers) think about these issues, thereby limiting rather than expanding the mechanisms through which advocacy may operate. Breast–Cancer–Activism Read BCC Review »

Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health by Gayle Sulik (Oxford University Press, 2011) –  Reveals the hidden costs of the pink ribbon as an industry, one in which breast cancer functions as a brand name with a pink ribbon logo. Based on historical and ethnographic research, analysis of awareness campaigns and advertisements, and hundreds of interviews, Pink Ribbon Blues shows that while millions walk, run, and purchase products for a cure, cancer rates rise, industry thrives, and breast cancer is stigmatized anew for those who reject the pink ribbon model. Even as Sulik points out the flaws of “pink ribbon culture,” she outlines the positives and offers alternatives. The paperback includes a new Introduction investigating Susan G. Komen for the Cure and a color insert with images of, and reactions to, the pinking of breast cancer. Breast–Cancer–Social Aspects–Activism

CoverSo Much to Be Done: The Writings of Breast Cancer Activist Barbara Brenner, edited by Barbara Sjoholm (Minnesota University Press, 2016) – is a collection of Brenner’s columns and blog posts that chronicles breast cancer research and health care activism. The power behind the national organization Breast Cancer Action, Barbara Brenner brought an abundance of wit, courage, and clarity to the cause and forever changed the conversation. Afterword by Anne Lamott.

Barbara Brenner was anything but silent. She embodied the spirit of Audre Lorde, who believed that ‘when I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less important whether or not I am afraid.’ Barbara Brenner reminded us that sometimes it takes ruffling a few feathers to dislodge complacency. —Gayle A. Sulik, PhD, author of Pink Ribbon Blues

Breast–Cancer–Social Aspects–Activism

The Biopolitics of Breast Cancer: Changing Cultures of Disease and Activism by Maren Klawiter (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) – Maren Klawiter analyzes the breast cancer movement to show the broad social impact of how diseases come to be medically managed and publicly administered. Examining surgical procedures, early detection campaigns, and discourses of risk, Klawiter demonstrates that these practices initially inhibited, but later enabled, collective action. The Biopolitics of Breast Cancer ultimately challenges our understanding of the origins, politics, and future of the breast cancer movement. Opens a window to broader changes transforming medically advanced societies and challenges our understanding of the origins, politics, and future of the breast cancer movement. Breast–Cancer–Activism–Political Aspects

The Personal and the Political: Women’s Activism in Response to the Breast Cancer And AIDS Epidemics by Ulrike Boehmer, PhD (SUNY Press, 2000) – Drawing on the experiences of thirty-seven diverse women who are active in the AIDS and breast cancer movements, The Personal and the Political provides an in-depth look at the social and political dimensions of AIDS and breast cancer within the context of social movement and feminist theories. While it is generally assumed that activists’ reasons for getting involved in either the AIDS or breast cancer movements differ, Boehmer uncovers similarity in women’s motivations, finding that activism depends on both a personal and a political link to the disease. The work pays particular attention to diversity issues such as race, class, and sexual orientation and explores the women’s motivations, how they view their activism, and how their activism relates to their identities. Breast–Cancer–Political Aspects–Activism

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