Fast-forward to today, when, especially during October, everything from toilet paper to buckets of fried chicken to the chin straps of N.F.L. players look as if they have been steeped in Pepto. If the goal was “awareness,” that has surely been met — largely, you could argue, because corporations recognized that with virtually no effort (and often minimal monetary contribution), going pink made them a lot of green.
But a funny thing happened on the way to destigmatization. The experience of actual women with cancer, women like Rollin, Black, Ford and Rockefeller — women like me — got lost. Rather than truly breaking silences, acceptable narratives of coping emerged, each tied up with a pretty pink bow.
I could have lied. But I couldn’t lie. I didn’t know asexual was anything, then, so I just said no, and then was forced to sit through all the speculation. They didn’t know, and I didn’t know enough to argue with them. People assumed I was undesirable, because of the CP, and I didn’t argue with them, though I wanted to because the assumption hurt, but the hurt was hard to explain, under the circumstances. People assumed I was too brain damaged to understand sex, and I couldn’t explain otherwise, because simply having no desire was enough to tell sexuals I didn’t understand.
By organizing birth control needs according to age, the slide show teaches viewers a socially-approved timeline for our sexual, marital, and reproductive lives. Teen sex is invisible, having children in your 30s is ideal, and the end of a relationship is an option but, as Corina points out, not having children is not.
Regardless of the state of Tommy’s mind and body, it is we who are broken. It is we who drink in glorifications of war and heroism in the movies and kill the political systemic message of such poetry by treating it as individual expression. It is we who refuse to provide support and systems of support to help our veterans; it is we who shame and silence them into a stiff upper lip. We are the ones who both stare and look away. Homelessness doesn’t respond to swelling music and huge parades. PTSD isn’t best treated by ignoring it.
Unlike Breast Cancer with their irascible pink color, and Heart Disease with their “wearing red” campaign, Mental Illness doesn’t have the awareness in the public eye that those campaigns and others such as Multiple Sclerosis or other equivalent organizations. Why is that?
As you might be able to guess, because fibromyalgia is a syndrome of unclear etiology with a wide variety of physical complaints, widely varying severity, and a clinical course that waxes and wanes, it is a woo magnet. Indeed, many conditions that scientists do not yet understand well and/or for which we do not yet have particularly good treatments are woo magnets.
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