Light the Pink Touchpaper, Stand Well Back…

Bloody hell, you lot are in for a treat today. The wonderful freelance journalist Louise Bolotin is gracing us with such rage that I fear I may have been out-krakened. I shit you not.  I, The Kraken, am actually afraid…

Never mind the Kraken’s black hole of fury, I’m forming a fucking humongous pink one for all womankind. The source of my rage is the minge-cringing, bristol-boiling BraBunny. There, I’ve said it. Now stand back while I spit out my teeth followed by a long string of piss-flavoured bile and full-on fury.

What the frikking titsling is one of those, I hear you cry? It’s a “super cute soft bunny”, in pink of course, that you are supposed to “cheekily” clip to your bra to show your support for breast cancer. What in the name of all that I hold sacred has a bit of stuffed fucking plush with ears on to do with fighting cancer? Buggered if I know. But the makers seem to think if you pin it to your nork sling and let the ears peek out you’ll be showing solidarity with women who have breast cancer.

For fuck’s sake, if I’m going to let anything hang out of my flopper-stopper, it’ll be my actual fucking cleavage and not a pair of sub-Playboy bunny lugholes. And if I want to support women with breast cancer I’ll be doing it my own bloody way. I find the subtle Playboy reference pretty fucking disturbing, sexualising as it does a pair of diseased breasts. And don’t even get me sodding well started on the pink of it. I’m sick to my metatarsals of the pinkification of all things designed to appeal to women, as if it’s the only colour our poor wee feminine brains can process. Or that we have a mental age of Disneyfied toddler.

I’m roiling in disgust and wrath that breast cancer awareness comes in fifty sodding shades of cyclamen, rose and Barbie. Which is why I won’t wear a pink fucking ribbon in solidarity. It’s not just that I hate pink, it’s that I hate being told what to do, what to think and what to bleeding well wear. And quite apart from the fact that I prefer my rabbits to come with batteries or in a casserole, I’m reserving a special Kraken-size BraBunny-shaped well of scornful anger for the sheer, gut-curdling arrogance of the assumption that cute and fwuffy makes cancer palatable.

Let me tell you, it fucking well doesn’t. Cancer is not cute and fwuffy. There’s nothing pretty and pink about it. It’s a horrible, ugly, painful disease that eats its victims from the inside, whether they survive or not. And it’s not just women who get it, men do too and are more likely to die of it because they’ll be diagnosed much later. But I bet you wouldn’t catch a bloke wearing a pair of pink, fluffy bunny ears popping out of his Pringle v-neck or artfully unbuttoned shirt because they’ve got more fucking sense than to let themselves be infantilised in the name of illness.

For fuck’s sake, sisters, I swear if I see even one of you with a BraBunny dangling from your over-the-shoulder boulder holder, I’ll shove it so far up your rabbit warren you’ll be picking bits of Thumper from between your teeth for the next year. Just stick a fiver in the collection tin instead. Discretion is better than cutesy pukesome exhibitionism that makes you look like you’re three again.

Right, I’ll stop rabbiting on now…

So what do you lot think about the bunny? Love it? Hate it? Get stuck into the comment box and spill your guts.

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22 Responses to Light the Pink Touchpaper, Stand Well Back…

  1. gherkinette says:

    I want to say that words fail me with rage on this, but they actually don’t. I could write 5000 words on why the pinkification of breast cancer makes me incandescent with anger, but was too scared to slay that sacred cow. So thank you for opening up the opportunity.

    A particular pet peeve is big business making money off Breast Cancer Research & Pink Ribbon branded stuff, like when they advertise their branded bottle of washing up liquid or yoghurt for the sick boobies and then you spy the small print says ‘a donation of £100,000 will be made to X charity’ even if they sell an extra million quidsworth of the product because people think all the money is going to help breast cancer. The BraBunny sounds like that mixed with titillation and it makes me furious…

    • The Kraken says:

      I too have been scared of taking on this subject but only because I could never seem to write it without sounding like a twat. I too hate the pinkification of all things related to breast cancer. Even though it is all in aid of a predominantly female disease (men get it too) I find it deeply patronising, as if women can’t understand the facts or only ever respond to something when it’s pink.

  2. Louise B. says:

    While I’m still as angry as a pyroclastic eruption of molten lava at Stromboli, just what is the point of that fucking bunny apart from the fwuff myth?

    It’s money. That stupid fucking toy is being flogged for £8. The manufacturing cost is probably about a quid. Just £1 is going to the breast cancer charities. The rest is pure fucking profit – all £6 bleedin’ quid of it. Buying that bunny won’t help women (or men) with breast cancer, it’ll be helping company shareholders instead. Remember that when you clip Bugs Bunny to your tits, dahlinks!

    • The Kraken says:

      Christ, I’d love to see stats on how much money goes to breast cancer causes and how much money goes to the shareholders.

  3. I’ve never heard of this before, what a bizarre thing. It’s both sexualising and infantilising at the same time which is just…eugh. I feel ill.

  4. It’s disgusting. The imagery of it. I think everyone is fully aware of Breast Cancer now. I cannot stand it when the big companies endorse things by donating 0.0001p for every sixteen bottles of Fairy Washing Up liquid etc. I feel like doing a spot of pink bunny boiling a la Fatal Attraction!

  5. Andy says:

    I have no idea what the preferred colour schemes are for Movember or any of the other prostrate cancer charity campaigns. I’m prepared to bet that men don’t have to conform to a single colour though.

    I wouldn’t be so hard on the charity for associating with a company that is also making some money. I’ve worked as fundraiser for a health charity so I know hard it is. I would have put my own face on pink bunnies to get that level of profile or donations from P&G. You were going to buy washing up liquid anyway so what is wrong with buying one that donates to charity? I have a far bigger problem with the charities that get chosen by these big companies, it is always ‘kids, kittens or cancer’. When have you ever seen these companies backing a domestic abuse charity or one that rehabilitates people released from prison or drug addicts? They can’t put it on their CSR statement in the shiny company brochure so they go for safe options every time.

  6. Angeline says:

    This gets right up my fucking honker. It’s all a money making marketing ploy where the money will not all go to the cause and they know this. How do they know it? Because as you say, it’s too close to the fucking playboy bunny which funds that fucker of a pimp, to continue with his commercial sexual exploitation that so many fall in to. Advertisers and marketers know this but they don’t care, all they want is the money. Great post! Sorry for the rant and I hope it makes sense!

  7. Christine says:

    They are clearly having a fucking giraffe like.

    Also what’s fucking cute or generative of “breast cancer awareness” watching a pink nylon bunny drown in nork sweat or be crushed to (metaphorical) death?

  8. AnneMarie says:

    I’m sure I didn’t need to comment to toss my support behind this… You already know where I stand on pink, on sexualizing, infantilizing, PROFITING … basically turning me, you, all.. into a “for profit commodity” rather than a woman with a disease….

    This is as irritating as the pink blazers being sold to the funeral directors…… Actually, I think the funeral directors beat everyone…

    Rant on… RANT ON!!!

  9. Karen Jones says:

    Hi, I’m a product developer in the UK and have to clarify Louise’s point on profit. If the product is £8, our lovely government take £1.33 in VAT leaving £6.66 for the retailer, who needs an absolute minimum of 50% margin, which will leave £3.33 for the manufacturer, who will then pay the £1 to the charity of choice. This leaves £2.33 to manufacture, package and ship the product. Most charity products donate less than 10% to charity so a pound out of eight seems generous.
    Sorry about all the numbers. Here’s some easy ones, 1 in 3 of you may be glad of the manufacturers who do support charity over the ones who don’t in your lifetime, but it’s 100% your choice what you spend your money on!

    • The Kraken says:

      Thanks for your comments m’love. Much appreciated, of course and I’m sure Louise Bolotin will be along in a bit to discuss it.

    • Louise B. says:

      Thanks, Karen, for the numbers clarification, the minutiae of which I’d rantily skated over earlier although I’d seriously question the need for an online retailer to have a minimum 50% margin – Amazon didn’t become the biggest online shop on the planet by insisting on 50% margins.

      But it’s not about the money. It’s about cynical companies selling crap to women that we don’t need, for a cause we feel emotionally bludgeoned into supporting, in a colour we really fucking hate.

      It’s about businesses bandwagonning in the extreme to hitch their trailers to a cause they can exploit and repackaging a devastating and often fatal illness into something twee and sexy they can make money out of.

      If companies genuinely cared, they’d simply pledge to donate a slice of their profits to the medical research charities to support their vital work. It’s not difficult, plenty of companies manage it. Or they get their staff to choose a charity to support for a year and then work to raise money for it through their own efforts instead of peddling frivolities in the name of affiliation and pretending they give a shit about more than their shareholders.

      Instead they behave like snake-oil salesmen – “buy this, we know you don’t really need it but you’ll feel so much better if you do” – and hope we won’t notice that all this capitalism dressed up as caring is a total sham. Frankly, I’m not so stupid or easily hoodwinked into thinking that the washing-up liquid donating 0.00001p for every 10,000 bottles sold is a better buy than the one that isn’t. I’m going to buy the brand I trust, and by trust I mean trust to get my dishes clean. I don’t trust any of them when it comes to behaving ethically in the name of charity.

      I do support charity, of course I do. I give time, money and my professional expertise regularly to a medical cause very close to my heart. For the other charities that fall across my radar sporadically I prefer to stick money in the collecting tin, knowing it’s going directly to the charity concerned and not to a company siphoning off profit from it and flogging me some fluffy shite toy.

      That “1 in 3″ comment of yours is exactly the kind of emotional blackmail around charity that makes me spit in fury, with its snide implication that 2/3rds of us don’t support good causes or the companies that do (see my above comment about how more ethical businesses get stuck in). And it neatly sidesteps the fact that most women aren’t taken in by the pink marketing bullshit being peddled in the name of cancer.

  10. Sarah Miles says:

    What made me cross the other day was that as I was trying to buy a card from the strggling Clintons I was asked if I also wanted to buy a (pink) pen to support breast cancer. It made me so mad that in front of a queue of people I was made to seem either uncaring and unsupportive or made to buy a pen I didn’t want. I almost blurted out ‘but I do the Race for Life and I’ve just signed up for the Moonwalk and I am not an unfeeling bitch, really’. But I didn’t, because why the hell should I have to justify myself? Wherever you go now tillpoints are littered with boxes of pens, ribbons, badges, fluffy things etc to buy so you can show how charitble you are. Surely it’s better just to stick a few quid in a box so at least they get all the cash.

    And don’t get me started on the packs of stickers, pens, keyrings, umbrellas (wtf?) that get posted through my door as a ‘gift’ from a charity and will I please donate £2 a month? Grrrr….

  11. Karen Jones says:

    Louise, the 1 in 3 comment wasn’t a reference to the proportion of people who support charity; it was a reference to the number of people who suffer cancer.
    I’m sure I will fuel your commercially induced ‘rage on the world’ by saying this, but the big ‘C’ does have the ability to make one grateful for every penny donated regardless of how. If you don’t see this right now, then stick around, because sadly there is a high chance you or someone you know will bring it to your door at some point in your life. I suspect you will be less likely to rip into anything which raises money for cures then; or maybe you won’t.
    Your argument on retail margin is simply naïve. A retailer will not and cannot afford to give shop space to products which don’t make margin. It is just business; ask someone you trust who will corroborate this for you.
    As for your pink argument, it is the charities who dictate the colour of choice not the manufacturers. The pink ribbon, internationally recognised for breast cancer awareness was not invented by Procter & Gambel. No person should be offended at the use of pink, you may associate it with juvenile things and feel it is condescending but it is a visual and symbolic element of the cause. To change it would do nothing to help the charities.
    I completely understand any argument about donating directly to charity rather than buying endorsed products but there are clearly insufficient people dipping into their pockets. Consequently, charities are reliant on endorsing products to raise additional funds and are constantly seeking innovative ways to tempt people to part with their cash. ‘Cause related marketing’ is a two-way street for both the charities and the manufacturers.
    If you don’t like the products then you shouldn’t buy them and seriously, don’t fuck around with charities but do check for lumps.

    • Louise B. says:

      Thanks for your patronising reply. I watched my father-in-law die of cancer over the best part of a year so I do have direct experience of the devastation it brings. And funnily enough, not only do I check for lumps but I had one removed 4 years ago. It’s probably not a good idea for anyone to make sweeping assumptions about someone’s experience without knowing them.

      That aside, it changes nothing regarding my views. If anything it hardens them because of my personal experience. I’m well aware that campaign colours are chosen by charities themselves and not big business – I think you missed my point that it’s those big businesses that exploit the pink though (and yes, shame on Breast Cancer Awareness for picking such a vile, little-girl, sexist colour). And really, it’s not about the colour – once again, you’ve ignored my arguments about companies flogging tat – yes, tat – in the name of a cause and making profits from it.

      Charity fundraising is not a two-way street, it’s a three-way street. You seem to have forgotten to mention donors and it doesn’t take a lot of searching on the internet to uncover that most women don’t like the pink marketing bullshit. Under such circumstances, it’s not surprising certain charities are struggling to find innovative ways to raise money. Certainly, sticking to a formula that increasingly turns women off is not the way forward.

  12. Karen Jones says:

    Louise, the ‘two-way street’ metaphor means it is a reciprocal arrangement i.e. the companies make some profit and the charities get their donations. Look-up ‘cause related marketing’ on Wikipedia it will explain the synergy between the organisations.
    I am surprised your argument is not with companies that make huge profits and give nothing, rather than companies who want to link with a good cause in some way for mutual benefit. Running any business in a socially conscious way should not be criticised.

    The fact you find the colour pink disagreeable and in some way ‘sexist’ is a little odd but I shall leave that for someone else to tackle.

    The companies, you refer to as, ‘selling tat’, I am presuming you are obviously including those that produce pin badges, charity wristbands and poppies? Or have you found some great use for these besides raising awareness and a few million quid?

    I guess you perform this type of controversial writing for a living in some way and I appreciate your opinions written in this way are entertaining, but is there not a level of social responsibility bestowed upon you? i.e. is it not over-stepping the mark a little to discourage anyone to support worthy charities?
    Items considered ‘Tat’ by you may be good enough for someone to donate that extra pound they otherwise wouldn’t.
    As a courtesy I shall leave this here for you to have the last word, which I am sure, will be one of your defining moments.

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