Monday, July 11, 2005


I attended the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Houston kickoff luncheon today. Very nice. Artista, the restaurant in the Hobby Center. (Tres leches. Tres bien.) It's a very good cause, okay? I know that. But one's observations need not be awash in pink just because one agrees with something in principle.

Witness the birth of Ladylike Activism.
(I am laying claim to the phrase.)
All these otherwise middle-class (and on up) white women who don't seem inclined to political rabble-rousing have taken up this issue with a coordinated vengeance. And swathed it in cotton-candy pink organza. And icing. And matching purses, jackets and ribbons, let's not forget the ribbons.

Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment has, historically, suffered from sexism. There's nothing earthshaking about that fact. Many illnesses specific to women took a back seat to issues that affected men or the population in general. That trend is reversing at a debatable speed because women got angry. But like many female-driven movements spurred by a "hell no, we're not going to take it anymore," this one has toned down to a demureness that I find unsettling.

We should not remain furious all the time because that's impractical and exhausting. I just think we need to rinse out some of the sugar (or nutrasweet, godforbid we lose our girlish figures) and remember that this is still a young fight. Houston is one of the most active and successful Komen affliates in the country yet Race for the Cure has only been here for 15 years. Part of the reason we're facing an epidemic of breast cancer is because we're so far behind in research funding. We're so far behind in research funding because this was a female problem and, in the past, women (and their health issues) were dismissed or ignored. And we sure didn't talk about female parts publicly. Ick.

I'm glad the Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure is around. I'm just tired of all this candy-coated, ladylike behavior.

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