This past week, I couldn’t help but follow the controversy surrounding the Susan G. Komen Foundation in spite of my own antipathy towards the color pink. I heartily support battling cancer in all its forms; however, I just prefer greens and blues in my life. Reds make me anxious.
Blame this on the color of choice of editing writing, or the fact that I have called Missouri, an unabashedly red state, home for much of my life. Nonetheless, any red hue sets me on edge. Yet, while in Chicago this past weekend, I let my guard down.
Standing in the kitchen with my brother’s fiancée and a married woman who was a friend of the family (I will call them Shelley and Kelly, respectively) we discussed a cartoon by Scott Stantis in the Chicago Tribune. In this editorial cartoon, Stantis depicts an anthropomorphic pink ribbon drop-kicking a fetus into a trashcan labeled “Planned Parenthood.” What is the cartoon saying about the services of Planned Parenthood? Is Stantis trying to portray the Komen Foundation as a heartless co-conspirator running with the pro-choice crowd? We never discussed those subjects, and I am to blame for this. As the only male in the conversation, I was worried about disagreeing with either woman. Oh, and I was standing next to Benedict Arnold.
Kelly, the friend of the family, and an older woman, took the expected, Midwestern conservative stance. She talked about how she was pro-life, and had no idea that the Komen Foundation supported abortion. I tried to chime in about the mammogram services they were funding, and how the Komen Foundation really supported its own cause, the battle against breast cancer. I didn’t want to fight too hard, since I had no numbers to support my claims and most of my information came from this Jezebel article, where, I must be honest, the comments by OKFineFrank at the end were the most fascinating part for me. No offense at all intended for the author, Ms. Ryan, but it’s hard to compete with a tenacious, obnoxious commentator.
I also thought I had an ally next to me, in Shelley. She is an intelligent, religious modern woman who, as a young adult, has begun a career as an educator. I figured that her personal feelings could be either pro-life or pro-choice, but assumed politically, it was a given that Shelley was pro-choice. When both women agreed that they could never participate in a walk again, I nodded along, interested at how they could come to the same decision by different principles. When Kelly elaborated that it was because the Komen Foundation had waffled and pledged once again to give money to Planned Parenthood, Shelley continued to agree, and I had a sinking feeling. I realized I had a redcoat and a turncoat on my hands.
Regretfully, I retreated from the battle, with the phrase, “you don’t have a uterus, so you don’t get an opinion,” ringing in my ears. To their credit, neither Kelly nor Shelley said this to me. A version of that gem was in the comment thread following the Jezebel article. The best part: it was said by someone claiming to be a man (Rawr84 if you want to hunt for it).
Since when does anatomy dictate how informed an individual can be? Can ignorant people with blue eyes make whatever laws they want about blue eyes? Does not having male genitalia bar you from having an opinion on male genitalia, much less voting on any laws regarding them? Just as importantly, why attack anyone on what they lack physically, when what they lack mentally is the real problem?
If Mitt Romney can put his two cents in, then I need to find the cojones to stick up for my beliefs too. That man believes that the “very poor” have a safety net (held up by, I can only assume, Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy). What else has he deluded himself about? I am ashamed by my own silence, when the opinions of the uninformed are so loud. Dividing up, men against women, Republicans against Democrats, redcoats versus revolutionaries, and yelling at each other across battle lines solves nothing. Rather, I want to believe that standing in the kitchen with the people you love and respect, having a rational discussion might succeed where inflammatory speech has not. I just don’t know, though, because I lacked both a uterus and a tongue.
The Komen Foundation “exists for only one reason: to save lives and to end breast cancer forever.”
As far as that goal is concerned, and you can read more at that link, it appears that it insures that the funds it gives/gave to Planned Parenthood are used specifically for furthering that goal among the impoverished. It would appear that mammograms are NOT given at Planned Parenthood sites, but other cancer-combating services are.
Thank you to all the fact-checkers.