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Beneath the Shadow of the Pink Ribbon: The Underlying Culture of Breast Cancer Awareness - Theresa Sciaraffa

recurring see all events in this series

When: Thursday, October 3, 2019
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM  

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, 1st floor/Searle Room, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: FREE

Contact: Myria Knox   312.503.7962

Group: Medical Humanities & Bioethics Lunchtime Montgomery Lectures

Category: Academic


The Master of Arts in Medical Humanities & Bioethics


A Montgomery Lecture


Theresa Sciaraffa, MA, MS, CGC
Genetic Counselor
Obstetrics and Gynecology – Cancer Genetics
Northwestern Medical Group

Beneath the Shadow of the Pink Ribbon:
The Underlying Culture of Breast Cancer Awareness

Since its emergence in 1992, the pink ribbon has become the iconic symbol of breast cancer awareness, transforming a humble grassroots movement into a full-fledged philanthropic empire.  Whether donned on a runner’s bib during a local “Race for the Cure” or adhered to the label of a Campbell’s soup can in a neighborhood grocery store, the pink ribbon consistently reminds us that 1 in every 8 American women will develop breast cancer. Yet, although it represents an inherent biological threat, the pink ribbon is nonetheless regarded by many as a sign of hope, courage, and, ultimately, survival. Its continued dominance in contemporary society has maintained breast cancer’s positioning at the top of the social agenda while simultaneously catalyzing American society’s passionate response to a disease that kills approximately 41,000 women annually.

In recent years, however, a growing resistance towards the ubiquitous pink ribbon has begun to emerge, with many women (breast cancer patients, “survivors,” and outsiders alike) speaking out against its seemingly altruistic and communitarian mission to shed light on poignant aspects of the breast cancer experience that the pink ribbon blatantly ignores.

On this, the first week of “Pinktober” 2019, join us as we journey into the shadow beneath the pink ribbon to explore the increasingly problematic nature of the culture surrounding breast cancer awareness, paying particular attention to the underlying social, cultural, and political implications for women with the disease. Be prepared to “think beyond pink….”


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