Melissa here, with an important reminder about The Underbelly and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As you well know, this is a very busy, fast-paced time of year in the breast cancer community. Everyone involved is juggling a lot! We certainly are. I want to take a moment and share a message that means a lot to me and my co-founders.
Speak truth to bullshit – Brene Brown
The proliferation of false information is at epidemic levels these days. This won’t end well if we don’t participate in combating fake facts. We must continue to spread accurate information if we stand any chance of moving the needle in the breast cancer narrative. As critical thinking individuals, we are each responsible for our conclusions (right or wrong). We must be accountable when it comes to sharing misinformed statements, wildly inaccurate remarks and straight up lies about breast cancer. The spreading of inaccurate information regarding breast cancer is pervasive. At the very least, realizing we are mistaken when we are mistaken and course correcting is a personal responsibility. There is nothing damning about being mistaken, if you realize the mistake and cease to further perpetuate it.
October is incredibly polarizing in the breast cancer community. For the most part, it has a strong “you’re either with us or against us” vibe. Join us or be left behind essentially (from both sides). This is doing very little to help us come together and achieve the outcome we all desire…no more deaths. It’s as though we are enemies when really we ought to be bannermen because we are bound by the same disease.
What’s the best we can do? Speak truth to bullshit! (Thank you Brene Brown)
Know where the information you’re sharing is coming from. Be prepared to back up your information with a source. Share FACTS. Critical thinking requires COURAGE as our friend Dr. Brown says. Call out falsehoods while maintaining civility. If you are sharing feelings and beliefs about breast cancer, be sure to identify that they are your personal feelings and beliefs and remember, that doesn’t make them true or factual and it isn’t your job to convince anyone to share the same feelings and beliefs as you. If someone presents you with evidence to the contrary, be permeable. GET CURIOUS! Be willing to consider that your strongly held belief could be misguided. Be a sponge. Take the information in. Follow-up by looking into it and be willing to change your mind. It’s okay to change our minds. That’s one of the most wonderful freedoms of being thinking beings with the ability to reason and make sense of things.
Purchase and give responsibly. Ask the ever important questions: #WhyIsThisPink? Where does the money go? Who does the money help? If you can answer those questions AND still buy or give with a good conscience, excellent! If you can’t, then you’ve made an informed consumer choice and that is responsible. When considering donating to nonprofits, check out Charity Navigator for their ratings. Feel free to join our campaign, for the second year in a row, that calls attention to pink merchandise that does not clearly indicate how it is helping the breast cancer community. In other words, pinkwashing.
Lastly, if you can’t play nice, I won’t think twice about quietly removing your ability to comment on our platforms. Our mission (shining a light in the darkness that is breast cancer) is far too important and we have lost far too many friends to spend excessive amounts of time trying to convince someone of a fact. That’s not our job. I will also remind readers that we are a team of five women. Three of whom are living with metastatic breast cancer. We are all advocates in our own right. We are well-versed in the statistics, data, the latest research and well-known breast cancer organizations. So, we certainly know a thing or two. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.
Melissa McAllister, Co-Founder & Editor