Thursday, September 08, 2011

and so it begins

Received September 6:

Hi Laurie,

Would you be interested in guest blogging for us in October? I have some fun ways to make it a great partnership for both of us AND for the fight against breast cancer. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you the proposal!

Julia Fikse

Ta-tas® Brand
Laughter Heals®
Save the Ta-tas Foundation

Sent September 8:
Dear Julia,

No thank you. I suspect that you didn't really look at my blog before making this offer. I have metastatic breast cancer - long past the stage where "saving the ta-tas" is an issue.  I may have lost a ta-ta (despite your best efforts) but I am alive, which is what matters.

Also, while I do  have a pretty good sense of  humour, I don't find your products to be amusing (actually, I find those in the men's section to be distasteful and insensitive). I'd prefer to encourage my readers to donate to organizations that really make a difference and use all the funds (as opposed to 5% of sales) for advocacy, awareness, research and building community.

very sincerely,



Katie said...

EXCELLENT! I know several people who have gotten the same request. Funny, mine must be lost in the ether...


laurie said...

SNORT. Or they're scared of you. I want to make them scared of me, too.

Katie said...

I think you've done it. :)

Marlene said...

Happy to hear you declined Laurie - you're so right... saving 'tata's' is waaay down on the list for those of us with mets. There is little fun in fighting cancer and staying alive. I found their products pretty offensive as well - bumper stickers? boob lube? - give me a break.

laurie said...


Julia said...

Hi Laurie,

You guys seem to think me reaching out to you and asking you to share your voice is a bad thing. Wow, that strikes me as very sad. Who else is trying to bridge the gap? And why wouldn't we want to?

As you move into this Pinktober, since "verbiage" is so important to you, Let's have some fun with verbiage.

"commit" "pledge" "dedicate" "profits" "proceeds"... make your own list. What does 100% (or any %) of any of these words even mean? WHAT IS THE $$ figure actually attached at the end of the year? Does anyone ever know?

We've given almost 3/4 of a million dollars to fight cancer in a world where save the ta-tas could be "just for awareness" and that would be just fine, no donation necessary. Not me. I am not an armchair activist who sits in a room and types away thinking words are enough. Nor am I someone who believes in awareness for the sake of awareness. I donate. I donate a lot at great sacrifice. Whether or not you believe that is beside the point.

So, even though "saving the ta-tas" is not a priority for you, I hope you at least can be aware that through save the ta-tas, A LOT of good is being done so that one day no one will have to go through what you are enduring right now.

I'm very sorry cancer has harmed you. Which is one of the many reasons why my brand and our commitment to ending this devastating disease stands firm.

Julia Fikse

laurie said...

Hi Julia- the products on this page are at best insensitive to anyone who has lost a breast or two to cancer: I can't endorse this stuff.

I think it's funny that you think "verbiage" is important to me (although I can't remember saying that). I'm a writer, I use words. I'm not ashamed of that. And I weigh my words before I go public.

I don't know if this makes me an "armchair activist" - write from a comfy couch but I do lots of things from outside it. And I try to live and write by the values I espouse.

It was pretty clear from your pitch that you sent the same message out to all "cancer bloggers" without stopping to think if it would be well received.

I'm sorry this one-size-fits all approach has backfired.

BTW - I'll be captaining a team called No Pink for Profit in this year's Run for the Cure. Last yearm, we raised almost $20,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. We've quite a ways to go before reaching that goal again this year. You can find us at

Anonymous said...

You go,girl!!!

I guess my invitation got lost, too. Of course, I am something of a competitor as the "I Hate Breast Cancer Foundation" is a proud purveyor of the "Wear Black & Save the Rack" MBC Bracelets:

Zoom said...

Right on, Laurie. I went and looked at the products on their men's page and wasn't amused at all, despite my excellent sense of humour and my fondness for verbiage.

Sassymonkey said...

Last I checked I don't have "ta-tas." I have breasts.

Nili said...

Tatas?! My two year old daughter says nipples and breasts. Not to poo poo her efforts to raise funds, but the infantilization of women's health issues is outrageous. Pinktober save-the-tatas sounds like an Atwood-esque vision of a misogynist, brainwashed, colour-coded society. Just sayin'

laurie said...

OK- the ihatebreastcancerpost on saving the rack for mets is PRICELESS. see, i do have a sense of humour. got a few posts brewing now but i have to write one that links to that. you really are awesome.

Zoom- some of my best friends are fond of verbiage.

And yes Nili and S'Monkey: we call 'em breasts in my house too.

CancerCultureChronicles said...

Laurie - I too received the same email from Save The Ta Ta's. Having just recently lost the use of my hand due to my metastatic breast cancer, I was trying very hard to think how "fun" my collaboration with the Ta Ta's for-profit brand could be. Thanks to you though for saving me the trouble of responding to their ridiculous request for guest blog content. I know my response wouldn't have been quite so polite, and my verbiage might have started with the letters "F" and "O". As to the Ta Ta's response here in the comments? Sanctimonious, is a word that springs to mind. Step off the blogs and peddle your tawdry little products elsewhere.

Jody said...

Laurie, Cancer Culture Chronicles, I Hate Breast Cancer....

Keep on rocking. Keep on writing.

And a few SNORTS are good for all of us.


Cindy said...

Thanks for turning down the ta ta's company.

My family was SO disappointed when I didn't LOVE my Christmas gift one year -- a "ta-ta's" tee. I've begun to feel like you either "get it" or you don't -----

AND why do so many people gift ME pink ribbon stuff??? If you're going to buy it, keep it for yourself, please.

I'm glad FB has helped my find people who "get it".

The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...

I've lost friends over the fact that I am offended by the whole "ta-tas" approach. It is offensive. Their products are offensive. Great response.

Katie said...

It's funny to me that Ms Fiske seems to think that "bridging the gap" means that we (or rather, those of you who were invited) provide her blog with free content and, therefore, publicity.

Keep singing it Laurie. You speak for a whole lot of us. And when Ms Fiske's brand is threatened, she will try to persuade, discredit or co-opt.


Shari said...

I think if they no longer had both of their breasts, they wouldn't talk that way. Those mens t~shirts were so tacky. Jugs?? Really?? Uggh! People are clueless. When I had my surgery 8 years ago the doctor actually said, "Well, we put them through the meat grinder to be able to disect them and see what was in there." Seriously?

Sweet Camden Lass said...

It'll be the coppafeel (no, really, that is what it's called) charity next (the ones who, if you're running a half marathon for them, suggest that you run it with a giant foam breast attached to your front. Yup).

There's raising awareness, and then there's doing it with a degree of awareness.

The Cancer Assassin said...

"Ta-Ta's"!!! Really?
Bridging the gap??? Does she mean dumbing down the words "metastatic breast cancer" so that uneducated, insensitive, immature people who are afraid to call a body part a real name and who probably still "doody" and "pee-pee" can understand that it is "um, bad umkay". But then again it is only "bad" to them because they might not get to have any more "ta-ta's" to look at or play with or exploit.
It seems only secondary that you should save the actual LIFE of the person who's "ta-ta's" are also in jeopardy or who's "ta-ta's" are KILLING them...but who cares about that or about all of the rest of the collateral damage and trauma to not only the person who's "ta-ta's" are in danger, but to EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING around them.
Hey, you might no be able to LIVE but at least you still have your "ta-ta's", right? It is as if keeping your breasts on your body is more important than keeping your LIFE.
F the "ta-ta's", save your LIFE.
Ta-Ta's indeed.
This lady is one SICK individual.
My cancer is not breast cancer, however I am completely saddened and outraged that people and organizations feel that this is "bridging the gap".
Call them BREASTS people, sometimes they can KILL you or try their damnedest to do so. This is NOT cute, funny, punchy, or mature, and it certainly does not "bridge a gap" of any kind. All it does is support and perpetuate sexism. I have never been a woman who has been easily offended by sexist language or by sexist commentary (I grew up with a bunch of men in my life, no girl cousins or family, all guys. So I am very accustomed to that type of language) but THIS among other breast cancer "awareness" organizations out there is HIGHLY OFFENSIVE. Having been "touched" by cancer as well (even though it is not breast cancer, excuse me, "ta-ta" cancer, I well know that cancer KILLS and that if you have it saving your "ta-ta's" when they are trying to kill you is most likely the last thing on your mind.

We can only find mature answers to mature problems if we seek them in a mature way.

Thank you for rejecting her offer, many kudos to you!

CancerCultureChronicles said...

Hey Sweet Camden Lass....your post reminded me of an awareness raising event I imagined for my local town recently.....visuals included!

nancyspoint said...

I loved your response, although I think you were too nice/professional! Ms. Fikse truly does not "get it."

When are we going to stop "dumbing down" breast terminology and trivializing breast cancer?

I didn't receive the special invite you did, now I'm kind of wishing I had! I'm ready if and when!

JuliaR said...

Very interesting, and all the comments too. I have just started a philosophy course (at Carleton) on ethics and this subject might make an interesting "problem" around which one can argue "what is The Good?"

On another note, I am trying to imagine a corresponding male campaign, perhaps for testicular cancer, although it's not really comparable. Yikes, is all I can say.

Anonymous said...

Laurie - you are awesome! C xo

Pink Ribbon Blues said...

I'm so glad you wrote this. There are many organizations that have been trolling for free content and publicity from bloggers. Ta-tas is one of them. I'm glad you revealed this. And indeed, trolling is not the same thing as "reaching out." They have more to gain from a bloggers endorsement than the blogger does from their association with the organization.

As for the money and the message, well that would take some time but your other commenters certainly got at some of the key points!

Anonymous said...

Laurie, this one is for you and Rach!

laurie said...

Thanks so much to each and every one of you. I feel like I've found my tribe. I fervently wish none of us had such an intimate knowledge of cancer but I am so moved by all your angry voices. And to those of you with mets - I am so damn proud of you for speaking with such clarity and dignity.

Alli said...

I received the same invitation the other day in my email I read and thought OK I don't like the name of Save the TaTa's my BREASTS were too sick to be far as using the term PINKTOBER?? Please that makes me gag like eating an over dose of Candy Floss..
I don't know going through the treatments of Surgery Chemo and lets not forget the treatment many women go through taking Arimidex Tamoxifen etc with joint & bone pain somehow just does not give me tickles & giggles.
This Pink washing is beyond what most breast cancer patients need. I am not Mets but most of my friends are...Do something for them
As for your products Are you kidding?? Save a life GROPE YOUR WIFE??? Who comes up with this crap?
Please let me say no more except I will be informing my friends to boycott these products!

Beth L. Gainer said...

Bravo, Laurie! The Tatas people really have nerve, don't they? They add insult to physical and emotional injury.

I had a preventive double mastectomy with reconstruction, considering my cancer history.

You see, my "tatas" tried to kill me.

Education begins young. My threeyear-old girl calls breasts "boobies." While she picks this up from other kids and doesn't know the harm that term causes, I still correct her everytime, telling her, "They are called breasts."

I want her to be enlightened.

Thanks for an excellent posting and keep fighting those weird groups!!

Lene Andersen said...

oy. Just.... oy.

and did Julie just call you "an armchair activist"?? Does she know that's just going to piss people off even more?

AlisonH said...

I found her response so condescending; I wonder if she can even see that. Wow. Thank you for calling them out on what they're doing and for speaking up. Meantime, my very best wishes to you in your fight.

Ana Marie said...

i dunno maybe you should have guest blogged to show your opinion to those visiting the site.. i have said before i am so guilty of buying into that whole save the sweater meat..wear pink or die.. campaign.. it was until my dad got and died from kidney cancer.. and that is just one cancer you can't sexualize..that's when i understood no cancer is sexy or should be sexualized .. and really what are those shirts, ribbons, signs doing to help the cause... NOTHING...creating awareness? yeah we get it...boobs are important.. but so are kidneys, livers, lungs and every other part of our bodies... i won't support that movement any more... but i think your guest blog could have done some good in getting your message across...

joinourloop said...

Sigh. My honest feelings. Don't hate me.

laurie said...

Ana Marie- I appreciate your point. I just think that guest-blogging would be the same as an endorsement. I can't imagine that I could have written a blog post saying "don't buy this crap." But I do think it's important to educate, not alienate which is why I choose to be part of a No Pink for Profit team in the Run for the Cure. I want to be constructive and I don't want to hurt people but I stand by my reasons for rejecting this offer.