Is Tickled Pink's Fashion Frolic With Breast Cancer A Turnoff?

Breast Cancer Is Not A Fashion Frolic

For starters, no right-minded person with an ounce of sensitivity would ever use ‘tickled pink’ and ‘breast cancer’ in the same sentence. For every photographer, artist and lover of women — including women ourselves — who touches my heart by leaving a Facebook message that says “Anne, you are beloved for what you are doing for women”, another reaches out to me in a very different way.

Any artist who reads AOC at length and follows my fight for women’s freedom in body and spirit would know that being ‘Tickled Pink Over Breast Cancer Awareness’ is an editorial concept that might fall on deaf ears with me.

Ever the optimist, I’m a firm believer in not shooting the messenger with the exception of a select few photographers, so I will not address the photographer or TV host who produced this editorial. Google search can be a powerful negative for artists, and I have no desire to inflict personal harm here.

BCABPP: Breast Cancer Survivors Make Art Out of Battle

Instead, I will try to create a teaching moment, an opportunity to give voice to my good friends breast cancer survivor and model Ellen Gondola (who remains hot, sexy, and full of spunk) and Pompano Beach photographer and UNCOMMON Gallery owner Michael D. Colanero. I met up with Ellen and Michael about a year ago, when the photographer posted on my FB wall:

“It took facebook 186 THOUSAND SIGNATURES and TWO MONTHS to remove PRO-RAPE group pages - yet survivor images in the Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project (BCABPP) were deleted less then 24 hours after being posted… SERIOUSLY WTF!!!!”

Well that post got my attention!! I wrote in-depth about the LUDICROUS problems the BCABPP experienced on Facebook, and we have all been fast friends ever since.

Is Pink Losing Its Lustre?

AOC maintains a continued focus on the Komen Foundation’s attempt to discredit and defund Planned Parenthood. One can’t write about the pink ribbon, breast cancer machine that is Komen without entering the passionate waters of anti-pink sentiment about the ‘tickled pink’ breast cancer fundraising industry.

Within this context, I will write no more about ‘Tickled Pink’ and give the digital floor to Ellen Gondola, of the Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project (BCABPP) and founder Michael D. Colanero. Both are far more adept at commenting on this editorial than I am.

Ellen Gondola reacts to ‘Tickled Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness’

First of all… I’m sick of pink!!! ( as are most of my “survivor sisters” ) We gag at the sight of it, and October only makes it worse. Second of all, except for the “painted” ribbon, there is nothing other than the title page that says this is for breast cancer awareness. UGH…..

I’m tired of ‘celebs’ that could use their fame for better purpose *say raising funds here* rather than a photo shoot to glamorize themselves! Did she really need another photo spread?? What about a public service message to her fan base about getting a mammogram….in a stupid pink dress.

The pink bra…. great shot! So, she’s got fabulous boobs? The coat with “implied” no panties?? Oh yea, that says breast cancer awareness to me, lol!! :/ I’m sure it rings out to every one else too. And please, sit down, while I tell you what I think about that pink paint she’s playing with…GGGRRRrrrrrr (^^^)

Anne, you know I often ‘hold my tongue’ ( oh yea, sure I do!! lmbo!!) and I could go on and on… but I think you get my drift here. If not, let me know, and I will tell you more…

Love you, my dear friend!! ~ Ellen Gondola on Facebook

Michael D. Colanero reacts to ‘Tickled Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness’

As a photographer and creative and not a survivor - I have mixed thoughts on these types of photoshoots…. Seems every year I see models and photographers collaborating to do breast cancer awareness images. I do think awareness comes in many forms and if the photographer or model was touched in some way I understand it. But when it looks more like a Maxim shoot in pink it just seems to loose the impact to me. Although, all the images are very nice technically and ascetically I think it comes literally too close to “pink washing”. I also think it’s a positive thing for her to harness her visibility and clout for a good cause - so where do you draw the line? Isn’t awareness prior to diagnosis important - meaning not every project has to include survivors but i think it should at least somehow closer relate to their experience and not trivialize the topic.

I’ve seen others that are more a general celebration of breasts and the female form as well and appreciating still having natural healthy breasts so I think that’s just a different approach as well and not really related.

I’m just so sick of photo shoots with pink boxing gloves and a pretty model wrapped in a pink ribbon. I’m not sure if I’m offended by the lack of reality to the cause or the lack of creativity as well - I think it’s both. I think for me it’s like awareness fast food… it’s a drive thru approach to awareness and I prefer a shoot that inspires much more thought and questions.

This shoot to me just falls into the equivalent of “pink noise” and it really don’t inspire anyone to self check or get a mammogram or anything but make the people involved feel like they are supporting the cause.

Can I bash a project with good intention though? I’m not sure… because ours is also a fast food society and if projects like this didn’t happen at all, I think there would be a void of information about the challenges of this disease that hits one in eight women. It’s hard to balance the void vs noise that makes no impact. There is also a segment of the population that wants to be aware but in a very sterilized way. There needs to be a way to spoon feed them too I think.

That’s also part of what I think makes my Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project (BCABPP) so unique and powerful. There is the balance of the reality and the beautiful without being either shocking or trivial. It’s also much more of an art therapy experience both for the survivors and the viewers. When I look at this series I fail to see how anyone would really be moved or inspired - even if it is all pretty. Perhaps if it was a bit more of an editorial… the beautiful photos but also some text with strong impactful statistics for weight and relevance.

Thanks for giving me the floor, Anne. ~ Michael D. Colanero on Facebook