In October 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Over the next year, I was treated with chemotherapy, multiple surgeries including a lumpectomy and node dissection followed by a mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction, and ongoing hormone therapy. I lost my hair, my health, and my carefree outlook on life. When I told people I had breast cancer, their jaws dropped, and most of the time "But you're so young!" flew out of their mouths.
There have been many poignant critiques of the pink ribbon phenomenon. It has been brought to light that many companies that attach pink ribbons to their products actually donate very little to breast cancer research, but instead use the pink ribbon as a way to increase their profit margins (check out the amazing film, Pink Ribbons Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy, and the Bay Area organization Breast Cancer Action). Since my cancer diagnosis, I have felt intensely aggravated and shamed by the ubiquitous presence of pink ribbons, the corporatization of breast cancer, and "pink directives" to avoid breast cancer by exercising, not smoking, reducing alcohol, and staying slim. I did everything right, and I still ended up with breast cancer, years before I even would have begun routine screening! Worse, amid the smiling women featured on pink ribbon ads and the hopeful slogans and stories, I rarely saw young, feminist, queer, sad, or angry patients. The media portrayal of women with breast cancer almost always depicts women as positive and joyful, sometimes even grateful for their diagnosis. I did not see myself in these narratives: I did not feel positive or happy about my diagnosis. All I felt was fear, anger, loneliness and intense grief. So, I coped by blogging.
I blogged a whole lot, and my friend Kate, who happens to be a singer-songwriter, read my cancer blogs. She was so inspired by one of my blogs that she asked me if we could get together and write a song about it. And so, Breast Cancer Pink was born. I listen to it ALL THE TIME. Thousands of times. Millions of times. Day and night, in the car, while I'm studying, walking, riding my bike, and while I make dinner. I love it. The song has been studio-recorded and now, we want to make a music video.
The song has been an integral part of my healing process, and I cannot wait to share it with others dealing with breast cancer. Kate and I hope that the music video reaches many people dealing with breast cancer. It is our wish that the song and video mitigates the experiences of those who have breast cancer, and that it helps them feel a little less alienated. We also hope that this project opens up a space that encourages people to think differently about prevailing messages and narratives surrounding breast cancer.
Our budget to make the video is as follows:
BUDGET- BREAST CANCER PINK MUSIC VIDEO
Full Day Shoot - Empty Cup Media : $1,250
Editing (24 Hours) - Empty Cup Media : $105 x 24 hours = $2,520
Travel - Empty Cup Media : $1,750
Accommodations/food - Empty Cup Media : $ 480
Musicians - Full Day : $150 x 4 = $ 600
(Percussion, bass, cello, electric guitar)
Risks and challenges
Of course, we know that producing a music video won't be easy. We've already identified a media company- Empty Cup Media- to work with us, and many local young adults who have had cancer have agreed to participate. We know that this will be an intimate and challenging process as we address an issue that is so close to our hearts, and we are excited to produce the video. After we produce Breast Cancer Pink, we plan on sharing it over social media and with networks of people dealing with and working on breast cancer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)