Q: What does Bruce Jenner’s hair, breast cancer, and Ebola all have in common?
A: They’re all terrifying, trending, and there’s seemingly nothing we can do about any of them.
Let’s break this down, one by one, for shits, giggles, and possibly the initiation of a full-blow existential crisis.
1) Bruce Jenner’s hair: I’ll give you that the former Olympian’s attempts at clinging to his former Adonis(ish) self is heart-breaking. Sure, he looks like a bad replica of Michael Jackson circa “This is It,” (OUCH!) but what is truly horrifying is that HIS HAIR IS HEADLINE NEWS. Not kidding — over the past weekend, Bruce Jenner was trending because he wore it long and loose at an Elton John contest. (Once you’re a Buzzfeed list, replete with faux-gif, you are THE TREND.) Just Google “Bruce Jenner’s Hair” and you’ll get 2,430,000 results.
Bruce’s mane is just the tip of the troubling iceberg; we fixate on superficial stories (i.e., Kim and North’s matching sheer-black ensembles, Kendall’s modeling career, Khloe’s bad boyfriend but good car choices) as our world literally falls apart.
Meanwhile, in other news, despite our bombing attempts to curtail their horrible advance, Isis is still bringing in $1,000,000 a day, and the barbarians have taken over Northern Iraq, Northern Syria, and now are moving into Turkey, some Nobel Prizes have been awarded, and ….
2) Ebola has arrived on our shores: The worst outbreak in history was brought to Dallas by a man infected in Liberia, earning him the distinction of being the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in America. (Sadly, he just passed away.) While Ebola is believed to be transmitted by contact with bodily fluids, it is not fully proved that “aerosol transmission” (coughing, sneezing) is off the table. We know some, but not all, of what makes this disease tick. The CDC assures us that this disease is unlikely to become a major threat in the developed world, but that doesn’t stop our hearts from breaking over the devastating statistics — in West Africa alone, nearly 50% of those infected have died so far, and of those, 75% are women, since females are generally the caretakers and in closest proximity to the diseased. (Shout out to BUST magazine for getting the facts straight on Ebola.) Which brings me to…
3) Breast Cancer: It’s that time of the year again! Breast Cancer Awareness is all the rage — particularly for those brands that are into oxymoronic (emphasis on MORONIC) exercises. Take for example, the NFL. It’s recent blind-eye turning when it came to one predominately female issue (domestic violence) has been left behind in nasty old September (they wish) and now it’s onward to putting big, butch men in pink to help raise money to “Crucial Catch” Breast Cancer. (That’s a really bad name for a program to raise funds for early detection, as it implies somehow that one can catch breast cancer, but the NFL’s marketing has a tendency to miss the goal post by about a mile anyways. On a side note, props to P&G Crest for bailing on the NFL’s Pink Initiative before their association back-fired by pissing off moms everywhere.)
The NFL isn’t the only brand desperate to have the pink glow effect support their sales and reputation: while brands like KFC and Progresso are legendary for pink-washing their not-so-healthy (putting that mildly) products, this year, JC Penney rolled out a particularly awful breast cancer awareness ad campaign that included “inadvertent sexism and cultural tone deafness.”
Look, I’m all for raising money to cure cancer, but is it just me that feels like there’s so much more sexy in racing to find a cure than in actually curing the disease itself?
I have several BBFs who have survived this horrible disease. Thanks to social media, even friends I haven’t seen in a while allow me to offer support when they share pics of themselves going through the horrors of the disease, or rocking a bald head on #TBT, or asking whomever is willing to share a prayer during the darkest hours.
We are aware… and sometimes that awareness, especially when used as a marketing ploy –as my BBF who recently completed chemo said, “My personal favorites are the plastic water bottles” — just serves to make everything a whole lot worse.
Plus the only real awareness that matters are these stats as of September 2014 from cancer.org:
• About 232,570 new cases of invasive breast cancer
• About 62,570 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the breast will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
• About 40,000 deaths from breast cancer
• Cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.
As much as I’m intrigued by a “custom motorcycle raising breast cancer awareness,” or the Redskins hosting their annual breast cancer awareness game, or Timberland boots wanting to stomp out breast cancer, or the WWE’s new partnership with Komen (“rise above cancer,” featuring more butch men in pink tops), I surrender to the race to find the cure, and once again set my sights on someday finding it.
So if you see me hoarding rabbit’s feet, 4-leaf clovers, and evil eyes, just know that October can be one scary month, and we all could use a little luck to make it through. Because when Bruce Jenner’s hair, Ebola, and breast cancer share banner headlines, we have to wonder what our world is coming to… choose positive thoughts (i.e., at least Bruce’s flowing mane is better than a bad perm!), offer prayers, and carry on doing our best to keep the world a healthy and safe place.