Seeing RED (I mean, PINK)—2016, "True Toughness" Edition

In which Ford's pink commercial yells at us to be tough AND smile. And in which I begin with a rant and end with a meditation on what it really means to "be tough."


  1. One morning, during #Pinktober 2016, even though I do not follow the Ford Trucks (or any other Ford or vehicle) Twitter account, this showed up in my Twitter timeline:
  2. I was not able to make it past a few frames. And I refuse to go back and even try to watch any more of it.
  3. It immediately brought to mind the "Breast Cancer She-ro."
  4. I took to Google and was shocked to find out that the women yelling at me/us were actually breast cancer survivors and co-survivors.
  5. I felt betrayed.
  6. And, I saw that I was not alone in my impressions. To wit, a selection of reactions from fellow advocates:
  7. Not surprising that Karuna Jaggar brings up the environmental toxin connection—after all, she schooled The Daily Show audience on Komen's pink drill bits a few years ago.
  8. Kathy Gori nailed it and brandished the #BreastCancerRealityCheck:
  9. Then came the canned brand-strategy/corporate-speak response, including millennial/social-media-literate emojis.
  10. I would like to know: Who is this "we"?
  11. And what does this even mean?
  12. Leave it to Rachel Webb to ask the blatant question:
  13. And to Kathy Gori to take it systemic:
  14. Kathy's "how we're supposed 2 react to cancer" is connected to the myth of the She-ro—the rosy cheeked, smiling, conquering, enthusiastic, healthy and full-of-energy, bandana-wearing (to make you think she's bald from chemo) model/actress who poses triumphantly in all of those commercials for all that pink crap.
  15. God-forbid cancer is represented by an unsmiling, exhausted, drawn, sick, and desperately miserable nauseous woman (or man, for that matter) just trying to get through the next sixty seconds.