Who needs fat hair? Or the color pink for that matter?
That’s what Grandpa Thorson (my Dad’s Dad) used to say when we’d tell him his hair was getting thin. “Who needs fat hair?”
Five years ago I had my head shaved before starting chemo, and what was left of it fell out all at once one morning in the shower. Imagine that: wiping your hand across your damp head and having every hair come out in your hand. Loads of fun and hard on the shower drain.
Right now I’m going with Grandpa and my hair is thinning. I had my hair cut short, but not shaved, figuring that a little lighter load on the folicles might make it last longer. It seems like I’m losing the grey hairs first, which isn’t a bad thing except that my head is about 40% grey, so that could make for some blank patches pretty soon. On the other hand, I have very thick hair to start with, so maybe I have a few weeks before I have to shave and resort to head coverings again.
So, what I’m really wondering is what else they can think of to make this whole journey degrading for women. Here’s a few they’re already doing:
- Making you bald.
- Sitting you in giant chairs and making you feel like a toddler.
- Assuming you like pink, even if you don’t.
Which leads me to my rant about pink in general. I really dislike it when people try to sell pink things under the pretense of making money for breast cancer — pink batteries, pink M&Ms, pink can openers, pink blenders, pink flip-flops, pink wine (when alcohol is one of the things breast cancer patients can’t have), pink pink pink.
And October. BAH HUMBUG! Yes, that’s the month I can look forward to getting a reminder of my disease every time I turn on the computer, radio, or television, or go to the grocery store. I mean, just when I’m forgetting about cancer, there it is IN MY FACE. All of you with hemorrhoids… Would you like to have brown-ribbon month? Walk down the street forgetting about your discomfort and then have someone shove a brown ribbon in your face bringing everything to mind once again? Probably not. How would men react if we gave them baby blue ribbons and sold baby blue shaving cream for testicular cancer awareness? Not all that well. So why do women put up with such treatment?
I understand the need to raise money, and I know there are many people with rare types of cancer who would love to have some sort of dedicated ribbon and month, but I don’t understand the need to make cancer pink and pretty. I can’t say it any better than Barbara Ehrenreich did in her great article called “Welcome to Cancerland: A Mammogram Leads to a Cult of Pink Kitsch.”
I know some of you have heard this rant before, so you can ignore me. I always run the risk of insulting the well-meaning — those who just want to do something to help. I really don’t have a problem people buying pink things with good intentions; I have a problem with the gross commercialization. I don’t like being made to feel like a little girl when my hair is falling out and I feel like crap most of the time. I also dislike, as Ehrenreich says, the infantalization of the breast cancer patient. What I’d really like is a little dignity so I can face this disease like an adult.
Then again, most babies are bald, so why not infantalize the bald female adult population? Apparently many women like to be made into little girls by large corporations. Count me and my un-fat hair out.