Forget trying to control the big issues. Love, job, health: we all know they can be wrecked in an instant by something we never spotted coming over the horizon to cause us to tumble from some high hill of complacency. But the little issues – can’t we have some sort of control over them? I’m coming to terms with a big one – a cancer diagnosis – and learning fast why a patient is called just that. Because you have to be. But in the midst of it a little issue is looming very large that makes me very impatient indeed. And that issue is pink - the colour pink. I don’t want my world coloured pink. Yet because of my diagnosis, that is exactly what is happening.
Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer I am bombarded by pink. Pink ribbons, pink logos, pink arm bands. There’s a box of them in the hospital clinic; there’s email full of the stuff, especially now it’s October and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. Wear It Pink screams the message I got from the charity Breast Cancer Campaign the other day in advance of 24 October, the day it has designated for wearing the sickly shade as an attempt to heighten awareness of this disease.
I would find this obsession with pink more acceptable if it were one of those delicate, subtle colours based on the flower Pink. Or the rich, reddish hue of a flamingo. No, this is the in-your-face, glow-in-the-dark pink you find in toy shops. Or more accurately in the area assigned to girls, full of My Little Pony and princess dross.
As a child I loathed the pink-is-for-girls, blue-is-for-boys nonsense, and I still can’t bear it now. Because I’m ill with something that’s ripped through a part of my body that, yes, does remind everyone I’m female, I now have to endure bombardment with a loathsome colour that should be dumped in a junkyard called gender stereotyping.
It’s bad enough when little girls are made to feel they are only little girls if they indulge in pseudo-nurturing games with dolls and are dressed in a colour that says “Silly, trivial little you”, but do grown women enduring treatments like chemotherapy have to undergo this Barbification too? Does it reveal that for all the supposed efforts made at encouraging us to be active in our treatment choices, the medical profession would really like us to not worry our little heads about anything and leave it up the people in charge?
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 14 best beauty buys
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 14 best beauty buys
1/9 Unite Detangler
Anyone else battle to brush their children's hair before school? This genius brush glides through wet and dry hair like a dream, prevents split ends and reduces breakage. 70p from all brushes sold will go to the San Diego-based foundation Keep A Breast. £13, urbanretreat.co.uk
2/9 Bobbi Brown Pretty Pink Ribbon Lipgloss Collection
Here's a limited edition collection of four gorgeous glosses from hot to pale pink. There's a sheer gloss, a regular gloss, a high shimmer and a slightly shimmery one. From every collection sold, Bobbi Brown will donate £5 to Breast Cancer Research Foundation. £35, bobbibrown.co.uk
3/9 Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II with Pink Ribbon Keychain
Multi-award-winning, this is simply beauty sleep in a bottle. Innovative technology addresses all visible signs of ageing – all those fine lines and wrinkles we accumulate, so you wake up looking refreshed and radiant. 20 per cent from every sale in the UK will go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation. £69 for 50ml, esteelauder.co.uk
4/9 Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum
Another award-winning beauty treat, this is a must buy for anyone with sensitive skin prone to flareups and redness. Irritated skin is calmed and soothed with this beautifully scented serum. And £5 from every bottle sold in the UK in October will go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation. £53 for 30ml, darphin.co.uk
5/9 Sew Lomax Raspberry Pop Pouch
Sew Lomax create homemade, wittily stitched ethical bags and from every hot pink Raspberry Pop Pouch sold between September 15th and November 15th, £12 will go straight to the Pink Ribbon Foundation. £25, sewlomax.com
6/9 Evelyn Lauder and Elizabeth Hurley Dream Colour Collection
Add a pop of pink to your wardrobe with this two-toned fold-over clutch with asymmetrical zip, containing Pure Color Lipstick in Dream Pink and two miniature Pure Color Nail Laquers in Berry Hot and Blushing Lilac. 20% from every sale in the UK will go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation £28, selfridges.com
7/9 Origins Drink Up Hydrating Lip Balm in Berry Splash
Give dry winter lips a surge of moisture with this lip quenching sheer tinted balm, packed with aloe vera, apricot kernel and avocado oils, plus barley wheat germ and orange peel to protect against future dryness. Slightly minty and tingly, it plumps up for a pillowy pout. Origins will donate £2.50 from every UK purchase throughout October to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. £16, origins.co.uk
8/9 Jo Malone Red Roses Cologne
Seven of the world's most exquisite roses blended with violet and a hint of zingy zesty lemon make this one of Jo Malone's most beautiful fragrances. And during October she's donating a whopping £20 from every bottle sold to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. £82 for 100ml, jomalone.co.uk
Light, airy and non-sticky, this hydrating, boldly pigmented Be Legendary Lip Gloss is available in a limited edition pretty pink shade, Promise. From every gloss sold, £5 will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. £15, smashbox.co.uk
Well, I’m sorry, I’m not prepared to be a Disney princess. I won’t be wearing anything made from that mass-manufactured pink. The only pink lady I find appealing is the one made from gin and grenadine. Now that’s a pink – a rich orangey one - that will really cheer you up, even when facing a scourge of an illness that half a million women in Britain alone are living with. And I’ll certainly raise a glass of it to the researchers committed to beating this illness. But please – scrap that hideous shade and let those of us afflicted still be grown-up women.
Catherine Pepinster is the Editor of The TabletReuse content