Friday, May 18, 2012


I am delighted to share some snark from the other side of the Atlantic.  Below, is a post written by a new Italian friend. We "met" on twitter.  She posted a You Tube video.  I saw it and I responded.  We began communicating.  Her English is impeccable.  My Italian is NOT.  In our first email, I knew she would fit right in!

"I'm against the pink crap as well as you and I'd like to promote a new approach to research whose agenda should be dictated by women and researchers at the same time.......  Are you in touch with the people of "Pink Ribbons Inc?"  It would be great to bring it to Europe.  There's a great, cold silence here and I've decided to break it!"

Grazia (Grace) is presently 32 years old.  She's Italian and currently lives in the UK.  She was 30 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2010.  She writes.  The piece below can be found online here.  Grazia was kind enough to translate it into English to be reprinted here for all of us.

The You Tube promotional video is at the bottom of the post.  Even though it is in Italian, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Trust me, you'll get the picture.

Without further adieu, here's Grazia in her own words with very few grammatical adjustments from me.  I didn't want to lose the snark......


 Got breast cancer? Are you a woman? You are at risk to get the disease considering that nowadays in Italy one in eight women will develop the disease throughout her lifetime? Vileda (O Cedar in the US) has what you need! Yes, you’ve got it right!  Vileda, the mop company. Today, in they year 2012, if you buy bucket, brush and mop, all in pink for the occasion, you support cancer research. What research? The research funded by Susan G. Komen Italy, the first European affiliate of the more reknowned US organization Susan G Komen for the Cure. The latter has recently been in the eye of the storm.  In order to promote its campaign against breast cancer, Komen is not ashamed to accept the sponsorship of fast food chains or  the food and cosmetic industry, even those whose products contain chemicals suspected to be related to breast cancer. The “cause”, the so called pink-ribbon culture promoted by Komen, is receiving increasingly strong criticism from many people.  There are now thousands of products sold not only in the US, but also in Europe and in Italy getting restyled to promote the “battle” against breast cancer. All the products turn pink, the colour symbolizing feminity, at least in the Western world, pink... representing a tamed female who is not expected to ask too many questions. Questions like:

“Why are the cases of breast cancer growing?” 
“Why are a growing number of young women getting the disease?”
“Why, after decades of research, we still do not know the causes of breast cancer?”

Since February 2000, Komen is in Italy too and every year it organizes the “Race for the Cure”, whose aim – as one can read on the website – is to “express solidarity among women faced with breast cancer and to raise public awareness on the importance of prevention”. The race(s), however, are an occasion for promoting various goods to women, the manufacturers of which support the event. This year Vileda is among the sponsors and introduced its “Pink Collection” which includes Super Mocho 3 Action, the gloves Sensitive, the brush viStyle and the cotton and microfiber mop. All strictly pink. All strictly for women, whether or not they have breast cancer, women who will be happy to buy and use them to keep their houses clean– the place whose domain has been assigned to them by nature –.  And even if they DO get breast cancer, they will not feel lonely. To keep them company there will be millions of other women currently developing the disease in increasing numbers in Italy and in the world, there will be Komen who will give them the opportunity to join a race once a year. Oh yes, there will be the pink Super Mocho 3 Action, their faithful ally, that, like a magic wand, will fight breast cancer off forever. And they all lived happily ever after.

As I was finishing up this piece to post, I received an email from Grazia..... It said:

"Komen Italia has banned me from its Facebook page. I cannot post on their wall. This is because of the article, but also because of a post I wrote on the wall of Rosanna Banfi, an Italian TV actress who got breast cancer and is now a spokesperson for Komen. Some women agreed with what I wrote. The actress has not banned me so far."

It brings Grazia's own words alive in describing the use of pink as a representation of a "tamed female who is not expected to ask too many questions."  I loved that line in the post and didn't want to add commentary but then I got this email.  And it fits.  


Apparently, in Italy, it's either sex or it's cleaning.  (Chill before you yell, I'm ITALIAN AMERICAN and this is not entirely inaccurate....)  Unless you are someone like Grazia, making noise, looking to change things.....   Just one question:  Can someone shed some light on the nun and the priest?  I'm not sure I get that.

Race for the Cure, Rome.  This Sunday.  Bari, Next Sunday.  The remaining two, just in time for Pinktober.  I wonder if they will get the Pope to turn the Vatican pink?  Perhaps the cardinals can be flamingos for a month??  Just throwin out a few suggestions...... Anyone up for a friendly wager?

Final thought.... Be sure to check out Barbara Brenner's blog.  She was the head of Breast Cancer Action and remains VERY outspoken and exceptionally eloquent.  She has what I'd like to call a "starring role" in Pink Ribbons Inc!

The CYA portion of the blog including a link to the Vileda page .....

Here's Vileda via Google Translate.

Sustainability in the post, we mentioned our partnership with Susan G. Komen Italy. It's time to give some more details.

Komen Italy is a non-profit volunteer-based, active since 2000 in fighting breast cancer. This is the first European affiliate of the "Susan G. Komen for the Cure "in Dallas, the largest institution in the world active in this field for 30 years. Komen is committed to spreading the "Pink Ribbon", the universal symbol of the fight against breast cancer, its activities are: prevention, early detection, help women who face the disease, improve quality of care and support new projects through fundraising.

Support important activities, such as Komen, reflects our policy of sustainability, we are sensitive to these issues and, therefore, we initiated a multi-year partnership to support the initiatives of the association. From this partnership was born "Project Pink" initiative, which aims to raise awareness on the prevention and raise funds for the fight against cancer.

Of this project are part of the product "Pink Line", distinguished by color and by the special Komen ribbon:

• Sensitive Gloves: Gloves are ideal for the most delicate because they offer the highest sensitivity on palm;

• Broom ViStyle: the broom multifunction "Three is" for 3 utlizzi different. Made with 80% recycled material.

Choose Pink Line products is to make a choice in favor of women.

Soon will start the 2012 edition of the Race for the Cure. We'll provide all the details below to find out how to attend the event.
And an apparent press release, also via Google Translate....

Race for the Cure 2012: Run with us against breast cancer!
Our partnership with Komen Italy does not stop at the line of products Rosa, but continues with participation in Race for the Cure, an event organized by the Susan G. Komen Italy consisting of a run of 5 km, to demonstrate solidarity with the women who face breast cancer and raise awareness on the importance of prevention.

The event, open to all, is characterized by the presence of "Ladies in Pink", women who have personally dealt with breast cancer and to demonstrate the positive way of dealing with the illness, deliberately choose to become visible when wearing a shirt and a pink hat.

The first Race for the Cure was organized in 1982 in the United States, and since then the event involves millions of people in different cities around the world. In Italy, the first race was held in Rome in 2000 and, given the enormous success, the event was staged in other Italian cities.

This year, consists of a three-day health, wellness and sport, culminating in the famous race and walk Sunday morning. Here is the schedule of the four stages of 2012:

• From 18 to 20 May in Rome

• From May 25 to 27 in Bari

• From 28 to 30 September in Bologna

• From 5 to 7 October in Naples

For more information and to register, vai the site, select the menu "The Race for the Cure", choose one of the stages and, after entering the page, click on "Subscribe" button.

In addition to the race of Rome, we are planning to involve all our Facebook fan page Vileda: You can, in fact, join groups as a real team. For this, we would like to collect all our fans in one mega team and race together against breast cancer!

Want to join us? Then go to / ViledaItalia and put "like". You will be with the other, an event that combines sport, fun, emotion and social commitment, and support us with Komen in its activities in favor of women. We count on you!


  1. First off, I love the story of how you met your new friend online - each time I hear a story like this, I get a new thrill of excitement at the power of the internet to connect us globally! I didn't know that Komen had any affiliates outside of the US - a fact which has always made me more reluctant to comment too much on their activities for fear I am being presumptous or arrogant or misunderstanding of cultural nuances. So, it's very interesting for me to read about their infiltration of Europe! If I am reluctant to comment on Komen sometimes, I have no problems commenting on my abhorence of the pinkification of breast cancer in more general terms and once again your post reminds me of just what I find so sickening about it - gloves and brooms indeed! This was such a terrifically well researched and put together post Anne Marie and it is good for me after my hiatus from the wider blogosphere over the past month or so, to come back and find you in fine voice again :-) Marie x

    1. Thanks, Marie..... I've invented a few new words while you were doing an excellent job on the Health Writing Challenge....


      When this stops... we will have meaningful change and hopefully, we will stop having lives stolen....

      Love to you


    2. Ok, so I usually don't express strong opinions in the public forum but this post and video made me see beyond pink - I saw RED! I also grew up in an Italian American home and all my life saw how women were secondary to their men. Is all that pink stuff supposed to make it more fun to clean? Another story - no comment on that. And an observation on the priest/nun part - my opinion may be politically/religiously over your guidelines. If so, I understand if you don't post this. The priest oogling the nun with the very visible large breasts and then raising his eyes heavenward - this to me is yet another negative hit on the Catholic Church. There was no reason to put that segment into the ad. With that being said, I am not a fan of Susan G.Komen - I wasn't even before I discovered your posts. So I'm glad to know there's validity to my aversion to them. Because I recently stepped into the breast cancer arena I am so grateful to have come across your site and to learn the difference between "awareness" and "research", how to understand the significance of the pink ribbon - products & organizations to support and not support. Thank you for all your research and information that gave me the knowledge (to a degree) and courage to begin becoming my own advocate. Thank you. And it is so cool to be able to be in contact with so many different people for support.

    3. Hi You!

      I'm glad to see your comment!!! Somehow, google thought it was spam!! I am glad for your comments on that scene with the nun and the priest. I have replayed that part of the video SEVERAL times trying to find another interpretation. But, there is none (nun, pun?). That scene had NO place in this video....

      And no... I don't take your remarks as a political/religious "debate" ... It was an observation and a keen one, at that.

      As for seeing RED... I guess that's why this blog has a bold red background!!! I didn't know it at the time I was designing my first posts were mostly wisecracks about all of the stupidity that goes along with chemobrain. Something happened along the way...... and Now..... I'm on a mission... Glad you are by my side!!!


  2. Ciao! Yes, Komen is in Europe too, in Germany and Italy (don't know if I can post the link) and there's been a race for the cure in Sarajevo. Another one has been organized in Jerusalem.
    I was really happy to meet AnneMarie. I used to feel scared every time I learned that another woman had died of breast cancer. Yesterday when I heard of Donna Summer, I felt sorry, terribly sorry, but not scared. Maybe it's because now I know that I can share my view of my disease and my fight to END and not just to cure breast cancer with other women, even if they live far away from me. Thanks! Grazia

    1. Grazia...

      Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this with me and for translating your words. We just have to keep making noise. I'm happy we met, too!


  3. I felt so compelled to comment about this entry. It really has put into prospective how breast cancer has struck all over the globe. It shows more & more how much a cure needs to be found, much sooner than later. Anne Marie, keep making all the noise you can to get the funds where they belong. Put up a big, big PINK STINK. I never dreamt when I was first diagnosed in 1988, that there would be so little progress all these years later. To see my girls go through what I foolishly thought would end with me was & is devistating. But, to see them stand tall and help others going through this is rewarding. Especially all you are doing, Anne Marie. I'm sure your Dad is smiling down on you.
    I love you. Mom xoxoxox

    1. Thanks, Mom..... and really, the thanks goes to Grazia for putting that video on twitter to show all of us that this is a global problem. I'm in this now... and I'm in it for the long haul....

      I love you.... xoxox

  4. Mama mia!! I need to call my Italian American relatives now so they can reacquaint me with some good old-fashioned Italian cuss words. But, believe me, I remember several Italian gestures which I am sitting here making at Komen and that cursed video! Donna Summer's death made me so sad, too. She and I grew up in Boston around the same time, so she's like one of my home girls. Grazia, I love the name of your blog!! Furious Amazon indeed! Grazie mille, Bella. You, too, AM, as always.


    1. Kathi, ciao bella!

      I am SO glad you came over here! When I saw Grazia's name, of COURSE you were the first person I thought of!!!! She's got snark and she knows how to use it (insert tune)......

      Re: The bad words... I remember ALL of THOSE! Likely it's because I remember my grandmother cursing someone. She was so awesome. Never took shit from ANYONE... right up til she died at 94 years old....

      Baci a ti,

  5. Ciao Kathi! Let's make to Komen those Italian gestures all together! ;)


  6. Mamma mia! I can't believe that video! The nun and priest seen was reprehensible. You're right: the next move will be to pinkify the Vatican. Now there's a thought. Let's ban birth control, but sponsor breast-related alerts. How sad is that! Anyway, thanks for opening our eyes to further rubbish. Italian this time. Probably Portuguese the next. Ciao. xx Jan

    1. There is a comment above that was in the "spam" section..... Nataline has her take on the priest and the nun. I can't tell you how many times I watched that portion of the video trying to think if there was ANY other possible meaning.....

      Time to take back the ribbon. Globally....


  7. Ciao, bellas.

    So, as it happens, I'm reading a novel that's set in Sicily, and I came upon a fantastic Sicilian curse. It's doesn't entirely fit the context, but it was so good, I had to share it anyway:

    “Cu al sangu sò fa mali / mori mangiatu da li maiali,” or “He who harms his own flesh and blood/ shall be eaten by pigs and die.”

    Bacibaci, girls!

    1. Kathi!!!

      I didn't want to SHARE the STUFF I recall being said when I was growing up. I remember the phrases well. As I got older, I remember putting some of the words together and shaking my head..... No one is more colorful with the curse phrases than the Italians.... We can't simply have a word or two... Always complete and very visually acute phrases.....It always involved bleeding from the eyes... or something to do with those who were already deceased. I think I'll go throw Moonstruck in the DVD player.


  8. LOL!! There's certainly no ambiguity when it comes to Italian curses!! I kept thinking of that scene in Moonstruck, when the old lady is putting a curse on the plane...


    1. Was thinking of that same scene!!! or... "ya got a love bite on your neck" ....

  9. It's like way fun to get off the actual subject and share ethnic heritage. My grandmother, who must now be a saint, never let a swear word pass her lips, but my grandfather - now he could swear! And it's all been passed down in the family!

    1. Ha!!! In my family, it was THE OPPOSITE.... My dad's mom was .... ummm for lack of a better word, "colorful" ..... and they weren't light, wimpy colors either!!!

      Laughing and sharing is good... they become the bonds that tie us together.


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