Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fuck Cancer

So, as I've been setting up my FYeahJewelry shop on Etsy, I've been doing the typical sleuthing.

Well, atypical. I don't normally look for fuck jewelry. That's one of my challenges in figuring out how to market my jewelry online. Everyone who sees it in person loves it, but most people don't realize they need or want fuck jewelry. Until they see it that is.

Anyway, I was searching Etsy for fuck. Technically you're not allowed to say fuck in the title or tags, so I didn't. At first. Then I found out that plenty of people say fuck. So I've been experimenting with my tags to see what happens.

But guess what many people are fucking doing? Or fucking making? Search Etsy for fuck and you'll find a whole lot of fuck cancer jewelry.

I have mixed feelings about this.

Side A: artisans deserve to get paid for their work every bit as much as anyone else. If there is a demand for fuck cancer charms and jewelry, then obviously someone should fill that demand.

Side B: Oh my FUCK I am so, SO angry about the marketing of cancer. Watch Pink Ribbons Inc. I've always thought it was really fucking lame that Yoplait asks people to mail in their icky yogurt caps for a few pennies towards cancer research (why not just donate a percentage of sales?). But it is even lamer that their yogurt (until recently) contained bovine growth hormone...which, according to the incredibly unremarkable amount of real research funded given the INSANE amount of money raised through "pink-washing"... CAUSES CANCER. Basically, companies just slap pink ribbons on their products and watch sales rise - even products of dubious safety. Cosmetics seem to be the worst. Meanwhile, real activism, real research and real progress have all stalled because people feel like they are doing their part in the "fight" against cancer by buying pink shit.
When my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago, I researched the different organizations to see where my donation would be most useful. Komen failed, even before they started doing stupid shit like defunding cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood sites. I chose National Breast Cancer Coalition because they had a firm goal (end breast cancer by 2020!) and (at the time) a great rating on Charity Navigator. But then. Fuck. I should never have liked their Facebook page. Because what popped up?

Fucking pink bottled water. NBCC was proudly promoting Nestle bottled water because 5 cents or something ridiculous like that from every 6-pack sold would benefit NBCC. I commented that people should drink tap water and donate their $5 of water money directly to research instead of Nestle. That way, less plastic and pollution would be produced, too.

My comment was deleted. The whole system is beyond fucked.
Then a few weeks ago, a friend found out his dad has cancer. Serious cancer. I made him a fuck cancer charm because I'm just not a Hallmark type of girl. He soon asked for more fuck cancer charms for his family.
So, since it is the type of affirmation I would want in that situation, and others seem to feel the same, I am going to list my fuck cancer charms in my Etsy shop. I can't list items as free, but the deal is, you can have a charm for the cost of shipping if you or a loved one has cancer. I hope you'll donate to cancer research if you can. I even hope you'll buy some of my other jewelry if it strikes your fancy. Although my argument for Side B is far more passionate, I am a Side A artisan who has to eat too. But I can't stand the idea of profiting from cancer.
Post script: I wanted to offer the fuck cancer charms as a gift, but that didn't work out so well. Etsy is a marketplace, not a charity. So while I priced the charms to just cover shipping costs and seller fees, buyers didn't really understand this, and I found myself having to defend (?!) my price - a price that actually meant I was losing time and money rather quickly. Since I'm hardly profiting at my regular prices, I've decided to treat the fuck cancer charms like any other product. I will not be getting rich off cancer. But to keep the production of these charms viable, I have to treat it like any other business transaction.