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Allison Pearson “blames” society & men for breast cancer

September 3, 2009

After reading Allison Pearson’s latest offering in the Mail, you are left wondering whether she actually understands what cancer is. Her title: “Don’t blame overworked mothers for this cruel disease” has several things wrong with it. Firstly, not every case of breast cancer is down to being overworked or being a mother. Secondly, the World Cancer Research Fund, whose advice Allison is referring to in the title, are not “blaming” cancer on anybody, they are merely offering advice on how women can cut the risk of contracting cancer. Cancer cannot be ‘blamed’ on anybody, it is a cruel disease that can strike often randomly without prior family history or any other medical explanation, to suggest that cancer is someones fault is cruel and ignorant.

In fact, the premise of her article is ridiculous. It is based on her assumption that the latest findings from the WCRF are a direct attack on overworked mothers, “blaming” them for their unhealthy lifestyles and therefore “blaming” them for increasing their risk of breast cancer. She rambles:

How easy it is for scientists to put out the message that Lazy, Binge-Drinking, Bottle-Feeding, Selfish Cows Get Breast Cancer.

Now, I have only had a brief look at the WCRF report, but I can tell you that “Lazy, Binge-Drinking, Bottle-Feeding, Selfish Cows Get Breast Cancer” wasn’t the title. Nor, I can say with a degree of confidence, was that phrase used it the report at all.

Anyway, after concluding that the nasty WCRF are wrong to, in her eyes, “blame” overworked mothers for breast cancer, she goes on to blame society and men for it instead:

It’s time the experts from the World Cancer Research Fund started to be more honest about what really ails us. Breast cancer is a disease of the modern, multi-tasking world which is still largely run by men and organised with the needs of men in mind.

I really don’t know what to say to that, it seems that regardless of whatever the WCRF may publish as findings at the end of extensive research, Allison has convinced herself that it is societies fault that women get breast cancer, and no advice she is given will convince her to the contary.

She finishes:

Yes, a few more leafy vegetables and regular exercise would undoubtedly help. So would swapping white wine for fizzy elderflower.

But how about improving the quality of a life that is driving us to drink.

Which makes her sound like a stubborn child, refusing to listen to advice given to her; advice telling her that there are simple things she can do to help herself. Instead she chooses to blame someone else, pass the buck to them, telling them it’s their problem to sort out. Now if that’s the attitude she wants to have – fine, but to use her national newspaper column to convince other women that the WCRF is conducting some kind of witch hunt against the ordinary working mum and to ignore their advice is irresponsible and shameful.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 4, 2010 2:21 am

    j8E1OD Thank you for the material. Do you mind if I posted it in her blog, of course, with reference to your site?

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