Breast Cancer Pink

Kate co-composed Breast Cancer Pink with Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta while Chelsey was going through treatment for young adult breast cancer. Breast Cancer Pink represents the liberatory potential of expressing anger: it narrates Chelsey’s story as a form of defiant speech that reframes her breast cancer experience on her terms while resisting normative pink narratives. By articulating her experiences of breast cancer through the creative force of her own story, feelings, and language, composing and recording this song helped Chelsey counteract the physical and emotional helplessness she experienced in relation to her diagnosis and treatment and the pink culture into which she was involuntarily thrust. As a cultural text and a refusal to participate in and support pink culture, Breast Cancer Pink responds to the dearth of breast cancer narratives focused on young women’s lives and bodies and departs from gendered expectations around how to appropriately narrate one’s breast cancer experience. Produced by Adam Popowitz and Kate Reid; sound engineering by Adam Popowitz.

Breast Cancer Pink Lyrics
I think I’ve got everything under control
It’s going to be fine; it’s going to be fine
I’m just trying to find a way to hide this new body of mine
I’ve got me some of those loose-fitting, with-the-sleeves-rolled-up-
Hipster-boyfriend-button-down shirts to pull around my chest
Shirts that make me look like I wouldn’t
If you saw me undressed

But there’s one more problem, I want to feel normal again,
I want to look normal again
I want to look like what people expect normal should look like
Whatever normal should look like, what does that look like?
I need to fill in this space the surgery left behind
Something to cover up this scar zigzagging across my ribcage and my mind

Chorus
Cuz they took my left tit away
Like they didn’t even give a shit
And I’m on the brink of a fit of rage
Cuz all I’m surrounded with is
Breast cancer pink

At the lingerie store it’s all about the perfect rack
From that straight male fantasy
Whether it’s Victoria’s Secret, or the store for women like me
With partial mastectomies
But excuse me, what’s so perfect about
Bras for chicks with no left tit, trying to make me look all flawless
This is one more space in which my body just doesn’t fit

Chorus
Cuz they took my left tit away
Like they didn’t even give a shit
And I’m on the brink of a fit of rage
Cuz all I’m surrounded with is
Breast cancer pink

Everywhere I turn all I see is this ghastly pastel shade
Pink bows, pink lace, pink ribbons, pink panties all over the place
What’s any self-respecting, no-left-breasted, post-structural feminist supposed to think?
What can I say?
This gendered cancer game feels like a straitjacket to me

Bridge
And they call us all warriors, as if we’re fighting a war
Then they call us badass survivors when we don’t die
Well, warriors don’t wear pink lace lingerie
And survivors don’t hide behind little bows
So gimme some underwear with attitude
Gimme some red and black gitch
Stitch it up with rhinestones and spikes
But nothing proper and nothing lady-like, no!

Chorus
Cuz they took my left tit away
Like they didn’t even give a shit
And I’m on the brink of a fit of rage
Cuz all I’m surrounded with is
Breast cancer pink

Breast Cancer Pink

by Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta & Kate Reid

More Research