Saturday, 30 May 2015

Reflections on the Pink Army | Metaphors and Meanings

My Race for Life tattoo and finishing medal 
A couple of weeks ago I took part in the Falmouth Race for Life event (see Blog entry 15/02/2015 for previous mention of this). As ever I was struck by how emotional the experience was and I beat my best time (just) arriving at the finish line after completing the 5K route in just over 40 minutes.

This year's theme for R4L is a military one. The running, jogging, walking women - along with their children, dogs, prams - are collectively referred to as the 'Pink Army' and each runner is issued with a pink glove and a number of temporary tattoos (I must admit to missing mine somewhat when the last traces were washed away five days after the race). This year's finishers' medals are fashioned in the form of a dog tag.

Me and other members of the 'pink army'

I have mixed feelings about both the colour (I like pink, I do, but it really isn't the only colour that women wear . . . ) and  the military metaphor. It seems I'm not alone in this for as noted in a recent post by @mosaicscience there has been much written in the last 40 plus years by people with cancer and other diseases arguing against  warfare metaphors. And yet it seems that although there are many that dislike their body being compared to a battleground, and prefer to speak of 'journeys' or 'pathways' rather than 'fights' and 'battles', there are many others who feel empowered in thinking that they are 'keeping up the fight' or in being described as 'a trooper'.

Like me (see Blog entries 05/04/15 and 11/04/15) Mosaic:the science of life suggest that metaphors are useful and help us through difficult times such as illness, loss and grief and different metaphors work for different people. The thing to remember is the need to be sensitive too what works for others as well as what works for you.

Ohh and  in case anyone is wondering I didn't get around to ironing the T-shirt. . . .

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