Kael 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 Kael Reid; sound engineering by Adam Popowitz.
Breast Cancer Pink
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
The Love Booth and Other Plays is a set of seven short, multi-media plays written by Tara Goldstein with contributions from Jenny Salisbury and Alec Butler about queer and trans activism in the early LGBTQ liberation movement.
Making space for children to represent themselves, their own voices, and their own lives, on their own terms ...
Kael worked as a research assistant on a team of interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Guelph on a ...