sorry, Madam, but the
New York Times
cannot publish the word breast or the word cancer in its pages…”
When, in the early 1950s, Fanny Rosenow heard these words from an editor of the newspaper, she is disappointed, but probably not surprised.
Treated for breast cancer, she set up a support group for women affected by the disease and wants to advertise it, say Jimmie Holland and Sheldon Lewis in
The Human Side of Cancer
(Harper Collins, 2001).
But in the America of the 1950s, cancer leads its way in silence: we are silent and we suffer at home.
“Perhaps you could say that there will be a meeting on diseases of the rib cage…”
, tries the journalist awkwardly.
A few decades later, another atmosphere:
“You can no longer look away”
, proclaims the
New York Times Magazine
on the cover, in 1993, with a full-page photo of the artist Matuschka showing off the scar of his mastectomy.
In between, the activism of…
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