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Kopelson, Karen

Spring 2013, 43:2, pages 107-133

Risky Appeals: Recruiting to the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement in the Age of “Pink Fatigue”

Abstract:  This essay analyzes and contrasts the rhetorical appeals of Breast Cancer Action and Breast Cancer Fund, the two national breast cancer organizations devoted to prevention and environmental activism. Following in the tradition of rhetoric scholars who understand rhetoric as constitutive of its audiences, I elucidate not only how these organizations recruit new audiences to their cause, but who they construct as recruitable. Ultimately, I demonstrate that one of these organizations’ rhetoric’s is successful as constitutive rhetoric (the other’s less so), but worry over the political and social actions potentially precluded by its successes. This organization’s rhetoric, as I show, retains and thus recirculates many individualistic assumptions and regressive notions of femininity associated with the more mainstream breast cancer movement and, well beyond, with most hegemonic US discourses.


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