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Awash in Pink Like a Bad Rash

By Jill Chapin

October 21, 2007

Aah, October. That glorious time of year when our summer greenery is magically transformed into a riot of dazzling color. I have always looked forward to October’s canvas splattered with rich rusts, golden yellows, and luscious crimsons.

Not any more. Now all I see during October’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Pepto Pink. Pink pastel ribbons and products. It is a sweet innocent color, meant to tug at our heartstrings so that we are led simultaneously to combine our insatiable need to buy with that feel-good sense of contributing to a worthy cause.

Except that the cause we would be contributing to is not all that worthy, unless you are referring to the increased net worth of the companies who cozy up to a disease in order to better enhance their bottom line.

Breast Cancer Action, the only no-nonsense organization that speaks to women as if they are actually capable of thinking for themselves, has established www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org with their motto being "This October, do something besides shop for breast cancer."

They zero in on what they refer to as pinkwashers, defined as a person or company that purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon campaign, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease. BCA wants more transparency and accountability from companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising. They want women to ask critical questions regarding pink ribbon promotions. Name one other organization that encourages women to demand answers when what they are hearing defies all common sense.

One example of a pinkwasher is Yoplait. Why would anyone with a third grade grasp of math fall for their campaign to donate ten cents toward cancer research for each lid mailed back to them? If you simply mailed the cost of the yogurt directly to your favorite organization (which should be Breast Cancer Action), then you would be giving more to cancer research than would Yoplait. You would also be removing a health hazard from your diet, because if the yogurt isn’t organic, then Yoplait is feeding you hormones, a known risk factor for breast cancer.

Another example is the Ford Motor Company who is partnering with the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Why would they snuggle up with an automobile company whose products spew carcinogens into the air that can cause the very cancer this organization is supposed to be trying to eradicate? And when automakers oppose California’s attempt to issue greenhouse gas regulations for automobiles, how sincere is Ford Motor Company’s race for the cure?

October is the month when companies bathe themselves in pink for the main purpose of profiting from the business of cancer. If you really and truly want to do something besides shop, then visit www.bcaction.org and get yourself educated as to what you actually can do to make a dent in the fight against this disease. Find out that it isn’t all about curing cancer so much as taking action to actually prevent it.

Then if you want to throw money at the cause, give it to Breast Cancer Action, who genuinely wants women to become empowered instead of simply sporting a pink ribbon on their lapel.

I don’t know about you, but every October, all of this pink just makes me see red.



Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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