Awash in Pink Like a Bad Rash
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 Octobers canvas splattered with
rich rusts, golden yellows, and luscious crimsons.
Not any more. Now all I see during Octobers 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
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 isnt 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
Californias attempt to issue greenhouse gas regulations
for automobiles, how sincere is Ford Motor Companys 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
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 isnt
all about curing cancer so much as taking action to actually prevent
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 dont know about you, but every October, all of this pink
just makes me see red.
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