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Fight Pinkwashing! Think Pink isn’t so rosy!

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English: These are some items given away to pr...

English: These are some items given away to promote Breast Cancer Awareness during the Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar on Oct. 24 held at Chapel One on Vandenberg AFB. The Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar was created to help educate and inform the population about breast cancer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October in Wisconsin is breathtaking. Everywhere you look your eyes feast on bright shades of orange, red, yellow and pink.

Pink?

Yes, you know, Breast Cancer Awareness pink.

Grocery bags, dental floss, car dealers, NFL players covered in pink – the pinkwashing is in full force.

What’s “pinkwashing?”  Here you are, direct from Breast Cancer Action, the “watchdog of the breast cancer movement” –

“A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, BUT AT THE SAME TIME produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.”

My sister is a breast cancer survivor. She really doesn’t like October anymore, not at all.  She’s grown weary of all the  “breast cancer awareness” being thrust in her face everywhere she goes. When you’re a cancer survivor like she is (along with my other two other sisters) you want to move on with your life. You don’t relish being reminded of cancer every time you turn on a sports event, open a cup of yogurt, or go to your local liquor store – yes, even alcohol manufacturers have joined the pink ribbon band wagon. You’d much rather continue to make the most of your life and thrive, not just survive.  Please don’t misunderstand – she’s very grateful for everything people did for her in her cancer journey.  She just doesn’t want to dwell on it. And honestly, how much more “aware” of breast cancer do we need to be?

Frankly, it all makes me very angry. Cancer is cancer and it doesn’t matter to me what body part is affected. For some reason breast cancer has more sex appeal to the public  (no pun intended) than other cancers.  Shouldn’t women with colon cancer or uterine cancer get just as much attention? What bothers me is all the so-called “cause-marketing” that is reaping billions of dollars in the name of breast cancer. And guess what? We aren’t any closer to finding a cure than we were 40 years ago when President Nixon launched the “war” on cancer in the 1971 National Cancer Act.  With the number of people getting cancer every year increasing, I’d say we’ve lost the war. Can someone tell me where all the money is going?

There are many of us who believe there ARE cures for cancer. They’ve just been made illegal or nearly impossible to access by the politics of  mainstream medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, but that’s another subject!

Do you find yourself buying products with pretty pink ribbons on them because you want to help the cause? It’s understandable, especially if you or a loved one have been affected by breast cancer. Your heart’s in the right place. It’s your money that might not be. If you aren’t aware of Breast Cancer Action, you should be. They are indeed, the “watchdog of the breast cancer movement”  and wow, they “don’t take any money from the pharmaceutical industry or any other organizations that profit from or contribute to the breast cancer epidemic.” You can thank them for helping to remove rBGH from 2/3 of the dairy in the US through their “Eli Lily is Milking Cancer” campaign.

Breast Cancer Action really opened my eyes to the shameful problem of pinkwashing.  It’s happening everywhere with the latest tragic example of Promise Me, a perfume commissioned by Susan G. Komen for the Cure that contains chemicals that cause cancer.  That’s right! Susan G. Komen is pinkwashing by promoting and marketing the fragrance. This video will give you a good whiff of what’s wrong with all this commercialization of breast cancer.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/jXj0a624JC4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

In their defense, according to an email response I received from them,  they have agreed to reformulate the perfume, but not until 2012, after the current questionable batch is gone. This isn’t the first time Susan G. Komen has been caught pinkwashing – the most recent incident was their “Buckets for a Cure.” It encouraged people (primarily under-served minority women) to buy buckets of fried chicken to support the cause. Breast Cancer Action called them on the carpet with their “What the Cluck?” campaign.

Next time you consider a purchase because it says it supports breast cancer – “think before you pink!” Ask yourself four simple but critical questions. Here’s the first: How much of my money from this purchase will actually go to breast cancer? The questions are worth your time. Your heart’s in the right place, make sure your money is, too!

Have you seen an example of pinkwashing you’d like to share? Think I’m all wet? Tell us what you think!

+Mary Bloomer is an advocate for natural health and wellness and writes regularly for Natural Healthy Concepts. Visit the site today to browse a wide selection of herbal nutrition supplementshomeopathic medicine and natural skin care

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6 Responses to Fight Pinkwashing! Think Pink isn’t so rosy!

  1. Caitlin Carmody October 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Mary, thanks so much for covering this important topic. You hit the nail on the head: “Your heart is in the right place. It’s your money that might not be.” Pinkwashing puts profits before women’s lives, and it’s got to stop.

    With “Promise Me” perfume, unfortunately, “reformulate” does not necessarily mean “safe” (the notorious cancer-causing pesticide methyl iodide, in use as I type this, was a replacement for the ozone-depleting methyl bromide.) We’ll keep asking: does Komen also intend to adopt the highest standards of precaution when it comes to women’s health to ensure the “reformulated” perfume is not as bad as the one currently on shelves and in homes?

    • Mary Bloomer October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      Many thanks to all of you at Breast Cancer Action, Caitlin, for being true advocates for women in fighting this cancer epidemic!

  2. Gina Moore October 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    You could not have said what I have been thinking for a long time more clear! I completely agree with every single word. Thank you for putting it into writing!

    • Mary Bloomer October 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks much for the feedback, Gina, help us spread the word!

  3. Jill Frazier October 27, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    The first time my friends wore their pink ribbons for me it made me feel very strange. You appreciate their support, but at the same time you want to be “normal” and not stick out from the crowd. Over the years, I’ve come to understand just how awful pink is. Your article clearly explains why. Thank you!

    • Mary Bloomer October 27, 2011 at 11:19 am #

      Thank you for sharing your own experience, Jill. You and my sister tell it so much better than I could. Everyone at Natural Healthy Concepts wishes you all the best in your health and wellness journey! You go, girl!

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