One of my extended family members recently shared a picture of cute shorts for sale rocking a breast cancer ribbon – you know, the pink one that seems to be everywhere. I assumed this meant she was considering purchasing them or thought I may like to for myself to support a cause she knows I am passionate about.
They were cute and I know her intentions were good and supportive. However, when I clicked on the link the store generically said it was putting the money to the “greater good” with no specific non-profit or advocacy group identified. There was a website for “more information” that turned out to be an animal welfare website. At this point, I was pretty convinced that this was a company committing what is known as “pinkwashing” in the Breast Cancer community and shared with her what was likely going on. She had no idea and was glad I had taken the time to educate her, so I thought this would also be a lesson worth sharing in a blog post.
What do I mean?
Companies want to make a profit. Some (I’d argue unethical) companies have discovered that the Breast Cancer ribbons are an effective marketing tool to sell products. Therefore, they produce products with the Breast Cancer ribbon and claim to support the cause without actually donating any money to charity resulting in more profit for themselves. Ta-Da! That is “pinkwashing” at its finest. As someone whose life expectancy is dependent upon ongoing research for a *cure* for Metastatic Breast Cancer, I’m offended by this practice. My disease is not your profit opportunity.
You’ll notice I rarely sport pink ribbons or traditional Breast Cancer support attire. I do wear a lot of pink, but I’m a bit of a girly-girl that has always liked pink. It actually doesn’t have a darn thing to do with my Breast Cancer diagnosis. Breast Cancer Awareness without understanding is meaningless. In my opinion, the pink ribbon has become so mainstream its meaning has been diluted and therefore lost its power, so I generally tend to stay away from products with them.
What can you do?
Breast Cancer Action has your back here with their “Think before you Pink” campaign. Check out this article for four simple questions to ask before you purchase, if your intention is to support Breast Cancer causes. If you just *really* like pink ribbons, feel free to purchase away!
On another note, one of the primary reasons I started my blog was to further my advocacy work. I’ve made some exciting strides in less than two weeks since I went live with this blog. Details to follow, but I’m currently working on:
- Scheduling a segment on the morning show with the local affiliate of a national news network.
- Scheduling an interview with a local radio station.
- Attending Joyous Persistence, a gathering in San Francisco to bring together hundreds of engaged citizens, up-and-coming activists, and established leaders across generations dedicated to defying the current administration through positive actions and impactful organizing.
More to come in future posts!