Pinkwashing – Why I’m Not Buying It

10521518283_18334863cf_zIt’s October and the pink marketeering machine is once again taking advantage of our sincere desire to put an end to breast cancer.

I was blissfully unaware of the hoopla until that moment my cancer pain smashed head on into a pink ribbon festooned six-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Rather than try to recreate my anger, I thought I’d share a representation only a 20-year old slam poet could muster. (Warning – Graphic language.)

Criticizing the obscenity of pinkwashing isn’t a slam on another survivor’s desire to wear pink and run in races. This is about large corporations making money off of our suffering. If you want to fight back, get involved with:

Think Before You Pink®, a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the number of pink ribbon products on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.

This October, Think Before You Pink® is “taking it further and targeting some of the most outrageous pink ribbon promotions that exemplify everything that’s wrong with pink ribbon culture. We’re calling out the empty awareness, the misinformation, the profiteering, the pinkwashing, the degrading of women, the “tyranny of cheerfulness” that hides the harsh realities of this disease.”

Make sure to check out this year’s most egregious offenders. (One offender is a company many of us know if we’ve spent any time working on craft projects with our kids and not one cent of the money they make from selling pink ribbon trinkets goes to breast cancer anything.)

I don’t know about you, but I assumed the Susan G. Komen organization authorized all the pink ribbons you see on these products. When I brought that up at my meeting with Komen CEO and President Dr. Judith Salerno at the Blogger Summit I attended this year, she said there was nothing Komen could do about the unscrupulous misappropriation of the ribbon.

There is something we can do. We can get educated and we can educate others.

It’s our responsibility to know where our money is going.

Anger is only useful if it results in action.

Survival > Existence,


“I’m Not Buying It” by Justice Hehir of Rutgers University (of which I am a proud alumna.) Justice was nominated for best poet at the competition. The video was uploaded by Lindsey Michelle Williams. Thank you to my daughter, my favorite Rutgers University student, for bringing the video to my attention.

Image courtesy of Ben Mautner

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