Reader Rant: An Alternative to “Pink October”

by on October 13, 2010 · 6 comments

in Culture, Health, Media, Reader Rant

pinkcrapEditor: The following was sent to us by a health activist upset with the “pinkness” of October. She wrote:

I wrote the first part – below – in response to the pink blindness I see everywhere. It has been a pet peeve of mine for many moons. It (pink ribbons) has been exploited for profit and now that Kentucky Fried Chicken jumped on the bandwagon it is so laughable. The very worst food for Health promotes BC Awareness? Anyway I saw this blog that I think is a sensible, accurate approach for women’s awareness without the jive, and would like to see more people get good info. That is why I sent you the blog info with an example of their stance.

My stance may sound harsh to some, but really I am an advocate for those individuals who are blindly buying into the sentimentality of a device originally meant to promote solidarity; but in reality has been a tool for nefarious motives for increasing the sale of anything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to Room deodorizers. Colbert has a great UTube on the idiocy of promoting breast cancer awareness via ‘pink’ on a product blatantly harmful to human health, as well as the ongoing ploy of increasing consumer sales on anything by donating to health promoting causes. Mike Adams at Natural News.com posted an article that refers to a blog originating in San Francisco that is an excellent example of a means of disseminating information to women about Breast Cancer Awareness with integrity.

See www.BCaction.org to learn more (example below)

During “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” consumer marketing agencies dress products in pink. We recently launched the Think Before You Pink blog to provide an alternative to the dominant narrative about “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and help provide information that can’t be found in the numerous aisles of pink products you’ll see this October. This blog is intended for you to write about anything from pink-ribbon campaigns that enrage you to ways in which you’ve taken action. We will also include articles about pinkwashing—and what you can do about it. Come on over and join the conversation.

by Alicia / Think Before You Pink / Originally published Sept 28, 2010

Here, we want to provide an alternative to the dominant narrative about “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and help provide information that can’t be found in the numerous aisles of pink products you’ll see this October.

Earlier this month, a BCA member wrote to us on Facebook, saying that she was dreading this October- her first after being diagnosed with breast cancer. For many, especially those living with breast cancer, October is a time to prepare oneself for “being bombarded with pink crap”. Races for “the cure” abound and consumer marketing agencies take the opportunity to dress products in pink in order to raise “awareness” for breast cancer. Do we need pink M&Ms to remind us about an epidemic that threatens one out of every eight women throughout their lifetime? These cause marketing opportunities are great for corporations who want to improve their image—but for women affected by breast cancer, they fail to address the source of the epidemic and are therefore a source of intense frustration.

Pink products do not tell us about the disparities that impact different demographics with cancer. Access to services, treatment and information unjustly varies among populations. Pink products do not tell us that 50% or more of cancer causes can be attributed to environmental factors. Pink ribbon products fail to address these issues, and yet often benefit the companies who make a profit by contributing to the breast cancer epidemic. There are things you can do right now, other than shopping, to help end this epidemic.

This blog is intended for you to write about anything from pink-ribbon campaigns that enrage you to ways in which you’ve taken action. We will also include insightful articles about pinkwashing—and what you can do about it. We look forward to your participation!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Shane Finneran October 13, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Really enjoyed this post. Seems like if people donated the money from their pink purchases directly to breast cancer research, the research would be better funded. Ah, but that would take the shopping out…

Have you watched any NFL football lately? Pink cleats, pink chin-straps, pink mouth-guards, pink hand towels. Not exactly a pinnacle of public health, the NFL.

Bad-ass author Barbara Ehrenreich, who is a breast cancer sufferer, talks about the pink bombardment in her book “Bright-Sided,” and links the pink push to our culture’s relentless worship of positive thinking. She says her breast cancer experience was “a very personal, agonizing encounter with an ideological force in American culture that I had not been aware of before – one that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate.”

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avatar Molly October 13, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Shane, this is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone refer to Barbara Ehrenreich as “bad-ass author” – LOL! Your points make you a “bad-ass” commentator.

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avatar Shane Finneran October 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

LOL, thanks Molly! After I read “Nickel and Dimed,” I immediately bestowed Ehrenreich with bad-ass status. She’s a modern-day muckraker, and we need more writers like her. “Nickel and Dimed” as well as her follow-up “Bait and Switch” were both prophetic warnings about the economic disaster we find ourselves in today.

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avatar OBWarZone October 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Any press is good press, including the color pink raising awareness to breast cancer.

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avatar Barb October 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I have seen a lot of press given to this over saturation of pink and am so glad the awareness is happening. We often tend to accept things until they are rudely in our face. Pink has now achieved that status. Lets get the focus back to where it belongs… Awareness. Our planet is out of balance and that is creating physical imbalances since we are but the microcosm of this macrocosm.
I so agree that money spent should go to a legitimate source. Victim blaming is ignorance and fear, and a pink symbol on so many inappropriate things is insulting.
Love your feedback-

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avatar RB October 14, 2010 at 9:46 am

I would like to see the focus of the month and pink campaign directed towards awareness , detection and treatment. The breast cancer research money and the race for the cure should be redirected towards research of all cancers and the American Cancer Society.

IMO, the public does understand how new treatments and drugs are developed. It is likely that any new treatment or drug will first need to get approval from studies done on pancreatic or late stage ovarian patients.

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