Over the last few days, I’ve seen a lot of discussion on both Twitter & Facebook about “pinkwashing.” Unfamiliar as to what pinkwashing is? Here’s a definition from UrbanDictionary.com:
Pinkwashing: The act of using breast cancer to guilt consumers into buying a product which, if it had not been for the advent of aiding the cure for cancer, they would not have bought.
Most people know that October is breast cancer awareness month. Susan G. Komen and other breast cancer organizations have done a stellar job marketing October as the breast cancer support month. In fact, they did such a fab marketing job that it’s backfired in recent years.
There are many companies and organizations out there that take advantage. Every where you look there’s a “a portion of this sale goes towards the support of breast cancer awareness.” Some shadier companies don’t donate at all. Others don’t donate what they’ve promised and end up making a nice profit because they’ve played on the good nature of the consumer who thinks he or she is doing something good by buying said product.
No doubt about it, that sucks.
In response, a lot of people are now poo-pooing the act of “wearing pink.” I saw several people on Facebook this week using the actual word “protest” when it comes to wearing pink and the month of October.
They say, if you’re going to support – donate directly. Don’t wear pink, don’t buy something claiming to donate towards the cause. Be proactive and send in a check and be done with it.
I get that. I get that it’s terrible that many individuals and organizations have turned something that at it’s inception was meant to be a means of raising awareness and helping to fight for a cure.
But I believe there’s a lot of moral apathy in this country. Many people who want to make a difference but the reality is, they just don’t. So if they can know that they are donating a couple of dollars with a purchase, what’s the harm? And beyond that – what about all of the women who see pink the month of October and it helps encourage them to get their annual breast exam, to do self-exams and to get mammograms after age 40? Because the Wear Pink in October movement is so strong?
I take the bad with the good. I buy and wear pink in October. I got myself a pink hair extension that I’ll be sporting the entire month of October. (The manager at my local hair salon bought the extensions at her own cost and she’s taking no money even for her purchase – 100% of the money made will go to Susan G. Komen.)
Maybe my $15 pink hair extension will make a difference. Maybe my wearing pink will help encourage someone to go get an exam. Maybe it’ll won’t help anyone. But in my opinion, it does more than folding my arms and wearing no pink in “protest.” That helps no one.