The Pink Ribbon Debate

Every October we see in the pages of magazines, catalogs and on web sites all of the pink products to buy in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Pink campaigns are all the rage.

If you haven’t yet heard the term, “pinkwashing” is when corporations and brands try to increase sales by associating their products with the fight against breast cancer.  Pinkwashing is a form of marketing campaign designed to make consumers feel like they’re helping solve a serious issue while in actuality their dollars are not making much of an impact beyond increasing the company’s profit margin.

Think about it.  Do you really need to buy that $100 pink scarf when just $5 from the purchase is going to the charity?  Couldn’t you make a much bigger impact by purchasing a $20 scarf of your choice and putting $80 towards finding a cure?  Pinkwashing occurs on everything from scarves to clothes to food to household items.

So, if you’re like me, we both want to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month but without being swindled.  What’s a girl with boobs to do?

I asked a few experts and here’s what they suggest:

· See if the items you already purchase for your home and family are donating proceeds to a breast cancer charity during the month of October.  You can do this by going to your favorite brands’ web sites.  If the answer is yes, this is a great time to stock up on your favorite items.

· Look for pink ribbon products that donate 50% or more of the proceeds from the product to a breast cancer charity.  That’s 25% or more of the total cost of the item.  Not all of these items are pink in color but more importantly, by nature.

· If you can’t find a percentage, look for products that tell you the exact amount which will be donated to an organization if you purchase the product.  Then you can figure out for yourself if your being pinkwashed.

· Instead of purchasing a pink ribbon product consider donating directly to a breast cancer charity such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation or to one of the walkers for the Breast Cancer 3 Day

· Sign up to participate in the Army of Women at  By signing up you will receive periodic emails announcing new research studies looking for volunteers with or without breast cancer.  Some might require you to complete a questionnaire, while others might need a sample of blood, urine, saliva, breast fluid, or breast tissue.   You will never be pressured to take part in any study and you decide which studies (if any) you want to take part in.

· Support programs like the SCAR Project (, a series of large-scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors that puts face on breast cancer because in reality breast cancer is not a pink ribbon.

Breast cancer is such an important cause and it is wonderful that we are acknowledging it in big ways.  I just want to propose that we purchase pink products which make a significant contribution towards finding a cure so one day there will be no such thing as a pink ribbon.

How are you getting your pink on this month?


Giving, Saving and Hoping: Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins in just a few days.  Soon we will be entrenched in a sea of pink ribbons supporting awareness of a cause which touches millions of lives. At present, one in eight women will have breast cancer in their lifetime.

That is one in eight too many.

My family does not have a history of breast cancer, though having been on years of fertility medications I am still deeply terrified of the disease.  I had a baseline mammogram done at age 35 and will have another at 40.  I do self exams a few times a year, but probably not often enough.  Though I have several friends of friends who are currently battling breast cancer, it has not hit my inner circle – yet.  This disease is so prevalent that it feels like a ticking time bomb and we just don’t know who will be the next one in eight.

As consumers it has been easy to get swept up in the pink crusade because buying an item for a cause feels like a worthy contribution. In today’s economy, however, it may not be quite as easy as so many of us are focused on the necessities.  This month, Procter & Gamble Beauty and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) ( have partnered to share the gift of early detection through simple actions and everyday purchases. P&G is joining the NBCF in the fight against breast cancer, helping to further support their mission of saving lives for women with breast cancer through early detection.

What I like about this effort is that you can help the cause while saving money by purchasing the items you already use.  While we all want to see an end to breast cancer, this allows us to contribute by purchasing everyday items rather than something we would not typically buy simply because it is pink or has a ribbon sewn on it.  Here are the details:

On Sunday, October 2nd and Sunday, October 16th, GIVE Hope brandSAVER coupons will be distributed in newspapers across the country with discounts on P&G products. For each coupon redeemed, P&G will donate two cents to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. This allows you to make a donation while saving money on products you purchase regularly for your family.

In addition, P&G consumers will receive a $10 rebate and P&G will make a $10 donation to the NBCF with the purchase of $50 worth of P&G Beauty products during the month of October, including: Olay, Venus, Secret, Cover Girl, Clairol, Pantene, Safeguard, Ivory, Aussie and Herbal Essences.  That’s a 20% donation to the charity plus 20% back in your pocket. (

Lastly, for every Facebook “like” at, P&G will donate ten cents to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The P&G Beauty Facebook page will be featuring stories from employees of P&G who have been impacted by breast cancer.

How are you showing supporting breast cancer awareness month?

Leave a comment below and you will be entered to win a gift basket of P&G products!


Contest Details: Leave a comment at the end of this post.  Each comment qualifies as one entry.  One winner will be chosen at random.  All comments must be received by October 15th to qualify.  The winner will be notified by October 17th.  If a response is not received and confirmed within 48 hours of notification a new winner will be chosen at random among the remaining entries.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for TheMotherhood on behalf of P&G and will be compensated for writing this post by P&G, Hearst Magazines and TheMotherhood.  All opinions and anecdotes are my own.

See Jane Empowered: Gender Stereotypes in the Media @gdigm

“When my friends and I would act out movies as kids, we’d play the guys’ roles, since they had the most interesting things to do. Decades later, I can hardly believe my sons and daughter are seeing many of the same limited choices in current films.” – Geena Davis

During college I interned at Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine, which targeted kids ages 8-12.  That summer I learned that there was a limit on how much female athlete editorial could be put in each issue of the magazine because the articles about female athletes were not nearly as well read as the ones about male athletes.

I’m not knocking the magazine for making a business decision to continue to engage their audience. Kids of both genders are brought up thinking that male athletes are cooler than female athletes. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, to change that perception?  Shouldn’t girls get to see strong female characters in the media?

Sadly, studies show that gender stereotypes are also a serious issue on TV and in film.  Females comprise over half the population yet they are outnumbered 3:1 in family films.  When females are shown, they are in sexy attire, have unrealistic figures or (my personal pet peeve) play the role of a helpless female.  In family films, 80% of employed characters are male while just 20% are female, compared to the 50:50 ratio in the real world.  Just imagine how limitless the world would be if half of our population were given a fair representation in the media.

One of the most memorable films with strong female characters is Thelma and Louise, and one of the best lines in that movie is when Louise tells Thelma that, “You only get what you settle for.”

Actress and role model Geena Davis, who starred in Thelma and Louise, does not settle and someday soon there might just be a generation of girls who can thank her for that.  Last week at the Social Good Summit I was fascinated to learn about the work that Geena Davis is doing with her foundation, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.  In fact, she commissioned the largest research project on gender in film and television ever undertaken which confirmed the presence of gender disparity on both the large and small screens.  The Institute and its programming arm, See Jane, are working diligently to change gender stereotypes in media and entertainment, particularly among children’s programming.

Geena Davis has become a tireless advocate for having strong female characters in the media.  Gender stereotypes in media, as in life, should be a thing of the past.  As she spoke at the Summit, she mentioned that See Jane has a heartwarming video learning series for children to raise awareness about gender stereotypes and it wasn’t until watching this that I truly understood the impact that gender stereotyping in television and film can have on children.

I am so very grateful that Geena Davis has found her marbles and adore the great work of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.  Are you ready to learn more?  Just go to or follow along on Facebook at:

Getting Down to Business With @TinyPrints

Lately I have been trying to introduce a cause or non-profit organization, but this week’s Thursday post is a little different. Often we hear about companies who are not adept at providing a positive customer experience, whether it be the product or the service which is lacking. In the spirit of giving credit where it is due, I want to share a recent brand experience that was terrific.

Last Thursday evening I realized that I needed new business cards, quickly and badly.  My previous ones were so not attractive.  Truth be told, they were downright ugly.  I really, really wanted to have new cards done before a conference the following Tuesday but knew I was cutting it close for a decent quality card.  I Googled “business cards next day” and not far down the list was Tiny Prints. At the Type A Parent conference, I had seen some great-looking cards which were from Tiny Prints so off-a-clicking I went.  By Friday morning a proof of the card was waiting in my email.  My new and substantially-improved business cards were in my hands by noon on Monday.  They are seriously awesome.

It’s time to link up! Just add your favorite post from the past week and check out some of the other great sites in the linky. That’s all there is to it! We would appreciate it if you would follow the hosts: Look Who Found the Marbles,Rock & Drool and Do Sweat the Small Stuff.

I told a Tiny Prints company representative how happy I was with my experience. Guess what? Just for telling you about it, Tiny Prints is gifting me a second set of business cards. Now that’s a class act, don’t you think?

There’s No Place Like @Starbucks

Just saying the word ‘Starbucks’ in certain circles can create an invisible dividing line between the devout loyalists and those who feel strongly that their offerings are beyond a rational price range for a cup of coffee.

One afternoon in Philadelphia, upon ordering my Grande non-fat, two-pump chai tea, the one and only Peter Shankman promptly rolled his eyes at me.  Joking that he can tell how high-maintenance a female is by how many syllables are in her drink order, I felt the urgent need to replying by declaring that my other order is just a plain old green tea.  I guess that makes me part-time high-maintenance?  Yeah, I’ll just go with that.  Next time I am just ordering the green tea, darn it.

While I am no Starbucks fanatic, the price of my multi-syllable drink feels more justified in my head because I am buying from a socially conscious company.  They contribute funds towards rebuilding the Gulf Coast.  They pay for literacy programs.  They help the areas that produce their coffee, tea and cocoa.  They help to provide people in developing countries with access to clean water.  You can say what you want about their prices, but how many other companies are committed like that?

Working from home, Starbucks has become my office for casual business meetings.  Typically I’ll purchase a cup of multi-syllable or green tea and a protein bistro box.  Recently I started a high protein diet so the protein box is my Starbucks meal of choice. (Hmm. Maybe I am more high-maintenance than I thought.) Anyway, Starbucks launched a line of Bistro Boxes in some of their locations a couple of months ago and each one has less than 500 calories.  The bistro boxes cost $4.95 for the snack size and $6.95 for the meal size, which is not too shabby, especially for Starbucks. You can see the different varieties here read the nutritional information here. The protein bistro box, which is my favorite, has a cage-free egg, cheddar cheese, a packet of honey peanut butter spread, multigrain bread, apples and some grapes.  It has 380 calories, 19 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber.

Now it’s your turn.  What’s your favorite item at Starbucks?  Have you ever had their bistro boxes?  How many syllables are in your regular drink order?

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Starbucks Bistro Boxes and received a gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for taking the time to participate. I was asked to provide an honest review and therefore all opinions expressed are my own.  Peter Shankman’s opinions are his own as well….

Bistro Box Photo Credit:

Are You One in a Million? Taking the Million Moms Challenge

Here’s a chance to participate in something big, something amazing, something relevant and extremely important.  This coming Monday the Million Moms Challenge begins its mission to create a global community where every mother has the tools for a healthy pregnancy and a baby who can thrive.  This is a call to action to engage a million Americans with the millions of moms in the developing world facing issues regarding their pregnancies, childbirth and children’s health.

If you want to hear more about the campaign or participate there are so many ways to get involved:

  • Head to Facebook and ‘like’ MMC on the new Million Moms Challenge Facebook page.
  • Take the pledge to be one in a million by clicking here.
  • The Million Moms Challenge web site, will go live the morning of Monday, September 19th as will the official Million Moms Community.  Simply go the ‘community’ tab and become a member.
  • In October, BabyCenter will host the BabyCenter’s ABC Million Moms Challenge Global Baby Shower, an online party that will be held on Twitter and The BabyCenter Community. Keep your eye out for the official date (coming soon).

The Million Moms Challenge is a joint venture between ABC News and the UN Foundation in conjunction with Baby Center and World Class Partners. Using traditional and social media this initiative will build a community that connects moms everywhere around crucial issues that are a priority for all mothers, including the right nutrition to support their pregnancies, trained mid-wives to assist in safe deliveries of newborns, and life-saving vaccines that allow children celebrate their first birthdays.  To launch the initiative, hundreds of moms, dads, babies and kids will gather in Times Square for the official launch set to air on Good Morning America on Monday, September 19th.

I am one of the million.  Are you?


Do you know someone who has found their marbles? If so, send an email to Jessica @

Thoughtful Thursday: Color a Smile

If you have a child who loves to draw or color, you might want to check this out.  Color a Smile is a non-profit organization that collects crayon drawings from school children and distribute them to nursing homes, Meals on Wheels programs and to individuals throughout the country.  They are always looking for young artists, either children in their homes or school classes and children’s organizations. For more information about Color a Smile, go to:

Time to link up! Just add your favorite post from the past week and check out some of the other great sites in the linky. That’s all there is to it! We would appreciate it if you would follow the hosts: Look Who Found the Marbles, Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock & Drool.

What’s With All the Haters?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” –Dr. Seuss

Since June I have heard multiple stories from bloggers regarding haters in the blogging community. Just to be clear, I am not talking about mild disagreements or people who just don’t click.  I am talking about vicious comments on blogs and Twitter, bullying, threats and sabotage.  That’s not even mentioning the entire sites devoted to hating certain bloggers.

Prior to becoming a blogger I worked at a media company which has competing entities under its umbrella.  Competitors working in the same building.  Yet, the tension there was not nearly as thick as some of what is happening lately in the blogosphere.

I don’t get it.  What’s with all the haters in the blogosphere?  Why can’t we all just get along?  Seriously, folks.  Aren’t there better ways to spend one’s time than spewing hatred on Twitter?  Shouldn’t we instead be celebrating one another’s success?

When I first started in blogging I was the subject of some rumors and whispers behind my back.  While I didn’t want to let it bother me, it really did.  Friends told me not to waste my energy on it but we all know that it’s so much easier to say that than to do it.  Finally, after months of hurt feelings and anger I was able to let myself ignore it and just move on.  Fortunately at about that same time, those who had bought into the hype began to recognize the real situation (and my experience is small potatoes compared to what some of these other bloggers are dealing with lately).  I have found great friends and supporters through this sphere, some who I know only through Twitter and others who I now call friends ‘in real life.’

There is enough room here for everyone to have success.  Differing opinions are not just allowed, they are welcome.  That’s what sparks interesting conversation and friendly debate.  However, as the saying goes, when we start to attack the messenger rather than the message we have lost the meaning of the debate.

Those who are the subject of hatred did not ask to be placed in that role and all of it, albeit deflating, is not ultimately going to change a thing.  For the most part, those who are the subject of the hatred are in that position because they are successful.  These attempts at bringing them down are not going to work and may even help to boost their success.  So why bother?  What are the haters going to prove, anyway?

Let’s face it.  These haters are not going to disappear any time soon.  I guess it’s up to those of us on the outside to either ignore the nonsense or, at the very least, give it due diligence before drawing any conclusions.

And so I ask again.  Can’t we all just get along?


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