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 http://www.KomenAdvocacy.org.
· Sign up to participate in the Army of Women at http://www.armyofwomen.org/. 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 (www.thescarproject.org), 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?