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Breast cancer advocates reject 'pinkwashing' of the disease

Breast Cancer Awareness month is marked by pink products and pink awareness-raising initiatives, but critics of the 'pinkwash" say that the products don’t raise awareness as much as they raise profits for the companies providing the products, and glosses over the reality of the disease.


  1. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and with that comes a wave of pink, the color used by those raising money and awareness to fight the disease. Pink ribbons, pink golf balls, pink toilet paper, pink T-shirts for charity fun-runs and even a pink-lit White House.
  2. But all the pink products and pink lights amount to what some people and organizations, like Breast Cancer Action, are calling the "pinkwashing" of the disease. BCAction has set up a campaign called "Think Before You Pink", in effect "highlighting the hypocrisy of the worst pinkwashers– the companies or organizations whose pink products contribute to increasing our risk of developing the disease."

    The group is also critical of the idea that the way to end breast cancer is "by shopping our way out of this disease" and call for stronger government regulation of industry and to work at protecting public health.

    Breast cancer is still one of the leading causes of cancer-related death among women of all races, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    One vocal opponent is Xeni Jardin, the co-founder of the blog Boing Boing, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. Yesterday, she asked her Twitter followers to counter the the pink promotions by tweeting photos of pink breast cancer products that they disliked and sharing their personal stories.
  3. Another one of Jardin's targets was Marvel.
    She wrote in a blog post: "I can't manage to type how I feel about these Komen "for the cure" Marvel Comics breast cancer themed comic book covers because I'm too busy vomiting. And, not from chemo."
  4. The pinkwashing phenomenon has also been explored in the NFB documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. The film takes a close look at where the money behind the massive pink campaigns actually goes and if it does any good.

  5. Pink Ribbons, Inc. Official Trailer
  6. Other Twitter users had plenty to see about the pinkwashing of breast cancer.