You know, I used to love the month of October.
I loved the colors of the autumn leaves and how they crunch under your feet (well I still do, but read on), my son’s birthday falls in October, the heat of the summer is gone, Halloween costumes – it’s just generally a fun time of year.
But now October has turned into “Pinktober” and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month – everything turns pink. Ick.
Breast Cancer Action has coined the term pinkwashing and here’s their explanation of the word: Pinkwasher: (pink’-wah-sher) noun. A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.
Pinkwashing seriously pisses me off. It’s ruining the month of October for me and that’s not a nice thing.
Pinkwashing raises a big question we should all be paying attention to. Are we really helping breast cancer research by buying all that pink merchandise? While many of us think we’re doing a noble thing by buying pink things, pinkwashing is often just a marketing ploy to sell more products. Of course, many of the companies that are selling pink merchandise do donate to breast cancer research, but many don’t (or if they do, it’s a tiny percentage of their actual profit).
And all of this is still not why Pinktober pisses me off so much.
The companies that really chap my hide are the ones that plaster pink ribbons on their products and make a big deal about how much they contribute to breast cancer research. HOWEVER their products are filled with toxins like parabens, TEA and DEA which have been shown to be carcinogenic. It’s almost like companies such as Avon and Estee Lauder know that their products contain toxic ingredients and they feel guilty about being contributors to breast cancer, so they make this big deal about having products that help fund breast cancer research.
This is NOT alright with me, nor should it be with you.
Lastly, Pinktober reminds me of having breast cancer and while that was 8 years ago, I don’t need the reminder.
Top 10 Pinkwashers
I found a great website at pinkwashing.org – check out what they had to say about the top 10 pinkwashers in this blog post a year ago. I couldn’t have said it better.
The Worst Offender
I think the biggest sin has been committed by the Susan G Komen Foundation. Their Promise Me™ Eau De Parfum is full of ingredients which have no business being put on our bodies – things like galaxolide (it’s a hormone disrupter) and toluene (a neurotoxin banned by the International Fragrance Association), and to make matters worse, only $7.97 from each $59 bottle will go to research. That stinks. Seriously.
If all this makes you mad enough to take action, click HERE.
Being Proactive With Our Health Is The Key
I think that only by supporting groups such as Breast Cancer Action, being aware of what we are putting onto and in our bodies in our cosmetics, body products, and food, keeping our stress levels down, and exercising regularly will we begin to see dramatic decreases in the numbers of women being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The bottom line is do your research, make sure your purchases align with your values and be comfortable on where your dollars are being spent.
Very interesting point: maybe companies who pinkwash do so in an attempt to mitigate the harm or potential harm of their products and services. It makes sense. Surely these companies can’t all be completely ignorant to their dangers — and if they were that itself would be something worth protesting.
I’m sorry you have to endure Pinktober. I see that you are a survivor. How frustrating it must be to know people profit from your disease, to see the pink parties with balloons and everything. I have read in several places from survivors that this experience is like a “slap in the face.”
Ashley, I just left a message for you on your blog article about pinkwashing. Thanks for adding your voice of dissent to this ridiculous-ness! I don’t take it as a slap in the face, I just get mad that certain companies continue to sell products that are toxic to our health despite the growing demand that they be accountable and put healthier ingredients into their items. Thanks for your comment and you take care too – thanks for helping to get the message out!
Thanks Marnie! It’s truly an honour to hear from a survivor and anti-pink crusader that my efforts are “helping.” Really, it means a lot to me to read that.
Unfortunately, I have not received any comment. Do you think there might have been a glitch/maybe it didn’t send?
I do SOOOO agree with what you say about pinkwashing. Unfortunately most people do not question the current trend of cancer marketing for profit.
Majority of people, even those with cancer do not question what they are putting into and on their body. I get tired of swimming against the flow as would others who question the ‘norm’.
Keep up the good work Marnie, we need the norm to change to keep us alive and healthy. Life is a journey of discovery for me and you are never to old to learn.
Thanks for your comment. Yes we definitely need the “norm” to change and it is up to all of us to vote with the most powerful tool we have – our money. Buying the products from the companies who are doing the right thing, sharing this information with your friends, family and neighbors – this is already happening and the norm is about to change big-time. Thanks for being a part of that.