This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift. Some content has been edited for flow and clarity, but the essence of the post is the same.
It is October, which means a lot of things – dark lips, darker eyes, fun crazy eye looks inspired by candy corn, Halloween-look YouTube tutorials…you know. Things that matter.
It also means that it is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Which means everything is coated in a pink so similar to Pepto Bismol that you’re half-surprised there isn’t a lawsuit afoot. This phenomenon has come to be known as Pinkwashing and the goal (supposedly) is to raise awareness. We find people clad in pink all month feeling awfully good about the difference they’re making…but spoilers, your pink tee isn’t funding mammograms for early detection. Treatment. Etc.
We need less, “awareness,” bullshit and more research for treatment and prevention.
If you wish to support research efforts, actually try to support the cause by researching who you are planning to donate to. Unfortunately, not all charities are as noble as they’d have you believe.
To Hell with Komen, et al.
I will not be making purchases from companies who are boasting throwing money at, “awareness,” organizations. I encourage you to look into whom is whom in the pinkwashing game so that if you feel like supporting research and treatment efforts, you can do so effectively. It is an unfortunate reality that a lot of brands are partnered with comparatively worthless, “charity,” organizations (that line their own pockets in the guise of impossibly-high, “administrative fees.”) Many companies slap a pink ribbon on their products to make you, the consumer, feel better about buying the product even though the sale of that product may not have any impact on their donation.
There are far more worthy organizations to donate to – ones that actually put that money towards research and treatment costs. One such example is the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF); 91 cents of each dollar donated actually goes towards research.
If you want to paint your face pink every damn day, go for it. If that’s all you can do right now to acknowledge and show support for it, cool. At this point, though, I’d argue that most people in are aware of breast cancer. Awareness isn’t what we should be pouring effort into at this point, and that really cute pink manicure isn’t funding treatment. Unless, that is, you go to an awesome salon that makes informed donations to organizations that make a difference; if that’s the case, run don’t walk to get ALL THE MANICURES.
The Bottom Line
TL;DR: Pinkwashing is a tactic used by companies to get consumers to drop money on their products by giving them the impression that their purchases are being used to help, thereby giving the consumer a warm and fuzzy feeling – stop. Sometimes the purchase itself has no impact on the donation amount. Sometimes their donation amount has a cap. Sometimes the donation is being given to an advertising (aka, “awareness,”) organization like Komen, which does little to help research/treatment efforts. Be sure to research who is being donated to to make sure you agree with that. You have no reason to feel warm or fuzzy unless you are directly contributing to the effort yourself.