Even though men can get it, I am not likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in my lifetime. Regardless, I am dubious of the sea of pink ribbons, products, and promotional tie-ins that inundate our society. That's not to say anyone who wants to wear pink and try their hardest to raise awareness is doing anything wrong — to the contrary! But I do think there's room for criticism. In other words, check out this funny video about pinkwashing.
If you've watched this and find yourself aimless and flustered (welcome to my every day) by these crass tactics but still want to contribute to the fight against breast cancer, I suggest finding an organization that's focused on more than just a cure. You could start with this list, and ask yourself some of these questions before purchasing pink products. Heck, I'm going to link to that last page one more time because it contains some really important examples of pinkwashing at its worst. (I'm looking at you, Reebok.)
HOLLA! IT'S TIME FOR A FACT CHECK!
- Indeed, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer.
- The Susan G. Komen foundation donated about 17% of its net revenue to research in fiscal 2012. Same goes for 2011. It was 19% in 2010 and 21% in 2009. So, the figure of 21% is actually a bit forgiving.
- Technically, Susan G. Komen trademarked their slogan, rather than patented it. But same idea.
- When it comes to the NFL, the percentage cited in the video (.1% of revenue to breast cancer awareness) is actually 1 percentage point too generous. The actual figure is 1/100 of a percent (.01%)! Now, the NFL has actually updated its figures to reflect that the money donated has risen from $4.5 million to $7 million, but we're still talking about a tiny, tiny sliver of its revenue.