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Thread: Sick of pink. Breast cancer and profit

  1. #31
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    Seeing Red In Pink Products: One Woman's Fight Against Breast Cancer Consumerism

    Seeing Red In Pink Products: One Woman's Fight Against Breast Cancer Consumerism - The Human Condition Blog - Newsweek.com


    I just redeemed a coupon from P&G for a Swiffer. For my effort, two cents will be given to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. I would have to buy 500 Swiffer wet thingies to make a $10 donation. But I needed a Swiffer anyway. And two cents is better than nothing. So why not use the coupons that were inserted into my newspaper?

    Because, says Barbara Brenner, the executive director of
    Breast Cancer Action, a nonprofit watchdog group headquartered in San Francisco, buying pink products has little to do with helping cure and treat breast cancer. Says Brenner: “Everyone has been guilt-tripped into buying pink things. If shopping could cure breast cancer it would be cured by now.”

    Well, I wasn’t particularly “guilted,” just out of some basic necessities. And hey, two cents is two cents.

    But Brenner says consumers need to strip off their pink-tinted glasses.

    “Swiffers. What do they have to do with breast cancer? This is about marketing. As long as we are in a situation in which corporate America is trying to solve a problem we don’t understand, we are in trouble.”

    Too much of the money, says Brenner, is going to fund a cure—with too little being spent on studying what causes cancer in the first place, or toward giving aid to women with cancer. We still know little about how breast cancer works, or the best way to treat it, or how often we should screen for it. And shopping, she says, won’t help.

    “We have to get past the idea that a simple answer is going to solve a complicated problem,” she says, noting that the huge increase in pink products in this month may afford the disease to just 30 days worth of attention per year. “People think breast cancer only happens in October,” she says.

    On the other hand, the extreme amount of attention it does receive this month gives people the impression that breast cancer is well taken care of, says Brenner. “I got an e-mail in late October last year and it said the breast-cancer problem is solved, why aren’t you guys working on autism? I was floored. The breast-cancer problem is not solved.”

    Seven years ago, BCA launched Think Before You Pink, a watchdog group monitoring products marketed for breast-cancer awareness. The group came in response to the Breast Cancer Action’s concerns that called for more transparency and accountability by companies taking part in breast cancer fundraising. They want consumers to start asking a lot more questions before they whip out their pink credit card to pay for that pink household-cleaning product.

    She is particularly concerned about 4 categories of product-cause marketing related to breast cancer: cosmetics companies that use substances that have been tangentially linked to breast cancer; automobile companies (Ford, for example, which has its Warriors in Pink breast cancer awareness program) since there are toxins coming out of the tailpipe; dairy companies using bovine growth hormone rbGH; and alcohol manufacturers who cash in on pink “when we know that too much drinking” can lead to breast cancer, says Brenner.

    “Companies say they care about breast cancer,” but they have elements in their products that can “cause” breast cancer, too, she says. And it doesn’t make her happy.


    I asked her if she thought I was stupid to cut out my little coupon and buy my Swiffers.

    “Nobody who buys this stuff is stupid,” she says. “But they’ve been told by corporate America that buying solves the problem.”

    Brenner was diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago. “I’m fortunate to still be here,” she says. “Breast cancer gets so much attention, but what kind? Awareness is not what we need, and buying things ain’t going to solve the problem.”

    Advocates for pink marketing disagree. “I’d say pink is doing its job very effectively—I’m thinking there should be even more pink if it helps us get rid of this disease forever,” said ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in a statement to NEWSWEEK. “These products provide tens of millions of dollars for research and support programs; they remind people to get their screenings and allow people to participate in this movement conveniently ... Of course, people should look at Web sites and labels to make an informed choice, but it’s short-sighted to simply dismiss the positive impact that businesses are having in our fight to end an awful disease.”


    While it’s unlikely to stop consumers from shopping, Think Before You Pink has taken a more proactive view as well. Several years ago, they focused on Yoplait’s pink-lidded yogurt, which was sold to raise money for breast cancer, but was made with dairy stimulated with the hormone rBGH.

    The online campaign called on General Mills, the manufacturer of Yoplait to “put a lid” on rBGH, and gave activists the tools to send that message directly to the CEO. Working with many partners dedicated to ridding the world of rBGH, BCA activists persuaded General Mills to do the right thing. As a result, Yoplait is now rBGH free.

    Two weeks after General Mills announced they were going rBGH free, Dannon responded to public pressure and made the same promise to consumers. These two companies represent two thirds of America’s dairy products.

    Brenner and Think Before You Pink weren’t able to stop the tidal wave of pink products that flood the market each October. But they were able to make some of those products safer for women. It’s a small step—but an important one.

  2. #32
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    I must say that it never crossed my mind that seeing all the pink would be a painful reminder to many. (Although it also would never have crossed my mind to give a pink ribbon memento to a cancer patient either - WTF?)

    This is definitely food for thought. I still think the awareness aspect is good for encouraging women to get their mammograms and do self tests, but yeah, anything that corporate America latches so heavily onto does carry a grain of skepticism too.

  3. #33
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    Pink overload: Are companies taking advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? - Manage Your Life on Shine

    AP/Getty Images
    The reds and oranges of changing foliage may be the traditional colors of October, but pink is gaining on them fast as this month marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. NFL players are wearing pink cleats and sweatbands, pink food is everywhere, and store aisles are awash in a sea of pink products, many bearing the familiar pink ribbon that signals breast cancer awareness and fundraising. But here’s the thing: Buying pink does not always mean your green will go to cancer research.

    If you buy a cleaning product adorned with pink packaging and the ubiquitous breast cancer pink ribbon, for example, that pink ribbon is unlicensed and unregulated, so any company can use it, leaving the real work to consumers to figure out if the products they buy will really help the cause. Take Procter & Gamble’s pink ribbon-bedecked Swiffer mop. Daily Finance’s Aimee Picchi reports that although the words “early detection saves” accompany the Swiffer’s pink ribbon, simply purchasing the mop will not help fundraising efforts. Procter & Gamble told Picchi that the company will make a two-cent donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation only if a consumer uses a coupon from its brand saver coupon book, which could only be found in newspapers on Sept. 27.

    "If the label says, 'Money will go to support breast cancer,' well, what does that mean?" Barbara Brenner, the executive director of advocacy group Breast Cancer Action, tells Daily Finance. "If it says it will support breast cancer awareness without being specific, it's not going anywhere."

    Meanwhile, many companies that do give generously to breast-cancer fundraising efforts cap their donations, the Boston Globe notes in this extensive piece, "Sick of Pink," even if sales of pink-adorned products are strong and bring in more than expected. Partners of the Texas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which raised nearly $50 million last year from more than 250 corporations that gave Komen some proceeds from product sales, are required to tell consumers on their product packaging how purchasing their products will help Komen, and whether the company has a minimum or maximum donation.

    Pair heightened consumer awareness with growing outrage among women breast cancer survivors over the overly pink, overly sweet, over-commercialization of breast cancer, and you could have the makings of an anti-pink backlash. Author Barbara Ehrenreich was one of the first to give voice to outrage over the infantilization and commercialization of women’s breast cancer experiences in her 2001 Harper’s Magazine essay, “Welcome to Cancerland.” She wrote of the cornucopia, starting with teddy bears, of “pink-ribbon-themed breast-cancer products."

    "You can dress in pink-beribboned sweatshirts, denim shirts, pajamas, lingerie, aprons, loungewear, shoelaces, and socks; accessorize with pink rhinestone brooches, angel pins, scarves, caps, earrings, and bracelets; brighten up your home with breast-cancer candles, stained-glass pink-ribbon candleholders, coffee mugs, pendants, wind chimes, and night-lights; pay your bills with special BreastChecks or a separate line of Checks for the Cure. 'Awareness' beats secrecy and stigma of course, but I can't help noticing that the existential space in which a friend has earnestly advised me to "confront [my] mortality" bears a striking resemblance to the mall.”

    On her blog, The Assertive Cancer Patient, Jeanne Sather also decries the pink-themed commercialization. She leads a “Boycott October” movement to put an end to the often misleading merchandising of the disease. “I keep hoping that each year will be the year that the tide turns, and women say ENOUGH to pink-ribbon Tic Tacs, pink-ribbon laundry soap, pink-ribbon panties, and all the other pink merchandise that appears every fall,” she writes on her blog.

    So what’s a caring consumer to do? Breast Cancer Action’s “Think Before You Pink” campaign suggests five questions you can ask before laying down cash for a pink-tinged product. Number one: “How much money from your purchases actually goes toward breast cancer, and is the amount clearly stated on the package?”

    You can also bypass products altogether and donate directly to organizations that give directly to cancer research and help women with cancer and their families. Here are a few:



  4. #34
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    I was talking to my ex-boss today & he said blah blah blah " pre-cancerous cells".... What a cunt! I was staged at 2b ffs!!!!
    It made my blood boil!
    Free Charmed.

  5. #35
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    I saw pink bags of Gevalia chocolates at the store today. The sign said "Help us raise up to 100,000 for breast cancer research". One bag of the chocolates cost 6.00, and you know they sell a shitload of them.

    I'm also sick of being asked if I would like to give to a certain charity when I am checking out. I already give to the charities I wish to, and they do it to pressure you into giving something so you don't look like an asshole in front of everyone.
    By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another man's I mean. -Mark Twain

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