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As I'm sure you all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Critics have also called it "pink-tober" because of all the pink ribbons and other items that have been made pink for the month.

It is everywhere. Football players with bright pink gloves and shoes, rows of pink teddy bears, 5Ks and cupcake sales filled with folks in big pink T-shirts. (Heck, I'm selling PartyLite Glo-Jar candles this month with the promise of donations to the American Cancer Society. But this isn't an ad...) We've even gotten rather "blue" about Pink-tober, with "Save the Ta-tas" bumper stickers and shirts that cry out "feel your boobies." 

This month is not without controversy. Last year, KFC raised money with their pink buckets, depsite the fact that fried food consumption has been linked to cancer. The incessant memes on Facebook, that started out innocently enough with women posting what color bra they were wearing until the posts were discussed in the evening news, took a disturbing turn when the "secret code" implied that participating women were pregnant. Sites like this one encourage people to examine the business practices of those companies celebrating Pink-tober. 

So how do you feel about this month's campaigns?Are there specific companies you will or will not support because of their Pink-tober campaigns? Are you tired of it? Or does it really mean something to you, that you would be willing to share?

Wenchmommy381, International Wenches Guild

"I know that something very strange Is happening to my brain.
I'm either feeling very good Or else I am insane.
The seeds of doubt you planted Have started to grow wild
And I feel that I must yield before The wisdom of a child.
And it's love you bring,
No, that I can't deny
With your wings,
I can learn to fly,
Sweet young thing."
--M Nesmith
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:31 PM
Replies (131-140):
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 1:11 AM
I always show my support(change my Facebook pic to the ribbon and other small things). But as far as donations, I stick to donating directly to the research centers. I feel like I'm making a bigger impact and not fooling myself into thinking I'm helping the cause when the money may not really be going towards research.
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by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:23 AM
1 mom liked this

Before You Buy Pink

Breast Cancer Action coined the term pinkwashing as part of our Think Before You Pink campaign. 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.

Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?

Any company can put a pink ribbon on its products. The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by any agency and does not necessarily mean it effectively combats the breast cancer epidemic. Some products sport pink ribbons to try to communicate that they are "healthy" and don't contribute to breast cancer, such as a number of natural health and beauty products. Other products have a pink ribbon in order to indicate that the company supports breast cancer programs even if the company's contributions are not tied to the purchases of the specific product bearing the ribbon. Still other companies give a portion of an item's cost to a breast cancer organization but may require further action on the part of the consumer for the donation to be realized. Can you tell how much money from your purchases will go to support breast cancer programs? If not, consider giving directly to the charity of your choice instead.

EXAMPLE: In 2010, Dansko shoe company sold pink ribbon clogs. Consumers likely thought that a portion of theirpurchase of pink ribbon clogs went to a breast cancer program. However, purchase of the pink ribbon clogs was not connected to Dansko's donation-none of the portion of the sales went toward their already set donation of $25,000to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No matter whether or not you bought the clogs, their donation was the same.

Is there a "cap" on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation alreadybeen met? Can you tell?

Some companies that indicate that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of a particular pink ribbon product will go to support breast cancer programs put an arbitrary "cap" on their maximum donation. Once the maximum amount has been met, the company may continue to sell the product with the pink ribbon without alerting customers that no additional funds will be donated to breast cancer organizations. This means you may be buying a product for which none of your purchase price will go to a breast cancer cause but only to the bottom line of the company.

EXAMPLE: In 2010, Reebok marketed a line of pink ribbon emblazoned footwear and apparel at prices ranging from$50 to $100. Though it heavily promoted the fact that some of their pink ribbon product sales would be donated tothe Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, they set a limit of $750,000, regardless of how many items were sold, and therewas no mechanism in place to alert consumers once the maximum donation had been met.

Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breastcancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

Many companies have sold pink ribbon products that are linked to increased risk of breast cancer. We believe that companies that are profiting from building a reputation based on their concern about breast cancer have a responsibility to protect the public from possible harms when scientific research indicates that there is a risk or plausible reason for concern. Some of the earliest cause-marketing companies were well-known cosmetics companies that continue to sell cosmetics containing chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer. Even car companies have gotten in on the action and sell cars that emit toxic air pollutants in the name of breast cancer. In considering a pink ribbon purchase, does the product contain toxins or otherwise increase the risk of breast cancer?

EXAMPLE: In 2011, Susan G. Komen for the Cure commissioned a perfume called Promise Me that contains unlisted chemicals that are regulated as toxic and hazardous, have not been adequately evaluated for human safety, and have demonstrated negative health effects. Although Komen says they will reformulate future versions of the perfume, without official adoption of the precautionary principle, there is no guarantee that future versions would be better.

If you have doubts about your pink ribbon purchase after reviewing these critical questions

  1. Write a letter asking the company to be transparent about its donations.
  2. Write a letter asking the company to sign BCAction's Pledge to Prevent Pinkwashing.
  3. Consider giving directly to a breast cancer organization whose work you believe is most essential to addressing the breast cancer epidemic.

Think before you spend your money on pink items. Download a handy PDF of critical questions, find out the real story behind where the pink ribbon came from, learn more about cause marketing and make a direct donation to Breast Cancer Action.

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:53 AM
I have a chronic condition that barely has a management plan, much less a cure. I appreciate that breast cancer does need support to find a cure, but I feel that this level of attention makes it hard for those suffering from other conditions to get any help, especially when it's a condition no one seems to know anything about. Anyone heard of POTS? Yeah. Didn't think so.
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by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:57 AM
I couldn't agree more. September is Children's Cancer Awareness Month, and we don't hear squat about it!

Quoting copgirl112:

I'm fine with all of the support about breast cancer. But how come we don't pay attention to all the other cancers? August is National Ovarian Cancer month but no one seems to care. Everyone just cares about breast cancer. Even though there are more deadlier cancers out there. People just partcipate in the month because breasts are oversexualized. Breasts are attractive to most people not like lungs or prostates.

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by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 7:06 AM
October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month...
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by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 8:31 AM
I don't understand why breast cancer is the only cancer with a designated month yet it's definitely not the deadliest of cancers and other diseases. It seems a little greedy to me quite honestly. Not that it's not important but I think they have way more than enough donations and attention on them. Like the other cancers don't matter as much because it's breast cancer.
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 8:38 AM
I haven't noticed anything in the store to buy. But I would to help I am sure I will see something soon. I think that when the do things to raise money it is a good thing.
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 9:37 AM

It's only payback. Back in the bad old days, no research was ever done on women's diseases. All cancer and heart research was only performed on men, as women were said to be " not the normal state."  In the 70's my microbiology professor (a woman) was researching vaginal infections. The head of the department decided that there were too many animals in the lab and he had all of hers destroyed, because he felt it was not important research, being only for women. But then, he was a Mormon. 

by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I love it and specifically search out companies and items that support breast cancer. It is important and goes to a great cause.
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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM


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