Think about the Pink

The ‘pink’ movement. A massive international trend boosting the use of pink – pink clothing, pink cars, pink sports events, pink cereals, pink jewellery, pink tattoos and even, in the US,  pink guns – to show support for, raise awareness of and gather funds for research into breast cancer.

There is a lot of criticism.

Some feel that painting breast cancer in a warm ‘n fuzzy pink covers up the disease’s dark and painful realities. Or worry that the important messages regarding breast cancer awareness are lost in the pretty pink packaging.

Does the association with the colour pink further entrench the perception of breast cancer as a ‘women’s issue’ – even when worn by sports heroes and firemen? Is the upbeat we-shall-overcome attitude fostered by the pink movement placing undue pressure on women to be positive and resilient in the face of adversity, arguably a common social pressure already?

Does the bling alienate men with the disease? Or women who don’t particularly like pink?

Are the calls to participate in pink campaigns, pink walks, pink corporate and sporting events distracting energies which could be spent lobbying government for more inclusive breast cancer care? Or are the campaigns actually advocating  to speed up and refine research into why so many women are getting breast cancer?

Do we know exactly how much money is donated to the cancer cause from the sale of pink branded products? Do we question the ethics of companies who are possibly just slapping pink packaging on their products to sell more units to sympathetic consumers, even if those products contain known carcinogens? See the recent furore over pink Q20 industrial lubricant cans LINK (http://www.enca.com/south-africa/q20-pink-campaign-gives-company-blues)

If we’re really interested in supporting cancer maybe we should make a donation to a reputable organisation instead? There are so many worthy ones doing incredible work in South Africa.

No one can argue that the pink campaign hasn’t massively raised awareness, and this should not be dismissed. The pink campaign is largely responsible for the advances in breast cancer that we do have, it has increased awareness about the disease, the importance of breast health, provided a platform for people to talk about their experiences, and a community of sorts for thousands of (mainly) women who’ve found comfort in the pink ‘sisterhood’.

So whether it’s changing your Facebook profile to pink for October, getting that long overdue breast exam, making a meal for someone undergoing treatment, participating in a sponsored walk to raise funds, educating yourself about the disease, volunteering in a clinic, giving blood, making a donation – all of this is better than nothing.

All we suggest is that you Think before you Pink.

Do you have an opinion on this? We’d love to hear from you, please start a conversation in the comments.

Here’s an opinion from another blog: http://theconversation.com/pepper-spraying-pinktober-18943

Recommended reading:

The History of the Pink Ribbon http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/?page_id=26

And does Pink actually exist as a colour? Check out this video:

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