Pink. The favourite colour of all little girls – painting their dreams in princess pink, beglittered nails, sparkling lipgloss, blushing cheeks and fairytale love.
Perhaps this is why pink was targeted to represent breast cancer awareness? Because breasts are supposedly all about ‘femininity’ and ‘beauty’? And yet, while pink does raise awareness about breast cancer, it is not nearly as effective as consumers think it is. Using the sweet prettiness of pink only serves to continue the social silencing of the reality of breast cancer by sugar-coating it in a feel-good reverie of makes-me-feel-good charity.
People with metastatic breast cancer find the arrival of Pinktober an infuriating frustration. 46 year old Laura Wells says, ‘Ironically, with advanced metastatic disease, all the great things pink stood for no longer apply to me. I am beyond prevention, beyond cure, beyond survivorship… beyond pink.’
Do we really need pink products to remind us about an epidemic that threatens one out of every eight women throughout their lifetime?
Each year, many corporates unblushingly grab the Pinktober opportunity to boost their image. Yet, for women affected by breast cancer, pinkwashed corporate campaigns desperately fail them. All this pink fails to effectively drive the goals of breast cancer awareness forward towards increased funding, deeper research and more equitable treatment. (Unless, of course, you’re driving breast cancer awareness forward with the Pink Drive team!)
Pink products do not tell us about the disparities that impact our different demographics. Access to services, treatment and information varies unjustly. Pink products fail to fix, let alone effectively address these issues, but unsurprisingly benefit the companies who glean a pretty profit by contributing to the breast cancer epidemic.
On the brighter side of pink, there are epidemic-ending actions you can take instead of unknowingly and pointlessly piling your trolleys up with pink! Catch up with Pink Drive, one of ABC’s members, who has managed to transcend the global pink cliché with trademark South African voema by making the most of the powerful marketability of pink to actually make things happen! (Read more about them here.)
For more in-depth pinkformation, head on over to the links below:
- The Dark Side of Pinkwashing (deals with cosmetics companies)
- The Problem with Pink Ribbons (campaigns and their cons!)
- Think Before You Pink (organisation created by Breast Cancer Action)
- Critiquing Pinktober Is Not Enough
- Pinktober Brings Attention – Not Results