Let me start by saying I don’t have the answer to this but think anyone who’s ever bought something with a pink ribbon should be aware of this issue because whether you know it or not you are being marketed to via cancer.
I recently watched the documentary Pink Ribbon, Inc. and it’s left me contemplating what I had thought was good might not be. The documentary shares information about large companies that use “cause” marketing to exploit breast cancer. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Companies like Estee Lauder, Avon, Revlon, YoPlait and Ford are discussed. The documentary claims that breast cancer is being turned into a mainstream sisterhood culture targeted at women – women who make the buying decisions. If you were going to purchase an item and had the option to choose one that would benefit cancer at no additional cost, would you not choose the one with the cute pink ribbon?
I’m struck with question – is this actually a bad thing? I mean these companies are raising money for a good cause and give people hope. But they also make a ton on money on these events. Millions of women raise money and participate in events like Race for the Cure where companies like Honest Tea hands out (promote) thousands of their product. Yo Plait offers to donate $ .10 per yogurt lid you mail during a four month period. One commentator stated, “If you mailed in three lids a day for the four month period, you will have donated $34. Write a check.” Agreed.
Awareness seems to be a keyword. These companies – Estee Lauder, Revlon, Avon - have many ingredients in their products that cause cancer like lead, petroleum and formaldehyde. Federal standards do not protect you from these cancer causing cosmetics. Check out safety reviews on the EWG’s website and free guide to cosmetics ~ http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. Although I’ve made the change to chemical free products in some areas – I still have these brands in my makeup bag. And honestly I’m scared to look some of them up because I like using them. But cancer scares me more.
Do we put a pretty pink face on cancer? I tend to agree with the answer given by CEO of the Susan B Koman Foundation and US Ambassador Nancy Brinker, “Absolutely not. When you lead from only anger, you do not include or incent people to be a part of a mission. If people have no hope they will not participate long term. There is an endless fight.”
I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer – at least not one that I know. Bottom line – we do need to fight and we do need hope. So while these companies may profit from events, they are bringing people together in community and when people come together there is hope to fight cancer. Fighting Cancer