Category Archives: blog

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Please join me for a special pinkwasher-free event

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By Caitlin Carmody, BCAction Membership Coordinator

I’ll admit it—I’m a grump about most breast cancer fundraising events. I’m a grump about the high overhead and I’m a grump about all of the pinkwashers that find their way into the mix.

But I am thrilled to be genuinely excited about an upcoming event hosted by Breast Cancer Action, which promises to be an evening of culinary delight, with nary a pinkwasher in sight.

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Webinar: Make Action Speak Louder Than Pink

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It’s October, and that means the pink ribbons are out in force.  You’ve seen them at grocery stores, at restaurants, and at athletic events. Their prevalence is undeniable, but the real question is: do they do any good? Read More »

Make October 2011 historic

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By Caitlin Carmody, BCAction Membership Coordinator

On Monday, newsmagazine Mother Jones asked in a headline, “Is Susan G. Komen denying the BPA-breast cancer link?” My answer is yes, they are, and here’s why.

Komen, among others, is denying the BPA-breast cancer link just as they are denying the potential health threats of their “Promise Me” perfume because they continue to endorse the “innocent until proven guilty” standard by which toxic chemicals are regulated in this country. Read More »

This video will make you want to Raise a Stink!

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Pinkwashing has reached a new low this year with “Promise Me,” a perfume commissioned by the giant of the breast cancer movement, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Watch our video to see why so many people are Raising a Stink! about it. Read More »

More questions than answers on “Promise Me”

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By Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Action

Two days after Breast Cancer Action publicly announced the findings of independent lab testing of Komen’s commissioned perfume Promise Me, we want to thank BCAction members and supporters who have sent almost 1,200 letters to Komen urging them to recall the product. Read More »

Raise a Stink! about pinkwashing

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TAKE ACTION! Ask Susan G. Komen for the Cure to stop pinkwashing and recall Promise Me

By Karuna Jaggar, BCAction Executive Director

Pinkwashing has reached a new low this year.

In the past, we’ve worked to demand accountability from companies who pinkwash in the name of breast cancer. We’ve seen pink alcohol. Pink buckets of fried chicken. Pink hormone-laden yogurt. Read More »

Why BCAction will never underestimate environmental toxins

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Executive Director Karuna Jaggar

By Karuna Jaggar, Breast Cancer Action Executive Director

The American Cancer Society took issue with parts of our last post. I wanted to let you know how I responded–my thoughts are below. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

We have no dispute about the known health benefits of diet and exercise on reducing one’s risk for breast cancer; however, I have to take issue with your downplaying of the connection between exposure to environmental toxins and increased risk of breast cancer on two levels. Read More »

Mammograms, diet & exercise will not end the epidemic

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Karuna Jaggar

Executive Director Karuna Jaggar

By Karuna Jaggar, Breast Cancer Action Executive Director

In anticipation of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s CEO Nancy Brinker is calling for “less talk, more action” on breast cancer. I am struck by how similar the urged “action” looks to what the organization has been advocating for years. Komen’s “take action” emphasis continues to be on individual women getting annual mammograms.  Read More »

The movie we’ve all been waiting for

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By Shazia Manji, Breast Cancer Action Program/Communications Intern

At Breast Cancer Action we are always excited to hear about efforts to change the conversation about breast cancer. We value the scope and impact of media and publicity to alert the public to issues that we hold at the center of what we do as an organization.  Read More »

Survey and News Roundup

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Important News: METAvivor Research and Support, Inc. is conducting a survey to determine the impact of metastatic breast cancer on the lives of those dealing with the disease. Their intention is to present the information at the Advanced Breast Cancer First Consensus Conference in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2011. In addition, they plan to “write one or more papers to inform policymakers, researchers, cancer organizations and the public as to the seriousness of the disease and the great need for change and improvement in many areas.”  In a TB4UP guest post earlier this year, Anna Rachnel of The Cancer Culture Chronicles noted: “metastatic breast cancer, which accounts for around 90% of breast cancer mortality, receives less than 2% of all monies directed to cancer research.” We need less pink ribbons and more voices raised to increase the amount of attention and funding dedicated toward BC Mets. Visit the survey here – the deadline is July 14th.

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We need you raising hell with us

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By Caitlin Carmody, BCAction Membership Coordinator

Last week I came upon a popular website encouraging pink ribbon promotions for breast cancer. One page caught my eye: “Questions you should ask.” Lo and behold, the questions they’d posted were the critical questions about pink ribbon promotions Breast Cancer Action has been pushing for years, posted with other information copied from our Think Before You Pink® website. I was fuming and stomping around the office: “We have to contact them! They’re using our information without giving us any credit! We have the phrase “Think Before You Pink®” COPYRIGHTED for goodness sake!”

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Promise me you’ll read the ingredients on this pink perfume!

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by Kim Irish, Program Manager

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has partnered with TPR Holdings, LLC, a New York City-based investor and operator in the consumer products industry, to create a perfume called Promise Me.  According to the fragrance’s website, the pink-tinted Promise Me is “The Scent of Inspiration.”  Its neatly packaged bottles and gift sets, with the all-too-familiar Komen ribbon emblazoned on the side, remind us that it’s not just inspiration Komen and TPR Holdings wants – they want us to shop our way to a cure.

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Who really benefits from all those pink ribbons?

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Nine years ago, Breast Cancer Action launched our Think Before You Pink® campaign in response to women’s concerns about the number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market. With so many women still being diagnosed with breast cancer, we want to know: “Who really benefits from all of these pink ribbons?”


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Exciting News!

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Back in March, BCA re-launched the Think Before You Pink® blog to provide information and resources for those interested in shifting the dominant breast cancer narrative. One of our goals was to provide concrete tools that would help people start conversations with their friends, family and communities. As a result, I am excited to announce that we are finishing a “first draft” of our brand-new Think Before You Pink® toolkit. We’ll be offering a sneak peek next week, so stay tuned!

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“The Politics of Breast Cancer” Webinar: Sign Up Today!

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This webinar is now available online! Click here to watch.

Why does BCA so fiercely object to Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What is so wrong with pink ribbon marketing? Why on earth would corporations involved in the treatment and diagnosis of women with breast cancer try to control how the public understands the disease? Read More »

The Dark Side of Pink Awareness

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guest post by Rachel, of  The Cancer Culture Chronicles

Note from Breast Cancer Action: In response to last week’s blog post from Angela Wall, several of our members commented on our Facebook page and shared their thoughts about the efficacy of breast cancer awareness campaigns. Rachel from The Cancer Culture Chronicles noted that women with metastatic breast cancer, in particular, have not benefited from the “pink razzamatazz”. We are honored to share her words with more of our members via this week’s blog post. Read More »

Good news? Not so fast…

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by Angela Wall, Communications Manager

Good news on breast cancer, says Sadie Stein writing for Jezebel.  Why?  Well, because of pink ribbon awareness campaigns more women are getting screened and diagnosed earlier.  Hold on.  Does this ring false to anyone else?

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A message from our outgoing Development Director

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Before her departure last week, our former Development Director Amy Harris wrote a message about her work at BCA and her feelings about our organization. We thought we’d share it, as it’s a great window into our world- both in terms of what it’s like to work with us every day and, also, the dedication we have to ending the breast cancer epidemic.

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This week’s featured posts

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Our staff follows a number of blogs that offer much-needed perspective on the breast cancer epidemic. Two of our favorite bloggers, Katie Ford Hall and Gayle Sulik, wrote brilliant posts this week that we wanted to share.

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… and we’re back!

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As many of our readers have noticed, pink ribbon-festooned breast cancer “awareness” campaigns are no longer limited to October. In our effort to create more substantive conversation related to breast cancer, BCA has decided to revive the Think Before You Pink blog! We’re now devoting this space to action and education.

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An update!

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Unfortunately, some technical difficulties are preventing me from reporting on the results of this year’s Parade of Pink. However, Breast Cancer Action staff weighed in on this year’s “contestants”… and the winner was the pink ribbon “I’ve lost my boobies, but not my sex appeal” thong. Unsurprising, given that this product was marketed as a “chemo gift”.

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Pick the “winner” of this year’s Parade of Pink!

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Every October at Breast Cancer Action, our inboxes are flooded with pictures of bizarre and often insulting products sold to “promote breast cancer awareness”.  This year, we featured some of these items on our Think Before You Pink blog. The response from our members was overwhelming- we received dozens of comments and emails expressing outrage at the ridiculous nature of some pink ribbon products. Do we really need pink dental tools? Pink thongs? Pink bottles of alcohol? One thing is clear: despite millions of dollars spent, we’ve yet to get any closer to ending the breast cancer epidemic.

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A roundup of interesting news from this past week!

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Sociological Images: Awareness Branding and the Ethical Fix

WalletPop: Which Pink Ribbon Products Make the Biggest Impact?

Huffington Post: Susan G. Komen Under Fire- Nation’s Largest Breast Cancer Charity Defends Their Record

CNN: Everyday chemicals may be harming kids, panel told

Pink ribbons don’t encourage us to think about social justice

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by Caitlin Carmody, BCA Membership Coordinator

Usually when I tell people I work at Breast Cancer Action, they start to talk about pink ribbons and races. This requires me to do some conversation steering. Last week I felt like I had one of my best “conversation conversions” to date; we went quickly from “race for the cure” to “toxins in our world,” and covered pesticides, shampoo, and pink ribbons on products that contain carcinogens. As we ended the conversation lamenting about the ineffectiveness of natural deodorants, I had a nagging sense that I hadn’t gotten to the heart of my unease with pink ribbons. It was only on the bus later that I got it: pink ribbons don’t encourage us to think about social justice.
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Next Year, Let’s Skip Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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by Mia Davis, National Coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Originally published in GOOD Magazine.

Can the pink ribbon be saved from corporate cause marketing, and actually mean something for women’s health?
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