Category Archives: blog

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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?

Want to help BCA win $10,000 for our work?

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Just a reminder that Breast Cancer Action has been nominated for a Stay Classy Award for our What the Cluck campaign, which challenged the pinkwashing partnership between KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure! If we become a City Finalist, we’ll be entered into the national contest to win $10,000.

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Friday news roundup!

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Some of our favorite articles from this week. Read More »

Call me a skeptic, but…

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somehow, I don’t believe that dry cleaning chemical suppliers will lead us to an end to the breast cancer epidemic.

New England-based AristoCraft Supply, the self-described “premier distributor of drycleaning, laundry and tailoring supplies”, apparently disagrees.

Earlier this year, they launched a campaign called “Clean to Save a Life”, to sell pink items to dry cleaners. “Pink tissue, pink capes, pink garment covers, pink invoice paper,” says AristoCraft vice president Rick Ross. “If you want pink, we’ve got it.” An undisclosed amount of proceeds will purportedly be donated to the American Breast Cancer Foundation.

What this campaign doesn’t tell you is that while you “clean to save a life”, you could very well be endangering yours.

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Yet another reason to ask critical questions before buying pink…

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Breast Cancer Action started the Think Before You Pink® campaign to call for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourage consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.

The continuing need for this campaign is most evident during October, when we (and our members) discover that products emblazoned with the pink ribbon are doing nothing to end the breast cancer epidemic- even if their packages carry promises related to donations for research.

The new, pink-tinted G.U.M.® Soft Picks®, with packaging that claims G.U.M. is supporting breast cancer research, are yet another example of deceptive pink products.

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More on “Awareness”

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A guest post from Tamera Shanker, originally posted on Boo-Bee Trap

Before I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, I was aware of the prevalence of breast cancer. I knew it was a disease that struck mostly post menopausal women. Read More »

Friday news roundup (10/15)!

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A handful of articles and blog posts that we found interesting this week…

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This week’s contestant…

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in our Parade of Pink.

The thong reads, “I lost my boobies, not my sex appeal” and is tagged as a “chemotherapy gift”.  Nauseating.

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What the Cluck? We need your vote!

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Every year we see outrageous uses of the pink ribbon but until this spring we’d never seen anything like pink buckets of fried chicken being sold to “cure breast cancer.” Remember KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s “Buckets for the Cure” promotion which told us to buy pink buckets of unhealthy food to cure breast cancer?

Thanks to you and over 5,000 other BCA members, we changed the conversation. Together, we wrote to KFC and Komen leadership and asked “What the Cluck?” We got loud and demanded a stop to their pinkwashing partnership.

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Awareness to Awareness

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A guest post from Katie Ford Hall, of Uneasy Pink

We’re well into Pink October, 2010, but this year I sense a shift in awareness about awareness.  The media has criticized pinkwashing and silly viral memes trivializing cancer with sexual innuendo.  Tough questions are being asked, like why so little progress is being made to reduce mortalities despite all of this awareness?

The usual counterpoint is that while awareness campaigns might be for lightweights, they’re harmless.  Right?

No, not so much.

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Pink Revisited

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By Cathy Bueti, blogger and author of “Breastless in the City”Originally published in the Fall 2010 issue of The Source.

Pink has been my favorite color ever since I was a little girl. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31 years old, and I’ve never looked at that color the same again. Read More »

Friday news roundup!

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A list of articles and blogposts that we found interesting this week… Read More »

BCA featured on MSNBC!

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This morning, BCA’s Angela Wall made an appearance on MSNBC to discuss alcohol companies’ pinkwashing.  While we do believe that the media focuses too heavily on lifestyle (diet and exercise, for example) in discussion of breast cancer risk, it’s irresponsible for companies to encourage people to “drink year round for breast cancer”. We believe that women’s individual decisions about alcohol use are not the issue. Companies’ decisions to market alcohol as if it will help end the breast cancer epidemic are.  Classic example of pinkwashing! Read More »

A “Parade of Pink”

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Every October at BCA, our inboxes are flooded with pictures of bizarre- and often insulting- products that are “promoting breast cancer awareness”.  For instance, last year we found a pink taser and a Smith & Wesson gun with a pink handle.  Somehow, the manufacturers didn’t see anything odd about promoting a weapon that kills almost 5,000 women a year to keep the public aware of a disease that kills women. Hmm. Read More »

Even alcohol companies are getting in on the pinkwashing game…

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We’re lucky to have a guest post from Robert S. Pezzolesi, MPH, from the New York Center for Alcohol Policy Solutions.

The examples are endless: Sutter Home wine, FAT bastard wine, Global Journey wine, Pinky Vodka, Support Her Vodka, and even Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

Why would the makers of a product that raises the risk of breast cancer promote it as if it’s part of the solution?
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An Alternative to “Pink October”

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Welcome to the new Think Before You Pink® blog!

Here, we want to provide an alternative to the dominant narrative about “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and help provide information that can’t be found in the numerous aisles of pink products you’ll see this October.

Earlier this month, a BCA member wrote to us on Facebook, saying that she was dreading this October- her first after being diagnosed with breast cancer. For many, especially those living with breast cancer, October is a time to prepare oneself for “being bombarded with pink crap”. Races for “the cure” abound and consumer marketing agencies take the opportunity to dress products in pink in order to raise “awareness” for breast cancer. Do we need pink M&Ms to remind us about an epidemic that threatens one out of every eight women throughout their lifetime? These cause marketing opportunities are great for corporations who want to improve their image—but for women affected by breast cancer, they fail to address the source of the epidemic and are therefore a source of intense frustration.

Pink products do not tell us about the disparities that impact different demographics with cancer. Access to services, treatment and information unjustly varies among populations. Pink products do not tell us that 50% or more of cancer causes can be attributed to environmental factors. Pink ribbon products fail to address these issues, and yet often benefit the companies who make a profit by contributing to the breast cancer epidemic. There are things you can do right now, other than shopping, to help end this epidemic.

This blog is intended for you to write about anything from pink-ribbon campaigns that enrage you to ways in which you’ve taken action. We will also include insightful articles about pinkwashing—and what you can do about it. We look forward to your participation!

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