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Is Your Blog Going Pink In October For Breast Cancer Awareness? The Pinkwashing Controversy

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the blogosphere will shortly light up with pink in Twibbons, pink product reviews, and more as we all try to eradicate this horrible disease. Right?

Well, some folks beg to differ. There’s a large movement afoot in the breast cancer community about “Pinkwashing” which is defined by Pinkwashing.org as:

Pinkwashing (peenk+woshing)

-noun

1. a term used to describe the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease.

Bloggers are already gearing up to talk about this touchy subject, as Jessica at Found The Marbles did today.

Think about it.  Do you really need to buy that $100 pink scarf when just $5 from the purchase is going to the charity?  Couldn’t you make a much bigger impact by purchasing a $20 scarf of your choice and putting $80 towards finding a cure?  Pinkwashing occurs on everything from scarves to clothes to food to household items.

When I asked folks about it on Twitter, I got a wide range of responses. See them after the jump!

On Facebook, Julia of Thumbscre.ws said:

I have the BRCA1 gene (read: 80% lifetime risk of breast cancer, lots of tests every six months, prophylactic mastectomy a distinct possibility) and pinkwashing makes me want to barf.

Judy, who blogs about her experiences with cancer at Coffee Jitters, said the following:

It’s such a touchy issue. Komen is particularly bad about partnering with products that not only make a lot more money from promoting pink than they donate, but also partnering with unhealthy products such as the whole KFC mess or their new perfume… On the other hand, I have to acknowledge the fact that the treatment I received for my breast cancer was developed with research funded by Komen. so despite their distasteful actions, they’re still instrumental in saving lives – including mine.

Susan (known as WhyMommy) in the midst of her own battle with breast cancer right now, wrote this last year:

Other pink shopping: don’t be afraid, just check the label and ask yourself a couple of simple questions like I do:  How much of what I’m spending on this goes to charity?  Is it a charity I recognize? Do the contents of this product contribute to cancer (check out these pages on Eli Lilly and Estee Lauder for examples)? And last — am I buying this product just because it has a pink ribbon on it — and if so, wouldn’t it be better to just send a check directly?  If the answer to the last question is yes, put it down, my friends, and send a check for that amount when you get home to the charity of your choice.  Please.

So, what do you think? Will you be going pink this October?

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