As I’m sure many of you know, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is currently in full swing. It’s that time of the year when we are encouraged to don our finest pink garments, slap pink ribbons on our bags, and donate money to organizations such as Susan G. Komen and Relay for Life.
I’m about to tell you why that’s a bunch of garbage.
Before I start, let me explain to you what the concept of pinkwashing is. Pinkwashing is when brands create products that appear to support breast cancer (i.e. covered in pink) in order to promote their own interests. Essentially, huge companies are profiting off of the trendiness of breast cancer awareness. While this may seem harmless, it turns insidious when you look into the background of these organizations.
Organizations like Susan G. Komen, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many others, profit off of breast cancer in more ways then you think. When you look at the companies these organizations partner with in October, it might do some good to think “How does this benefit breast cancer?” The reason why I say this is because past partnerships have been with companies like KFC, Ford Motor Company, and AstraZeneca. These partnerships are particularly problematic considering a) fried foods have been linked to cancer, b) diesel exhaust has been linked to cancer, and finally c) AstraZeneca literally profits off of people getting breast cancer.
Since the start, AstraZeneca has touted as fact the belief that mammograms are the leading method of breast cancer prevention, which was actually debunked by the British Medical Journal. So why was AstraZeneca so hell-bent on women getting mammograms? That probably has something to do with the not one, but two anti-breast cancer drugs that the pharmaceutical company sells. After all, healthcare is not in the business of preventing disease, it’s in treating it.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is problematic in other ways too though. Some examples of this are the statements and images emblazoned on breast cancer awareness merch, such as “Save the Boobies” and “Save the Tatas,” and bras and breast-like imagery. You might recognize this process as objectification. Breast cancer patients and survivors already go through enough. Why does the public have to add on to that by constantly diminishing these people to the one body part that they feel has betrayed them?
This October, if you really want to support breast cancer patients and survivors, try supporting organizations like Planned Parenthood or Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. And please, I beg you, stop putting bras on breast cancer.
Chat with you next time,