Save Lives, Not Boobies

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,

@notlikeothergirls

7 thoughts on “Save Lives, Not Boobies

  1. This was a great post! I learned about pinkwsshing in class but I think you explained it a lot better. It also makes me think about how fraternities even can use fundraising for the cause as publicity for their own organization. just a thought!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you brought to light the point of donating to Planned Parenthood if you really want to help raise awareness and make a difference in regards to breast cancer. I feel like so many people don’t know that Planned Parenthood offers affordable breast cancer screenings, and it’s awful the bad connotation it has when Planned Parenthood does so much good for people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you brought to light the point of donating to Planned Parenthood if you really want to help raise awareness and make a difference in regards to breast cancer. I feel like so many people don’t know that Planned Parenthood offers affordable breast cancer screenings, and it’s awful the bad connotation it has when Planned Parenthood does so much good for people.

    Like

  4. I’ve never heard of the term pinkwashing before reading this post! Thank you for informing us on a topic that I’m sure most people don’t think about, but nonetheless is very important!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found your article to be interesting because I had not heard of pink washing before, but I feel as though pink washing and objectification are very different things. I think that the problem encompassing Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not pink washing but instead is the notion of objectification. I feel as though sometimes pink washing is inherently necessary in order to raise funds, I mean how else are they supposed to promote their organizations and raise awareness/money. Yes, huge companies profit off the trendiness of breast cancer awareness but I mean how else are they supposed to stay afloat (so to speak)? Not saying I agree with what they do, but at the end of the day, if the money they are raising is going to what they say they are giving it too, isn’t that something more that wasn’t there before?
    Also, you can technically find a fault in every health care industry because in this day in age, what isn’t corrupt? I mean no matter what every business has some sort of plot twist embedded in their foundation. How would you like to promote breast care awareness without pink washing? How do you propose to raise funds for such intense form of cancer?

    Like

    1. First off my issue with pinkwashing is part taking advantage of charitable causes to promote your own business and part that it creates this culture of infantilizing women with breast cancer. This pink ribbon culture also includes teddy bears sent to grown women with breast cancer, as if their disease makes them less of an adult.
      To answer your other question, a huge problem with breast cancer awareness (and the health care system in general) has been this focus on management post-diagnosis rather than prevention. Additionally, my problem is less to do with the pink ribbon and more so the companies who essentially appropriate the movement when they are a part of the problem in the first place. Take Dairy Queen; it has been scientifically researched that dairy consumption is linked to breast cancer, but that doesn’t stop them from using the breast cancer awareness campaign to further their own interests.
      What I would like to see happen is organizations actually support breast cancer awareness by condemning products that are linked to the disease as well as moving away from this push to save the boobies when the women are the ones that need saving.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have heard of the term pink-washing before but it was in a different context. Applying it to breast cancer is interesting because I suppose you are right, companies “pink wash” themselves in order to gain a profit. I have heard in the past that Susan G. Komen profits more than anything off of breast cancer and the events they hold to fundraise. My family has lost someone to breast cancer and it upsets me that companies that I love use the disease in order to spike sales. Companies like The North Face release breast cancer attire every year in support. They claim that by purchasing these items you are helping find a cure. But in reality how much of the profit actually goes to breast cancer?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s