Whenever I see a chapstick or a key chain with a ‘breast cancer symbol’ on it, I always wonder how much of my money would actually go to the cause. Packaging almost never says an actually amount – sometimes being labeled ‘some proceeds’ will go to the cause. That means .01% of the NET PROFIT could go to a charity supporting breast cancer. It is no longer a charitable act but consumerism.

About three years ago, I took a class in Critical Discourse. Now discourse in itself means a form of written or oral communication, but it is so much more than that.

Since I have lost many of my notes on the subject, my friends at Wikipedia say critical discourse is “approach to the study of discourse that views language as a form of social practice and focuses on the ways social and political domination are reproduced in text and talk.”

In the class we discussed everything from rhetoric in speeches, to the separation of animals and food, to feminism and gender roles. [I wish Kony 2012 had come out during the time I took this class as I think it is the perfect example of discourse.]

I remember once we discussed “Greenwashing” for over an hour. This is when products say they are environmentally friendly to boost sales. We discussed cleaning products, and clean and dirty oil. My favourite was how some companies literally try to sell ‘environmentally friendly’ oil. To me, there is no such thing.

When I look at the pink ribbon movement and its level of consumerism, I revert back to that session on greenwashing and think ‘this is pinkwashing.’

This is just another way people think they are helping a cause when they are really just helping companies sell a product, not the charitable cause they wanted.

As a person who has studied public relations, I do understand also where these companies are coming from. They saw a way to advertise and raise their corporate responsibility. Many companies chose to jump on the bandwagon.

I am not saying anyone should not support the breast cancer cause. But research how you choose to support it. I would skip the pink ‘breast cancer’ bikini.


2 thoughts on “Pinkwashing

  1. Great article… much truth and realizations. I bought a “pink” putter in which some proceeds went to Breast Cancer. It does help to raise awareness, however, you are correct, there needs to be awareness on how much is actually going towards what we are led to believe. Thanks again, Lys!

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