Pinkwashing: Nothing Says Breast Cancer Awareness Like Sliced Mushrooms, Hair Dryers and Garbage Trucks

Abby Zimet

With the NFL's  latest pink incarnation of Breast Cancer Awareness month, some breast cancer advocates are questioning the usefulness of all those ubiquitous pink products from hair dryers to neck pillows to dumpsters, aka the "straight-up BS to unquestioningly swallow every Pepto Bismol-colored piece of cancer-cheerleading shoved down our throats every October" - most notably when  those products actually contribute to what remains a leading cause of death among women, pink sneakers or no. Far better, they say, to give money not to those marketing the products, but to research, prevention and treatment. Writer Xeni Jardin, now fighting breast cancer, blasts the month's wave of  “pink nausea,” arguing its message is, "Aww, you're dying. Isn't it adorable?" And Breast Cancer Action's Think Before You Pink campaign - slogan: "It's an epidemic, stupid" - suggests key questions to ask of so-called pink causes and calls for, not "shopping our way out of this disease," but better prevention and stronger government regulation of industry using carcinogenic materials.

"Most of us like women and don’t like cancer. Most of us extra super don’t like cancer when it kills our friends and mothers and daughters. Ignorance is assuming that a color has a moral value  and that “awareness” is sufficient. You want to see ignorance? Look around this pink-festooned month. We’re drowning in it. We’re dying in it."


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