Saturday, June 2, 2012

The ugly side of pinkification exposed

Finally the film, Pink Ribbons Inc, is opening in the US. I blogged about this Canadian made film earlier this year. But now that it is out, there are more reviews available which gives a better idea of its focus. has reviewed the film and provides these insights.

"Patients with various stages of breast cancer, public health advocates and researchers raise three important points:

No. 1: “Pink ribbon” marches, marathons and events (illuminating the Empire State Building in pink to create breast cancer awareness, for example) not only waste resources, they mislead public opinion about what’s necessary to treat the disease.

No. 2: Financial benefits to research efforts from “cause marketing” (in which brands such as Yoplait and Ford declare themselves “pink”) are minimal, as is the gain from manufacture and marketing of pink merchandise.

No. 3: The pink industry’s heavy use of war imagery (describing “battle” against breast cancer, for example) is misleading and harmful to the physical and psychological well-being of those whose cure–and lives–depend on effective medicine, not metaphor."

The LA Times makes these comments:

"Even after massive fundraising efforts ($1.9 billion in the last 30 years from Susan G. Komen for the Cure alone), a woman's lifetime odds of contracting the disease have narrowed from 1 in 22 in 1940 to 1 in 8 today. Little of that money has made its way into research into causes, notably environmental factors like contaminants from plastics or livestock treated with hormones, the film argues.

Instead the push has been for early detection and developing a cure—two areas that benefit pharmaceutical companies but not necessarily patients, a mere 20% — 30% of whom come from high-risk groups. You can't cure what you don't understand is one of the film's sobering messages."

NPR also states: 

"As one woman observes, describing the treatment of cancer as a "fight" or a "battle" suggests that the disease is always beatable if patients make a heroic effort. The implication is that people who die "weren't trying very hard.""

[Anyone who tries to tell a woman with breast cancer that she isn't trying very hard needs is pretty damn stupid.]

"The disconnect between research and results is one of Pink Ribbons, Inc.'s keenest points. On-screen commentators contend that breast-cancer research is poorly coordinated and badly focused. Fewer than 30 percent of patients have a genetic proclivity for the illness, which indicates that most cases stem from environmental causes — yet relatively little attention is paid to prevention, or to chemicals that mimic estrogen and disrupt the human endocrine system."

A very thought provoking documentary on the ugly side of pinkification. Yes the film gives opportunities to for Komen and other non profits to offer their side but I think these messages are clear. Pink isn't helping. So please go watch the documentary if you can and learn more. If you wish to wear pink ribbons, just be sure to understand what the pink portion is going to and who or what it benefits.

My only problem with this film is that the closest it is showing to me is about 60 miles away - on the very tip of Cape Cod - which isn't very convenient in the summer.


Katrina said...

Will give it a try!

Brooke Davis said...

Thank you for sharing this. I broke into tears when reading it because I had someone close to me pass away from breast cancer. Pink is a great color to represent breast cancer. I believe the world needs to have better Breast Cancer Awareness and really know what the statistics are. I bought so muchBreast Cancer Awareness merchandise when someone close to me passed away and now I am more aware then ever! Hope this finds you well. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

my name is caroline and i love you

I Started a New Blog

I started this blog when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Blogging really helped me cope with my cancer and its treatment. Howe...