And my goodness, I promise you it will have nothing to do with pink ribbons. To those of you who have heard me rant against Project Red, you probably know where I’m going with this.
One cannot wander down Walnut St. without being blasted in the face with pink merchandise—to benefit breast cancer! They promise! Buy this Vaio pink laptop! Or this pink Swiffer! How about these nifty New Balance sneakers with a pink ribbon on them? Oh, sure—say, how much from these snazzy sneaks will go towards breast cancer research? Oh, what’s that you say, they’re just to raise awareness? Oh, I see, because I needed a pink ribbon on my sneakers to be aware that breast cancer was a problem. And what’s this here? A beautiful Hana Special Edition Flat Iron! Well it’s $51 more than the regular edition, but it’s for a GOOD CAUSE! Right, except that only $25 dollars goes to the Susan G Komen Foundation, which just means you just spent $51 more to put $26 extra dollars in this company’s pocket.
These companies do not care about breast cancer. They care about lining their pockets and polishing their tarnished public images. This should not be surprising. They are companies in a capitalist society, and their sole goal is to make more profit. What IS surprising to me is how quickly and avidly everyone around me is embracing this crap. It allows everybody to give their credit cards a workout and to sleep easier at night, knowing they’re really “doing something” to fight breast cancer! I hate to break it to everybody, but that pink merchandise is not helping anybody. It is distracting us from what’s actually important—what kind of research is being done, how conditions are improving for women diagnosed with breast cancer, and remembering those women who lost the fight.
What also concerns me is that people may think they’ve “done their part” after buying themselves that new pink tshirt. The sad thing is that giant cause marketing scams like this and Project Red just make it harder for legitimate non-profits who actually care about the issue at hand. “So sorry. You see, I just bought a new red iPod and a pink laptop, so donations just aren’t in my budget right now.” Here’s a thought: if you ACTUALLY care about breast cancer, or AIDS, or whatever cause these companies are trying to sell you crap for, just DONATE MONEY TO THE ORGANIZATION.
And, if the cause marketing scumbags have totally brainwashed you already, at least be an educated consumer. Here is a link to a list of Critical Questions to Ask Before You Buy Pink, provided by Breast Cancer Action, an organization of people who actually care about the issue at hand. That’s where I’ll be putting my money, and I promise that they too will not be wearing pink ribbons this month. Breast cancer is too important to be trivialized like that.