Monday, January 30, 2012

Pink Ribbons, Inc: A Pinkwashing Documentary

Think before you Pink. 

It's a 'new to me' motto that gives voice to a growing disquiet that happens once a year during breast cancer awareness month. I've always felt uncomfortable walking by the rows of petroleum based products dyed PINK. 

I support raising money for breast cancer wholeheartedly. I have several aunts who have passed away or are survivors of breast cancer. 

That said, it's become increasingly obvious that companies will 'pinkwash' their product to encourage (mostly women) to buy THEIR product over another in order to raise money for breast cancer research. What's frustrating is that many of these products have ingredients that are linked to breast cancer. These companies are encouraging women to purchase their products filled with potentially cancerous ingredients, to support the fight against breast cancer. It's laughable (see Campaign for Safe Cosmetic's 'Pink Ribbon Cosmetics' or details on companies and ingredient health risks).

(see that tiny ribbon? Attached to a naked woman selling toilet paper. Nice)

The kicker for me was when Cashmere introduced their pink toilet paper a few years ago. I almost lost my cookies in the middle of the grocery store. A company that uses the female body in ads to sell their product (classy), destroys millions of carbon-sinking trees and uses a stinking chemical soup to process them into a cushy piece of bowel movement removal has now placed pink dye on their TP. And we're expected to wipe our most vulnerable places with this pink monstrosity? I'm sorry, but I don't think those who are fighting and surviving breast cancer truly feel I'm supporting them by wiping my bum with dyed pink toilet paper. 

I'm VERY excited for a new Canadian documentary- Pink Ribbons, Inc, premiering in 40 Canadian cities this Friday February 3rd 2012. In Halifax; Bayer's Lake & Park Lane Theatres (Canadian city listing). As the director is Québécoise, I've already heard three radio coverages on various Québécois programs (including an interview with the director). Léa Pool, the director, stated that her goal wasn't that we should stop raising money for Breast Cancer, but that we should do so responsibly. I think the most thought provoking part was the description of trying to wrap breast cancer up in a pretty pink bow- "it's not pretty; it's ugly and it needs to stop"

Director Léa Pool hopes that  Pink Ribbons, Inc. will encourage people to question their 

actions. “To use their power as women to mobilize and unite, but use it with more reflection 
and activism. To be more critical and more politically conscious about our actions and to stop 
thinking that by buying pink toilet paper we’re doing what needs to be done. (Press Kit)

Think before you Pink.

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Kinda makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer takes part in a charity run and everyone's horrified because he's "not wearing the ribbon." Symbols do tend to take on a life of their own...

  2. hey thanks, to be honest I had never thought about it, but how right you are. CRAZY what is done for media coverage or whats not done to reduce risks in the first place!!

  3. you're so right. there's so much more behind the marketing. it can be infuriating, but awareness and education is the first step. thanks for doing your part and sharing what you know.

    i followed you here from the cwa's... congrats!


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