Before I begin this piece, I’d like to confirm that ‘Think Before You Pink’ is a campaign that stands against Pinkwashing.
What is Pinkwashing?
“Pinkwashing is when a company uses that recognizable pink ribbon symbol or signature shade to market a product or service without meaningfully supporting breast cancer research or awareness,”Krystal Redman, DrPH, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, the organisation that coined the term back in 2002.
The pink ribbon, worn by breast cancer survivors, holds a meaningful symbolism. A meaningful symbolism that (as always) is commercialised by big companies. The fact remains, that most of these marketing campaigns hand out pink ribbons, and don’t actually donate to breast cancer research.
“Focusing on ‘raising awareness’ implies that if only people were more aware of this disease, somehow the breast cancer crisis would be solved,” Redman says. “This is obviously incorrect. We are all aware of breast cancer, and it is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide.”Krystal Redman
Redman argues that companies offering ‘Breast Cancer Screenings’, and releasing products in a pastel pink colour actually might be even producing containing ingredients that could elevate the breast cancer risk.
So, when it comes to genuineness, how do we actually know whether the organization actually cares about the cause?
- Who is the organization donating to? Verify that organization. Do they actually partake in breast cancer research?
- Has the company had any recent scandals? Are they doing a publicity stunt to distract from their mishaps?
- What is the company’s general reputation? Do they follow ethical practices like sustainability, and refraining from animal testing? What about the ingredients they use in their products? Are they harmful in any way?
- Are they disclosing how much of the profits they’re donating? It has been observed that the amount of money being donated may not be specified by some organisations. Are they misusing a genuine cause as a front to making more money?
- Is the disclosed amount a figure or percentage? Is the organization capping the amount at a certain number of zeroes? Will they be donating more money if their profits are higher than anticipated?
- Do they have a minimum amount they will donate? What if they make lesser money than anticipated? Will they be donating lesser money? (This brings out the true intention behind hosting the campaign. It is the cause or the profit?)
Taking a small form of happiness (like surviving cancer) from minor communities and commercializing the very essence of that celebration is a nasty habit that huge corporations tend to have. While it is good that they ‘create awareness’ considering the influence they have on their audience; what’s the point if they’re ingenuine? So, in this world of power-hungry magpies chasing silver – always do your research!