Does Commercialization of the Pink Ribbon Add Value to the Cause?

PinkRibbon.org did a “quick poll” to ask this question. Though there is no information about how many people responded to the poll or had the opportunity to respond, whether the sample was representative of any particular population, or how long the poll ran, the organization reports that 71% of responders said “YES” – pink ribbon commercialization adds value.

To answer this question, the pollster and the responder would have to know, and agree upon, what is meant by value. If value refers to raising money, then the $6 billion raised for the cause would suggest that value is added. We could have pink ribbon theme parks for the cure, gambling for the cure, and so on. But value is more than monetary. In fact, what people value most has no monetary value at all. Those things are priceless.

What do we value when it comes to the cause of breast cancer? How does what we do to support the cause reflect or diminish what we value?

Does pink hair really show you care? Do pink trinkets minimize the magnitude of a life-threatening illness? Are personal care products that contain unregulated chemicals linked to cancer the best choice to raise money for a fight against cancer? Are m&ms the best way to fundraise for a disease that feeds on sugar? Does the valorization of the breast trivialize the damage or loss of this part of a woman’s body? How does the abundance of pink fundraising help or hurt the causes of other life threatening illnesses? If the eradication of breast cancer is the goal, what percentage of funds raised should go to research compared to awareness programs? Does visibility necessitate awareness? What does awareness mean? How much money is enough? How should that money be spent? If pink ribbon fundraising becomes a vital revenue stream for cause marketers, corporations, and nonprofit organizations, does it limit incentives to eradicate the disease?

What do YOU think?

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3 comments to Does Commercialization of the Pink Ribbon Add Value to the Cause?

  • All very good questions Gayle. We can only hope these issues start gaining more attention from the mainstream media. Once they get over their fear of being labelled anti-breast-cancer by the marketers driving the Pink Ribbon machine, of course.

  • Caitlin

    That the poll appears on pinkribbon.org provides a pretty biased polling sample. If you don’t think pink ribbon has value, you probably won’t be at this site to begin with. My quick two cents.

To speak her truth, she needed to give her words and identity away, to a trusted poet and friend @stevedavenport breastcancerconsortium.net/ov…

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* GAYLE IN THE MEDIA *

"Seeing clearly through the pink haze" Toronto Sun

*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer" New Scientist

How should we address breast cancer when norms continually change? The Guardian

Your Fun 'No Bra Day' Photos Are Overshadowing Terminal Breast Cancer Patients Broadly

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Breast Cancer to Rise 50 Percent by 2030? Hey, Not So Fast! Health News Review

Breast Cancer: The Flaws in the Cause iafrica.com

How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Breast Cancer Donations Money

The Very Pink, Very Controversial Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Racked

NFL, Pink Ribbons Not Enough to Win over Women CNN

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Pink Ribbon Envy: Living with an Uncool Cancer The Nib

A Year After Bombings, Some Say 'Boston Strong' Has Gone Overboard NPR, All Things Considered

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Time to Debunk the Mammography Myth CNN

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Why Jolie's Test Costs So Much CNN

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Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' KCRW

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer The New York Times Magazine.

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WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

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Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger many patients USA Today

The perils of pink The Daily

Komen pink campaign creates breast-cancer blues for some Dallas Morning News

A yellow flag for the NFL's pink New York Daily

Gayle Sulik named #7 in SharecareNow’s Top 10 Online Influencers in Breast Cancer

Breast cancer cancer causes so easily derailed Philly Inquirer

Komen Charity Under Microscope for Funding, Science Reuters

The Fight Against Cancer - And Abortion? Salon.com

Susan G. Komen For the Cure defunds Planned Parenthood. In Deep with Angie Coiro

Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is there Pink Fatigue? NPR's All Things Considered

How is Breast Cancer Culture Undermining Women's Health? America’s Radio News Network

Pink Ribbon Culture and Breast Cancer The Kojo Nnamdi Show

The Big Business of Breast Cancer
Marie Claire

Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Crowd Out Other Diseases? Slate

Pink Inc. Has Many Starting to See Red The Sacramento Bee

Get Your Pink Off Ottawa Citizen

Komen Pink Ribbons Raise Green and Questions USA Today

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