Pinktober: A commercial adaptation of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month that promotes upbeat simple awareness messages about breast cancer and encourages people to participate in pink ribbon culture and the war against breast cancer especially through the purchase and display of pink paraphernalia.

The month of October is now so closely identified with the breast cancer Cause that it is commonly referred to as “Pinktober” — dedicated to “celebrating  life, spreading awareness, and going pink in support of the fight against breast cancer.” Similar to the mainstream pink ribbon culture, Pinktober is upbeat, disseminates simple awareness messages, encourages people to participate in pink ribbon culture (especially through the purchase and display of pink paraphernalia), and stresses the urgency and aggressive action inherent in any war metaphor (i.e.,Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer.)

MOTOR THROUGH PINKTOBER Display at a Supermarket, 2010.

The Hard Rock Cafe has taken Pinktober to heart, offering an array of festivities and products for pink-loving consumers.

Some of the proceeds from Hard Rock’s pink extravaganza are donated to an actual breast cancer related organization, in this case the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Often the sales from pink products, services, and entertainment venues offer little or nothing at all in the way of benefits to meaningful programs or organizations. Instead, association with the Cause lends legitimacy (real or imagined) to the revenue-producing enterprise.

Pinktober (and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, from whence it came) has become a springboard for transforming the breast cancer Cause into an element of popular culture. Millions of supporters raise billions of dollars to invest in a consumer-based version of breast cancer advocacy that prioritizes fundraising and symbolic support over direct action and efficacy.

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