Memo to the “Hippest Town in NJ:” Please Stop Painting Yourself Pink

Peggy Orenstein is the author, most recently, of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Her previous books include The New York Times best-selling memoir,Waiting for Daisy; Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Kids, Love and Life in a Half-Changed World;and the best-selling SchoolGirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap. A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, Peggy has also written for such publications as The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Vogue, Elle, Discover, More, Mother Jones, Salon, O: The Oprah . . . → Read More: Memo to the “Hippest Town in NJ:” Please Stop Painting Yourself Pink

8. Taking Action Against Pinkwashing: An Interview with Breast Cancer Action’s Karuna Jaggar

Breast Cancer Action (BCAction) in the San Francisco Bay area was one of the first breast cancer organizations to raise concerns formally about the cancer industry and profiteering in the name of breast cancer. In 2002 Breast Cancer Action started the Think Before You Pink® (TB4UP) campaign, which calls for transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions. As part of the Think Before You Pink campaign, BCAction coined the term “pinkwasher.”

A pinkwasher is a company or . . . → Read More: 8. Taking Action Against Pinkwashing: An Interview with Breast Cancer Action’s Karuna Jaggar

4. Factoids, Impressions, and Impressions

The “Special Breast Cancer Awareness Issue” floods the populace in October. It might be in a small town in upstate New York, a metropolitan city in Florida, or a magazine dedicated to the Jersey Shore. It doesn’t really matter. The template is the same. Shape the culture, fuel the industry, and do it in the name of “awareness.” Rachel C. of The Cancer Culture Chronicles exposes the content of one of these magazines. “Breast Cancer Awareness Jersey Shore Style!” was originally published on The . . . → Read More: 4. Factoids, Impressions, and Impressions

“The Scent of Exploitation”

KomenWatch ( is a public service website aimed at “sharing information and generating critical discussion about the largest breast cancer fundraiser in the world, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.” The KomenWatch website includes a large, searchable database of news sources and other articles – dating back to the 1990s – that highlight public concerns about the Komen organization and/or its role in contributing to the splintering of the breast cancer movement and to the overt commercialization of the cause itself. It also publishes occasional editorial analyses . . . → Read More: “The Scent of Exploitation”

What Good Is Awareness If…

…the root causes of breast cancer remain unchanged?

…the information disseminated is inaccurate, incomplete, or decontextualized?

…the messages trivialize, misrepresent, or marginalize the disease or the diagnosed?

…the campaign uses sexualized language and imagery to sell itself?

..the campaign intentionally or inadvertently supports products or services that contribute to the total cancer burden (i.e., pinkwashing)?

…the campaign shifts attention and funding toward programs that will not have an impact on the eradication of the disease, and detracts attention and funding from innovative measures and research that will?

…the . . . → Read More: What Good Is Awareness If…

Pinktober, and a new era

Now that we’ve made it through another Pinktober, it’s time to take stock of what we’ve accomplished.

Most importantly, there is a new form of awareness in the public discourse. It has been bubbling up for a number of years, but this year people came forward in greater numbers to voice their concerns about the marketing of breast cancer, the exploitation of the illness for commercial gain, superficial messages of awareness, stereotypical advertising in the name of the cause, the lack of real progress, . . . → Read More: Pinktober, and a new era

On the First Day of…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month… My True Love Gave To Me…Some Lotions That Were Paraben Free.

Parabens are chemicals that are added to cosmetic products to act as preservatives. If you check the ingredients of many commonly used cosmetics, moisturizers, sun screens, baby lotions, hair care products, hair dyes, and shaving creams you’ll often find parabens: ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, or benzylparaben. They are everywhere, and often often you’ll find more than one type of paraben in a single product.

With the exception . . . → Read More: On the First Day of…

Look Out for Pinktober

Look around. You can already see it gaining momentum. The rise of PINK OCTOBER, that gargantuan commercialized, media-friendly, feel good activity of the year. It’s almost like Christmas! Only instead of red and green, we see a plethora of pink draping across the social landscape, as lovely and innocent as new fallen snow. In the midst of peace and good will toward women, we see individuals, organizations, and corporations putting on their best advertising and public relations campaigns to scramble for a bigger piece . . . → Read More: Look Out for Pinktober

Feeling Good About Cause Marketing?

The billions raised from industry and the philanthropic community toward the war on breast cancer is supposed to make people feel good about pink ribbon consumption and cause marketing. It’s supposed to win-win for the companies and the charities. After all, a corporation sells products, increases public visibility and consumer loyalty, and gains economic advantage. In return a non-profit organization receives a portion of proceeds from the sale of some product or service, increases awareness of its mission, usually gets free advertising, and improves its budget. . . . → Read More: Feeling Good About Cause Marketing?

New @ASCO guidelines on the screening, assessment & care of anxiety & depressive symptoms in adults w/cancer… #bcsm

“Pink Ribbon Blues,” Book

Paperback includes new Introduction on fundraising controversies and color insert with images of, and reactions to, the pinking of breast cancer (2012).

Order the Paperback » 

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Recent Sulik Interviews

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

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception Listen to BlogTalkRadio »

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' Listen to KCRW »

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

The Story Behind the Pink Ribbon Campaign Sisters Talk Radio

WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

Making Cancer About The Patient, Not The Body Part CBS Pittsburgh

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?

"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