THE CRAZY LIE OF PINKWASHING BY SHARMILA RAMANATHAN

Every year, Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws mixed emotions. All those walks, runs and pink ribbons raise a large amount of dollars for charity. However, most of the time just like any other scam where the “donation” does not go to  it should go. There is less transparency in what the money is used for. Additionally, there has been consistent increase in companies promoting breast cancer awareness while profiting from less-than-products.

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In this blog post, I will be discussing  the issue of Pinkwashing. Pinkwashing is “a term used to decrease the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to raising rates of the disease.” (Stacy, 2007) The article of Why you should have boycotted Komen by now, it talks about three main issues which should be brought into attention which is firstly, Komen files lawsuits against anyone using the term “for the cure”, secondly, Komen has turned philanthropy into deceptive consumer marketing, Founded in 1982, Komen now operates at the very highest levels of philanthropy, raising funds over $420 million in 2010 for the breast cancer awareness, screening, and researching programs (Singer 2010). Lastly, Komen is the world’s largest pink washer.

The main issue here is  marketing more specific cause marketing whereby organizations take advantage of breast cancer promotional items to gain profit for their own agenda, also known as “pink-ribbon economy”and a sum of the money goes to Komen. Emphasizing more on the marketing role in this issue, whereby marketers use the emotional appeal to get consumers to buy their product or to support pink washing, in other words, exploitation!

I think it’s about time; we go back to the root of the problem to be able to rectify this issue. For fair-trade to happen, companies business actions should be re-examined whereby false advertising should be avoided and punished and also if the company doesn’t donate a substantial amount of money to the organization, than we the consumers/dominator should be more knowledgeable on dealing with this issue and donate directly to the breast cancer research and prevention organization and not to Komen.

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Reference

Bellesouth 2012, Why you should have boycotted Komen by now, viewed 10 April 2013, http://bellesouthblogs.com/boycottkomen/#comments

Dreher,S (2013), Public Debates, Scholars, Stakeholders; focus on ‘Pinkwashing,’ viewed 10 April 2013 accessed from elearning online.

Stacy, Malkan. Not just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. (New Society Publisher, 2007), 75.

Singer, N. (2011, October 16) Welcome, Fans, to the Pinking of America. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/business/in-the-breast-cancer-fight-the-pinking-of-america.html.

 

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