As the leaves change this month to orange, yellow or red, you may notice another color bursting onto the scene: pink. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the disease, promoting mammography and raising money for breast cancer research.Sadly, this very real and devastating disease, which will claim the lives of an estimated 39,520 women and 450 men this year (according to komen.org), is being capitalized on by businesses hoping to make bank off the new trend to be “Passionately Pink for the Cure.” This month in particular you can find anything from a pink tennis racket to pink ribbons on common food items, which imply that if you buy a product the company will donate money to support breast cancer research.
While I truly believe BCAM has good intentions, I strongly urge consumers to do more research before they consider these pink products. Like any philanthropic campaigns supported by for-profit businesses, it is important to decipher which products best support the actual cause.
A key question to ask yourself before buying a product is how much, if any, of the purchase price goes towards the cause—the transparency of their claims should hint at the dedication of the company. Are they donating based on consumer participation—will they have a maximum or minimum donation? Does the product promote breast cancer awareness in a respectful way towards women? Who and what will the money support (research, education, health services, etc.)?
Products such as “I love boobies” wristbands or shirts stating “save second base” are no longer supporting this cause; instead, they promote a social pattern of objectifying women—an effect contradictory to the seemingly supportive slogans. Not only do these slogans objectify women, they reduce a woman to her breasts, as if to say women are not truly women without them—we must save the tatas! I understand many of these products are good and fun, but be aware of their intentions and the possibility of offending those around you.
BCAM should be a time to honor those who lost their lives, those who are fighting for theirs now, those who won the fight and those whose fight has yet to begin. Behind all this pink madness are real women (and men) who deserve recognition and support. They are the reason why I carefully choose particular products that support research so that one day there may be a cure.
Even if BCAM is not a cause that really speaks to you, October also honors Domestic Violence Awareness, Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss, Filipino American History, Black History and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History. I hope that you find your cause to support and that you keep in mind these questions so that you can be a responsible and truly supportive consumer.