My Feelings Towards The Pink Ribbon

Beth Brophy Health Guide
  • October hasn’t even started yet and already I’m getting tired of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I can’t read a glossy magazine without being bombarded with “pink ribbon” products: An unattractive long-sleeved tee-shirt that looks like it was designed by pre-schooler with no artistic talent and modeled by Glenn Close. The sexy cast of Gray’s Anatomy wearing tank tops, dog tags and cuffs with warrior emblems that make the actors look like members of a cult. Pink bras, tweezers, ice cream scoops, lipstick, cosmopolitan cocktail mixes, and a limited edition pink Dyson vacuum cleaner. A portion of the sales for these products will go to various breast cancer organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which is a worthy cause.
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    Thus, I don’t have a problem with encouraging women to “save lives while you shop,” or telling them, as O Magazine does this month, that buying these products is as good as a making a donation. If you want to vacuum with a $400 pink Dyson, be my guest. And Target will give $40 of the purchase price to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which is a good thing.

    What bothers me, I guess, is what I perceive as the cynicism of these pink ribbon products. I can’t help feeling that the manufacturers are somehow exploiting women’s fear of getting breast cancer. Positioning their corporations as aligned with women to fight breast cancer by offering these pink ribbon products seems a little silly. Their message seems contrived: “Look how we support women and their valiant fight against breast cancer. Aren’t we good guys?”

    Another annoyance is that I hate the color pink. I associate it with frills and bows and feminine wiles. It seems like a symbol of weakness, not strength. If anyone asked for my vote, I would have picked a warrior red or a royal blue or a majestic purple as the color to be associated with breast cancer, not sweet and wimpy pink.

    It’s also possible I’m just being a grouch. Maybe I would feel better if I went shopping for a pink tweezer, although the cosmo cocktail mix might be more to my liking.

    What do you think? Are you more inclined to buy products and support companies that are waving the breast cancer banner? Leave a comment or tell us in the message boards.
Published On: September 28, 2006