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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Pink” funds replacing necessary breast cancer response

    It’s everywhere. It’s on yogurt. It’s on locks. It’s even on our buckets of fried chicken. You can now find just about anything in pink form.

    Breast cancer awareness is taking over our aisles, and in theory, that’s great. It allows consumers to feel good about supporting a cause just by buying specialty versions of their usual products.
    “When I buy a designated pink item, I have good reason to believe the extra money I’m paying is going to a good cause,” said Sarah Johns, an elementary education junior whose family has directly been impacted by breast cancer.

    But is that correct?

    Sometimes. Not always.

    It’s fantastic that people are choosing to help fight breast cancer in some way. But the “pink” money isn’t going where we are assuming it is going when we decide to make our purchases. Some companies are essentially deceiving the public about cancer, and that’s despicable. Cancer should be making us angry and active. Instead, we’re complacent — content to buy without asking.

    For starters, the “pink” donated money isn’t regulated by anyone. Absolutely any company is able to add pink ribbon to its products or to make them uncharacteristically pink. According to Think Before You Pink, a project created by Breast Cancer Action, the pink ribbon itself is sometimes placed on products just to demonstrate that they are healthy and not to support the cause.

    If a company does actually donate money, it can be completely unrelated to its sales or products.

    In 2010, Dansko, a shoe company, sold a pair of clogs with pink ribbons on them. While Dansko did donate $25,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the donation was completely unrelated to how many people bought the clogs.

    Another problem with pink culture? Some pink products have been known to contain chemicals that could cause illness.

    Susan G. Komen for the Cure teamed up with a perfume company, TPR Holdings, to produce a perfume called Promise Me, which contained a neurotoxicant and a chemical that messes with your hormones.

    Revlon, sponsor of the Entertainment Industry Foundation Revlon Run/Walk for Women, sells cosmetics with ingredients that can cause cancer, according to a survey done by the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

    The documentary “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” focuses on a stage IV breast cancer support group that discusses how little support is actually out there for victims and survivors. The group talks about how the faces of the women affected by breast cancer should be included when we buy those pink products.

    This would remind us that we’re focusing on the cancer, but not on its victims — that we’re sensationalizing breast cancer with pink products because mastectomies and death aren’t fun to think about.

    We’re not providing financial or even good emotional support for those who have breast cancer.

    But they need it. Cancer isn’t a quick fix, and it isn’t going away. We can’t just pretend to do our part by buying something that happens to be pink and calling it a day. Get involved with movements like Breast Cancer Action. Participate in walks that fund research, education and treatment. Buy healthy pink products, as long as you’ve followed the money.

    Humans — real, living, breathing people — are being affected by this disease. If it was you, your mother or your sister with breast cancer, wouldn’t you want people to care more than for a split second when they are grocery shopping? You vote with your dollars and how you spend your time. I hope that time is spent learning about how you can help.

    Maura Higgs is a neuroscience and cognitive science sophomore. Follow her @maurahiggs

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