Pink October

Posted on Oct 12, 2012 by No Comments
Pink October

You can’t miss it. Pink is everywhere in October. Buildings, appliances, even your favorite blog may have changed color for the month.

Swathing the entire world in pink is meant to bring more attention to breast cancer awareness. It is meant to remind women how important it is to examine themselves, how important it is to get a mammogram, and how important it is to be aware of the symptoms of this horrid disease that affects one out of every eight women every year.

I am not so sure that it still does that.

I wonder if the whole Pink October thing has run its course. It has been done so many times that, rather than thinking about breast cancer people just continue on with their lives. Pink on Buckingham Palace? Cool.

I am impressed by the companies that create special pink versions of their products and donate a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research, but I am certain that it would be better for research if they donated a portion of their proceeds all year long. I will buy my appliances to coordinate with my kitchen and give a donation to research, thank you very much.

Memes on Facebook, tee shirts, and coffee cups are all ways people bring attention to breast cancer in October. Put a heart on your profile, where do you keep your purse, what color bra are you wearing – each of these things hits consumers with a wave of intensity which fades away in November in light of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays.

Pink for October has been an annual event for three decades, give or take. In that time the strides forward in eradicating this disease have been minimal. According to the National Institute of Health, 641,000 women globally were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1980. The statistics released in 2010 were a whopping 1,643,000.

While we have been feeling good about ourselves by draping everything in pink every year, breast cancer has been steadily encroaching, preying on women, and giving very little attention to the fact that we have decorated in pink to repel the monster.

Pink helps us feel that we are doing something – it is the equivalent of elementary school busy-work. The real battle is raged every single day whether it is a pink day or not.

How much of the money raised by companies actually finds its way to breast cancer research funds? Rather than spend extra funds in redesigning packaging, wouldn’t it be better to donate those same funds to research? Rather than requiring the consumer to send in a box top in order to get the company to donate five cents, wouldn’t it be smarter to just donate the money without making a big advertising spectacle out of it?

Does pink build awareness, or does it build a sense of security where there should be none?

How many of you reading this check your breasts every single month? How many of you do it because someone changed their blog to pink?

I am all for doing whatever is necessary to control and eventually extinguish the fire of this dragon – but please don’t ask me to play a fiddle while Rome burns. Let’s make sure that the effort put in to creating pink things is used for actual awareness and research and not into brand recognition and advertising.

What are your thoughts?

Source:  National Institute of Health

photo credit: Rich Anderson

Posted in: Health
Marye Audet

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