From Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester

by Miriam Steinberg

In October of 2015, the Advocacy Committee held a movie night and screened Pink Ribbons, Inc., a 2011 National Film Board of Canada documentary about the pink ribbon campaign. The film, directed by Léa Pool and produced by Ravida Din, is based on the 2006 book Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy by Samantha King.

A documentary of the manner in which some companies use pink ribbon-related marketing to increase sales while contributing only a small fraction of proceeds to breast cancer related causes, or use “pinkwashing” to improve their public image while manufacturing products that may be carcinogenic, the film points out that of the millions of dollars raised for breast cancer research, not enough money goes toward prevention or exploring possible environmental links to the disease. Pink Ribbons, Inc. features interviews with critics of the pink ribbon campaign, researchers and cancer patients, as well as cancer fundraisers. It was a very eye-opening film and the discussion afterward was interesting and animated. Copies of Pink Ribbons, Inc. are available in local libraries for those interested in viewing it.

*Breast Cancer Action coined the term pinkwashing as part of their Think Before You Pink® campaign. It refers to a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.