'No Bra Day' & Other Dishonest Ways We AREN'T Raising Breast Cancer Awareness

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pinkwashing products breast cancer awarenessIt's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, aka "Pinktober," aka the time of year when tons of companies and individuals attempt to raise awareness for the disease in ineffective or downright disingenuous ways. I know, it's a cynical perspective, but it's one echoed by the blogger behind Cancer in My Thirties. With her post entitled, "National No Bra Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- OR -- Please Put That Pink Can of Soup Down & Put Your Bra Back On," she recently struck a chord with many readers who are similarly fed up with Breast Cancer Awareness Month's unique ability to talk a big pink game while doing absolutely nothing at all for the cause.

The trend has been called pinkwashing. Like when October 13 is declared "No Bra Day."

As if -- as the Cancer in My Thirties writer puts it -- "a day where girls and women are encouraged to walk around with their nipples poking through their shirts [is] 'supportive' for women who are living with or who have died from breast cancer, or who have managed to 'complete' the arduous treatments and disfiguring surgeries required to put them into remission." Ugh. So true.

And how about those "stores ... filled with pink as companies try to make a buck off breast cancer"? This is galling beyond belief when you realize a lot of these products don't give any portion of their profit to charity ... and if they do, it may be minimal and/or directed to an organization/program where the money isn't necessarily well-spent.

To someone like this blogger, who has actually been through a battle with the disease, this annual pinkwashing extravaganza is nothing short of totally galling and insulting. But we should ALL see it that way. We should all be aware of what actually raises breast cancer awareness (and it's probably not taking off your bra and posting about it on Facebook or sharing what color bra you're wearing on Twitter!).

And we also need to be more aware of where our donations are going. For instance, according to James Bennett, professor of economics at George Mason University and recognized authority on charitable organizations, in 1988 the American Cancer Society spent just 26 percent of its budget on medical research and programs. The rest covered “operating expenses,” including about 60 percent for generous salaries, pensions, executive benefits, and overhead. Meanwhile, a peer organization of the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, can only manage to put forward 13 cents to its cause for every dollar it raises.

That's why I've been making sure to look at every pink product I'm considering buying to see what the funds go toward. Not all cancer charities are alike. And as disheartening as it may be, not all Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns have a conscience, either.

What do you think about all the pinkwashing that goes on this time of year and ridiculous campaigns like "No Bra Day"?

 

Image via © Matt Rourke/AP/Corbis

breast cancer, cancer

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amazz... amazzonia

all these breast cancer awareness things are just an invention of big corporations, to sell their junk for double the price just because is pink...and most of the time, especially food products, they are the cause of breast cancer....

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I think people just need to know what amount is donated per product. Thankfully breast cancer is something that has not effected my life personally, so it is awareness month that sparks my activity and donations... Seeing pink everywhere is how I realize to get to it! I usually only raise like 150-250 per year on a making strides walk. But if it wasn't everywhere to remind me- I'd miss it!

nonmember avatar BlondeAmbition

Thank you for addressing one of the more offensive BCA campaigns we've seen to date. Exploitation is NOT Awareness. And if anyone believes that participating in going braless for a day is showing support for survivors, they are completely ignorant.

nonmember avatar Dave Billingham

The trouble is, it does "raise awareness". As does this excellent article. The point of "pink month" is to get people... moms, daughters, sons, dads, teachers, doctors, politicians, criminals, tv presenters... anyone to be less hung up about boobs (and, for that matter balls) and the "c" word and make them part of everyday conversation.



The point is, if just one chat over the coffee machine about the purile "niptober" means someone thinks "you know, maybe I should just get that lump checked out" then pink month has worked.



But I agree, it is cynically abused.

nonmember avatar Dave Billingham

The trouble is, it does "raise awareness". As does this excellent article. The point of "pink month" is to get people... moms, daughters, sons, dads, teachers, doctors, politicians, criminals, tv presenters... anyone to be less hung up about boobs (and, for that matter balls) and the "c" word and make them part of everyday conversation.



The point is, if just one chat over the coffee machine about the purile "niptober" means someone thinks "you know, maybe I should just get that lump checked out" then pink month has worked.



But I agree, it is cynically abused.

nonmember avatar EnsignW

It does a good job of raising awareness, just by being spoken about. But for somebody who's had breast cancer to see women walking around nipples blaring, it'd be more of a slap in the face than anything.

nonmember avatar Ted

I think you're a prude and an ignoramus. It's about getting the word out. I doubt you've ever had cancer. So what if some nipples are showing? If that helps someone talk about the disease or donate funds so be it. Quit buying your foo foo Starbuck's drinks while you complain about misappropriated funds. I'm fairly sure, with your pathetic nonsexual attitude, your sex life is ZERO. Go shopping at Target and find something else to bitch about. You won't hear many men complain about this. Be a warrior for a cause instead of a bitch.

nonmember avatar Kevin

I'm a man, I see no bra day posted of face book and get a kick out of the pics so I decode to look it up to figure out why it's no bra day. I learn it's brest cancer awareness month so how is it now raising awareness? I didn't know now I do. Just a perspective. I'll go but my wife something in support to the cause. Why is everyone so bitter?

nonmember avatar Mel

The NO BRA DAY had indeed raised awareness.

Having a male friend jovially inform me that there was a no bra day lead to a conversation about his sister having been diagnosed recently, and him recommending that I check myself more often (and I actually forget to check regularly).

I did initially agree with the cynical comments on here but actually,I think the idea of wearing no bra for a day will be talked about more than actually carried out xx

Sara Hoos Goforth

We need to bath September in Gold for childhood cancer.

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