It is not just products that have been PinkWashed

It is people who have been PinkWashed by the whole of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. After all, ask the average person what they think BC Awareness is and they would probably say – PINK ribbons. We have been brain washed by PinkWashing.

We all like to think that something we buy is going to support a charity or cause of which we approve, and here in the UK Pink products are not quite as ubiquitous as they are in North America but companies are latching on to the possibilities to align themselves with a charity that they care about and boost not only their sales, but also their public profile. The first charity products over here were Christmas cards, and charity cards have been going for decades and most charities sell them. Years ago I was looking at a box of ‘charity’ cards in Woolworths (remember them?) and then reading the fine print. Say the box cost £2; the small print said that they would be giving 10p to the charity named, or to be shared by the named charities. What? This is for charity and they were giving 5%? Why not all the profits from the cards? Yet a similar box of non-charity Christmas cards might be 25% cheaper … what is going on here? If you can sell a box of similar cards of similar quality and quantity for 25% less and still make a good profit, why are they only giving 5% to the charity/s and not 25%. Also if you read the small print the company will say that they will only give 5% per item to a LIMIT of, say, £50,000. So if they sell many more of the item and the total donation could have been £100,000 they will still only give half that amount and pocket the rest.

These days I don’t buy charity Christmas cards. I buy them in the sales in January for half price, or less, and then stick a fiver in a charity box, or these days I spend that and much more, buying toys and notebooks etc. to go into shoes boxes to be wrapped for children somewhere in the world for whom this may be their only present. http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/landing.asp

Is there something similar that you could do for breast cancer? Is there something that you can give the Pinkwashed money to? I’ve been thinking about this and here are some suggestions for really making a difference with your Pink ‘donation’

* Donated to METAvivor.org a charity which uses every penny for Metastatic breast cancer research.
* If you know someone with breast cancer DO something to help them. If you can’t deal with the cancer side of it all that is ok, but you could offer to do some shopping for them, or take them a homemade meal, or even just send them a card saying you are thinking of them. You can be honest about whether or not you can deal with the cancer, but that doesn’t stop you being a friend who thinks of them and will do things for them.
* Sometimes just spending time with someone who is unwell can be a real blessing to them. Just chat like normal with all the latest news and gossip can help someone feel more normal and a part of the normal world.
* Buy a suspended coffee if there is somewhere near you that supports this http://www.coffeesharing.com/
* Just give some money directly to a breast cancer charity, after all they may only get 10p per item anyway, and then up to a limit of say £50,000.
* Just do a random act of kindness for someone.
* Give some money to a local charity which is doing something for your area. A local Hospice for instance. http://www.helpthehospices.org.uk/about-hospice-care/find-a-hospice/

It is sad that there is a need to question the motives of those ‘donating’ to charity but I haven’t come across a company that is genuinely donating the profits from a particular item, though I would be happy to hear about any that do.

Pink is more than a colour, or a ribbon. Pink has become a marketing and selling technique and this has devalued what is actually my favourite colour; to the extent that I question when I want to buy anything pink, whether it is connected to breast cancer or not. You could say that at least the charity gets 5% of the product price and that is at least something, and more than they would have received without that product going on sale, but how much is being rechanneled to the company by way of extra profits that they could have donated to make a real difference? What if that maximum of £50,000 could have been £250,000?

Sometimes – PINK STINKS!

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