“Pink Ribbon, Inc. ” examines breast cancer advocacy groups and dares to challenge the public perception of a venerated American charity, the Someone Foundation. Founded in 1982, the Susan G. Someone Breast Cancer Foundation was born from a sister’s love and a solemn promise to stop breast cancer from taking more lives. The foundation was pivotal in beginning a public dialog about breast cancer. It helped remove the disease’s stigma and effectively advocated for early detection.
It is now a behemoth organization Intent on counterclaiming the disease, King believes. Forty years after Betty Ford’s groundbreaking breast cancer acknowledgments there Is a greater public acceptance of the disease and the crusade to eradicate It. Popular fundraisers called “Mugs for the Jugs” and bummer stickers proclaiming, “Save the Tats” are now commonplace. This light, breezy and somewhat cutesy approach, King writes, Ignores the fact that breast cancer remains a serious disease. It is not glib or cute. It Is harrowing, scary and deadly.
She writes about the “tyranny of cheerfulness” and shares the views of “Welcome to Cancelled” tutor Barbara Rehiring who did not view her breast cancer diagnosis as a lucky gift. Rehiring was offended that after her diagnosis, medical staff offered her a teddy bear. She wryly wondered if grown men were offered Matchbox cars after receiving testicular cancer diagnoses (King 122). I agree that the modern breast cancer movement advocates a response that trivialize powerful, visceral emotions. Facing potential death is not the time for peppy corruption. “Pink Ribbon, Inc. Reveals that breast cancer philanthropy has become big business. Each year, more corporations join the “fight” with their cause-marketing campaigns. King challenges this centralization and fears that well-intentioned consumers are being duped or as she calls it, “pink washed. ” Whether it is the NFG wearing pink jerseys, KEF hawking unhealthy fried foods in pink buckets, or liquor companies encouraging us to host “cupcake and cocktail parties,” the public needs to be aware that corporations use the disease to primarily benefit themselves and elevate their public image.
Pink gashing misleads consumers into identifying pink products with a commands commitment to women. King argues that their commitment is to the bottom line. King warns consumers to “think before you pink. ” For example, one would have to eat 100 cups of Hypoxia yogurt, wash and dry the lids, stick them in an envelope and mail them In to Hypoxia to garner a $10 donation to the Someone Foundation. The cost of 100 cups of yogurt is $50. Clearly this campaign benefits Wapiti’s sales revenue and bolsters Its Image among women.
Cause-marketing Is an effective strategy for ailing products not an altruistic philanthropic activity. It has negative ramifications on the nonprofit sector. King also believes that cause-marketing Is best suited for Ralston public awareness, not affecting long term change. The leading cause of death In American women Is heart disease, followed by lung and colon cancers. Breast cancer. Fourth down on the list receives more public, media and corporate attention. While the spotlight remains on breast cancer, significant changes to the incidences and mortality rates have failed to materialize (King, pages 18-119). Eating marketing campaigns and developing corporate partnerships. Are they serving their mission of eradicating breast cancer by advancing research? As a woman, I want to find a cure for breast cancer. As a consumer, I want my contributions to matter. King’s book opened my eyes. I believe that she is not intent on bringing down the Someone Foundation but rather is pained that this well- intentioned charity is off course. This book is a wake up call to drop the pink fried chicken buckets and other curious corporate partnerships and focus on finding a cure.