Long before Susan G. Komen for the Cure decided to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, one breast cancer survivor began to ask questions about how the cause of finding a cure had turned into a money-making enterprise.
Dr. Samantha King’s 2008 book, “Pink Ribbons” — which questions the legitimacy of the market-driven survivorship industry — was the basis for a documentary by the same name that was released in Canada on Friday.
King suggests that corporations are “pinkwashing” by using the iconic pink ribbon as a feel-good tactic in order to sell merchandise.
“That’s when corporations … sell products that might be linked to breast cancer,” she told CBC. “So cosmetics with toxic ingredients, for example, also make money by doing pink ribbon marketing.”
“One of my favorite examples is a breast cancer handgun that went on sale in the U.S. last year. We’ve seen Kentucky Fried Chicken, snowshoes — the list is really endless” she explained.
The Komen Foundation on Friday decided to reverse their decision and allow Planned Parenthood to be eligible for future grants, but only time will tell if they permanently damaged their brand in the process.
From the standpoint of the makers of “Pink Ribbons,” a weakened survivorship industry might just be the best thing for finding a cure in the long run.
“Pink Ribbons” opened on Friday at theaters in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna. That release date was set before the current controversy erupted in the U.S.
Watch this trailer from The National Film Board of Canada’s Pink Ribbons, broadcast Dec. 20, 2011.