Pink is not the problem, pink washing is the problem
Pink Is Not The Problem by The Breasties

Pink Is Not The Problem by The Breasties

Dana Donofree
3 min read

I was honored to be included in The Breasties, Pink Is Not The Problem, campaign last year. This campaign is meant to bring attention to the dangerous practice of “Pinkwashing.” What is Pink Washing? This is the common practice of exploiting the pink ribbon in effort to sell and profit from products that do not go back to the cause of which they are promoting. Not every pink ribbon on every product has purpose beyond “awareness.” If you love pink, and you love pink ribbons, that is not the problem. The problem is companies that false advertise or market products with the hidden purpose of “Curing Breast Cancer” but do not donate back to a cause for further treatments and research for breast cancer.

Pinktober has become a “holiday” on the shelves of many department and mass chain stores across our county. This has to stop. Both corporate and the consumer need to be mindful that supporting these product purchases without funds going to support breast cancer causes is dangerously impacting change for our disease. I urge you to give the Pink Is Not The Problem campaign a look to empower yourself and others around you to be responsible consumers, companies, or organizations during the month of October.

What is Pink is not the problem? Pink is not the problem is an initiative that was created by the community in order to support the community. The Breasties brought together a group of breast cancer survivors and asked us how pink washing has affected us from a personal standpoint, as well as how we feel about it from a consumers standpoint. The responses that I heard were raw, real and something I have felt on a personal level. One response that really hit home was from my friend Allie. She said "a lot of organizations and brands think they're doing good and don't realize the harm that it could cause for members in the community. The exploitation of your disease... you feel like a prop for a marketing campaign. It doesn't feel like it's doing anything to give back to the community that you're a part of." I couldn't agree more with how Allie responded to the horror and disgust that she feels towards pink washing and brands profiting off of our disease.

How can you combat pink washing?

Bringing awareness to pink washing is a huge step towards combating all the bad pr and marketing tactics, however the breast cancer community still needs more support; real support. Donations are integral in making a change within the community. We need to stay aware of where are donations are going to. How can we do that? Make sure when you are donating money, the donation is transparently communicated to you so you can ensure the money will be going towards the research. We all win when funds are transparently communicated, and designated to moving research forward, providing support and education and honoring the stories of community members. Want to make a donation? Click here to make a difference today!

How can you be an informed consumer?

Before purchasing, ask yourself:

  • Will this purchase help others?
  • Does money from this purchase support breast cancer research or resources for the community?
  • What organization is receiving the donation? Do I believe in the mission of that organization?
  • Is this safe? Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to something toxic, carcinogenic, unhealthy or harmful?

When it comes to nonprofits, do your research.

  • Do you want your donation to go towards a cure? If so, donate to nonprofits funding research for stage 4, metastatic breast cancer. But please be weary of organizations that use terminology such as "end breast cancer" or "fight for a cure" without allocated money to metastatic research.
  • Do you want your donation to support programs for those who are in the community? If so, donate to organizations that provide free support services, educational resources, grants and programs.  

Bring Awareness

We need Breast Cancer Awareness, if there was no “awareness” I may not be here today. I may have thought my lump was “nothing,” and not schedule a doctors appointment to follow up. Today, breast cancer is impacting more lives than we have ever seen before, and our death rate is not improving. Find a cause that aligns directly with your beliefs and mission to support the community and donate directly. If interested, donate to The Breasties in effort to support survivors, previvors, thrivers, and carevivors, impacted by breast and gynecologic cancers. 

Dana Donofree
Dana Donofree

Founder and CEO of AnaOno. After a diagnosis of breast cancer in her late 20’s, Dana took her own lived experience and fashion design background and (re)designed intimates for those that have undergone breast surgery. Dana’s story has been published around the world in outlets like New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, The Today Show, and more.