Just two things: A quick lesson for Komen

3 Feb

Well, it’s been a whirlwind week in women’s health indignation.  To recap briefly: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, self-proclaimed “global leader of the breast cancer movement” (roll eyes here), decided early this week to sever ties with Planned Parenthood.  Immediately, outrage and backlash against this unwise, politically suspicious move proliferated across social media (TMMV’s twitter and my personal Facebook page included), and even reached NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s pockets.

As a result of all the bad press, Komen decided to back-track.  Trying to save face, they came out with an apology statement today, in which they reinstituted ties to PP and promised to “amend” their policies.

While I’m glad that Planned Parenthood will not lose those much-needed funds, there’s still a lot of BS that Komen needs to be called on.  To start, Komen would benefit from learning two simple things:

  • The definition of pinkwashing.  Pinkwashing (n):  A term used to describe companies that position themselves as leaders in the fight against breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease.  That perfume that Komen was hawking?  Filled with phthalates.  That cute lipstick with the pink ribbon on the cap?  Probably contains some lead.
  • The fact that health–especially women’s health–is political.  That concept is often lost in the sea of pink, but you can’t deny it.  So when Komen issues statements that say things like “We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics,” they sound more than a little naive.  And by naive, I mean clueless.

Truth is, Komen is the global leader of the breast cancer “movement.”  The foundation has a big voice in the national conversation about women’s health, and has the ability to steer the discourse toward one of genuine empowerment.  We need better preventive health care; we need better health policy.  What we don’t need is another bag of pink M&Ms.

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One Response to “Just two things: A quick lesson for Komen”

  1. thoroughly modern milli vanilli February 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Pinkwashing carcinogenic products is so irresponsible it’s not even funny.

    Nice investigative journalism/ way to break it on down, D!
    -Sam

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