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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Think Pink: Awareness about Breast Cancer Awareness

30 comments:
 
As many of you are well aware, and for those of you who are not: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You've probably seen quite a few pink ribbon inspired looks pop up on makeup & nail blogs around this time in support of bringing awareness to the cause. This is not one of those looks - nor is it an attack on other's pink looks. But my pink look is in support of awareness about breast cancer awareness and here's why...

Created with vegan & all natural cosmetics from Sugarpill, The Body Needs & 100% Pure
First and foremost a disclaimer: I am writing this post not because I don't support the idea of breast cancer awareness/support/research, and not because I am a heartless bitch. I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like to be affected by such an awful condition and I have the utmost respect for those who endure it. Furthermore, I completely understand the desire of others to want to express their support and sympathy - with this I have no problem.  However, I think there is a largely ignored aspect to breast cancer awareness that needs more attention brought to it - that is the aim of this post. 



My change in perspective came after watching Pink Ribbons, Inc., a documentary about the phenomenon of Breast Cancer Awareness. In the words of one reviewer, "The film raises the question of whether branding the disease has taken precedence over preventing it.":
"The ubiquitous pink ribbons of breast cancer philanthropy and the hand-in-hand marketing of brands and products associated with it permeates our culture, providing assurance that we are engaged in a successful battle against this insidious disease. But the campaign obscures the reality and facts of breast cancer: Despite billions of dollars raised for finding a cure, more and more women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and still face the same treatment options they did 40 years ago. Yet women are also the most influential market group, buying 80 percent of consumer products and making most major household purchasing decisions. So then who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns - the cause or the company?" -- (C) First Run
I highly recommend watching this film. It will truly change your perspective on all things pink. You can watch the trailer above or stream the full movie online here. It has a lot of things to say, all of which are of great value, but I want to focus on what it has to say about makeup companies & makeup.



The hypocrisy of Pink Ribbon beauty lines & products is mind boggling to me. Why? Because some of the biggest donors to the breast cancer cause (i.e. Revlon) also have some of the worst rated products in terms of carcinogen levels. (scroll down for a link to where you can look up the carcinogen levels of beauty products). Does it not seem a little fucked up that the companies who use known carcinogens in their products claim to support finding a cure? Sometimes even going so far as to put pink ribbons on these very products. If they really cared about preventing breast cancer, rather than the bottom line of profit, why not simply stop using known carcinogenic chemicals in their cosmetics?
Sephora promoting Pink Ribbon products - but what does any of it really have to do with breast cancer?
If you want to support breast cancer this October, educate yourself on cancer-safe cosmetics and start supporting companies that are truly committed to providing safe products. The next time you reach to buy a Pink Ribbon product, think 'What are the real motives behind this marketing? By buying this, am I supporting breast cancer or this company? Is this company truly committed to the cause or just trying to make a buck off my good intentions? Is this product truly carcinogen free?" We get all up in arms about companies that support animal testing (as we should), but not nearly as upset about companies pumping our favorite products full of cancer causing chemicals or exploiting this truly terrible disease. Mostly because we simply don't know. So learn, NOW! Here are some great resources to start learning which products are tied to carcinogenic products:
  • Learn about safe, clean beauty products from the girls who wrote the book No More Dirty Looks. Click the image to visit the website.

  • Check the Skin Deep database of over 75,000 beauty products to see their ratings for carcinogens, toxins, and more. See a list of 'safe' cosmetic companies and search by products that have the best and worst ratings
  • Personal Care Truth: This website believes education is the foundation in understanding cosmetic safety. We are lifelong learners committed to delivering information based on current scientific evidence while encouraging open discussion and dialogue.
I want to see this disease eradicated as much as anyone else, which is why I'm writing this. I sincerely hope it does not come across as insensitive or offensive as that is not at all my intention. I'm also not attempting to over simplify this incredibly complex disease by suggesting it is only linked to cosmetics - cosmetics is simply my area of expertise and so that is my focus. This post is merely my small attempt to help spread the word and I absolutely invite you all to have your say on this issue in the comments.


30 comments:

  1. This was extremely insightful. Thank you, Meredith!

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  2. I agree with Ronnie. Very insightful!

    I will say though, that your pink look is luminous!

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  3. The thing that bugs me about the BCA mania is the fact that it completely overshadows the fact that HEART DISEASE kills FAR more women every year. In fact, the number of women who die from heart disease each year outnumbers ALL CANCERS COMBINED. (You can easily verify that by looking at the CDC website.)

    Sure, breast cancer is bad, but it's nowhere near the killer than heart disease is. And how much support is there for awareness of heart disease in women?

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  4. The thing that gets me about all the pink-ification is that only a very small amount of the proceeds tends to go to actual research costs. For example, I read an article the other day about the NFL's pink BCA merchandise and how little of the money from it goes toward research (35 cents from a $10 item). It's insane, especially when you consider how much of that goes back into the company's pocket as profit! I noticed, though, that there aren't nearly as many companies donating to Komen this year, which is a good thing, given the whole dust-up with them pulling funding from Planned Parenthood.

    Sorry for the super long comment. BCA month always ruffles my feathers. (Don't get me started on the stupid Facebook "awareness" memes. Ugh!)

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    1. Don't apologize for a long comment. I'm always really interested to see and read other people's thoughts so thank you for taking the time to write it all out. There was a similar scam with American Express where they said "A portion of all purchases will go towards breast cancer research" but in truth they only donated .01 for any purchase, no matter what. So if you spent $1.00, they donated .01 cents, and if you spent $10,000.00, they donated .01 cents. Thankfully an activist group figured this out and called them on it and they pulled the program. But I agree, there's very little info about how much of the proceeds actually goes to real, preventative research.

      Happy to hear that about the Komen thing as well. So ridiculous to pull funding from an organization that screens for the disease you say you are supporting.

      Thanks for the comment Erin!

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  5. I think this look is beautiful and this post is really well written. i agree with you that it's kind of ironic that the brands they say they are the biggest supporters of BCA actually end up being the ones that use the harmful chemicals in their products. I think some of it is such a scam for money - like Revlon. They wouldn't be coming up with their claim of supporting BCA if it wouldn't make them money. It's sad, but it's true. Because if they really cared, they wouldn't be using such bad ingrediants.

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    1. Unfortunately in many cases yes the bottom line of profit is the real motivation behind supporting a cause which is really sad, especially when they do it knowing people will support those products out of well meant intentions. Thanks for reading and for your comment, Aly!

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  6. Thank you so much for this post! This was very informative and also motivating to think about all our daily actions. I am not shocked to read that only a very little amount goes to actual research - everybody who thought different don't know the world we live in very well. Sad, but true. Sadly the Deep Skin Database is down atm but I would love to take a peek as soon as it's back again. Thank you Meredith!

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    1. Yeah, I just realized now that the database is down - I believe they are just updating it and hopefully it will be back online soon. Definitely keep checking back though! I was on it earlier this month and I was MORTIFIED to find out that my Revlon ColorStay Foundation is one of the absolute worst products for toxins & carcinogens, it's safety rating is abysmal. It's scary that we don't even realize what we are putting on and in our bodies. Thanks for reading & commenting, Sam!

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  7. with this post I learned a lot. Thanks for the link to the productlist.

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  8. Thank you for being brave enough to share what some dismiss as an "unpopular" opinion. THIS is why I read great blogs like yours, because you take the time to speak about very real and important information. As I see more and more BCA beauty products come out, I've been feeling more and more like it's just a huge marketing thing, preying on people's emotion rather than good sense.

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  9. EWG/SkinDeep is an awful organization whose sole goal is to get the public running scared so they can use that fear for their own profit. Please take any information you glean from their sites with a grain of salt, and use their site as a springboard to start your own research on other more reputable sites. They list so many things as "toxic" it's laughable, they're just in it for the donations and the ad revenue- if they can get you scared of your cosmetics products, they can get you to keep coming back to them for more information, thus putting more money in their pockets. Vitamin E is not a carcinogen. Those people are loony. An excellent alternative site is "Personal Care Truth" which uses good old facts, not scare tactics, to educate the public- and they do it for free, without asking for your donations. http://personalcaretruth.com/

    Other than that, though, great post! :)

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    1. Thanks for that info, I'll definitely look into the Personal Care site you mentioned.

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  10. What a wonderful post, you have such a big heart! Gorgeous look, too! I LOOOVE pink shadow!

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    1. Thank you, lovely. Appreciated, as always.

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  11. Well said. All the marketing pisses me off to no end. I mean, if I was shopping for something and one version made a donation and one didn't, sure, I'd buy that one. But yes, this just smacks of making money. It's like the "pink it and shrink it" mindset with technology products.

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    1. I agree, and the 'Pink it' marketing mindset is rampant, especially within the BCA community. Immediately makes me think of this comic I found a while ago, though I would say it's probably not likely that a woman would be making the 'Pink it' suggestion.

      http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/files/2010/08/20100807-483x500.gif

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  12. Wow, I never really thought about it like that but you are 100% right... They know that women will buy it for a few reasons, 1. to help a great cause (however much you don't know) and because a lot of women like the "pink" aspect of it cause its pretty... Thank you for opening my eyes to this, wow...

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    1. Oh absolutely. It's emotional manipulation at its best and it's EVERYWHERE. I was walking through the mall this past weekend and saw 'Limited Edition' pink ribbon products in jewelry stores, shoe stores, beauty stores, home decor stores, you name it. Of course we all want to feel like we're good people, like we're doing something to help out. Why wouldn't you feel compelled to by something that's "for a cause". The sad reality is though that what really should matter most: understanding the cause of the cancer & learning how to prevent it has been completely overshadowed and hijacked by capitalist greed and cashing in on people's compassion.

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  13. I think it's important to support cancer awareness but my problem with all the breast cancer propaganda is that it is touted to the exclusion of other cancers. Millions of dollars go to funding a cure for breast cancer while other cancers get nothing. People are dying from other cancers too. I was diagnoised with a rare and incurable thyroid cancer in 2001, wanna know how much funding there is for finding a cure for my cancer? None, nada, zip. And it's not just mine, there are many rare cancers that get absolutely no funding. Why? Because there not happening in breasts. Ok so if its a parts issue why aren't we seeing more funding for Uterine, ovarian and endometrial cancer? This year I was diagnoised with endometrial cancer and was saved because of early detection by my doctor. She told me that almost never happens because there is no one promoting early detection and no one educating women on the symptoms. If not for the test she did I might still have cancer and not know it.

    If these companies care so much why aren't they funding other cancers ans education? Sex sells, it's more sad than we know.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences, Skye. What you said raises a lot of really important questions about brands & companies 'supporting' just breast cancer as opposed to women's health as a whole or cancer as a whole. It's sick to see how such an awful, life-threatening disease has been feminized and commercialized, dolled up in pretty pink packaging and sold as a commodity. Cancer is not a commodity.

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  14. what a great post! thanks so much for sharing everything and the look you did is amazing!

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  15. great post meredith! this is a beatiful look u have created,and also given us all some food for thought! thanks for sharing :)

    http://allthingsbeautybytiarni.blogspot.com.au/

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  16. THANK YOU for having the courage to point this out! I agree with you, but I often don't say so to other people as they often find you to be insensitive. I also don't agree with a lot of the campaigns that sell calendar's with pictures of women's breasts, etc. to raise money. I have known people who went through breast cancer and lost their breasts and I don't think that they would appreciate this sort of sexualized imagery even if it was for a good cause.

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    1. I agree, the emphasis is always on BREAST cancer, not breast CANCER. I also worried about how this post might come across but I figured getting the message out there was worth the risk. I'm happy to see so many people on board with it.

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  17. Precisely why I decided not to do a tired old pink ribbon nail art this season. It felt icky knowing that I'd be self-promoting under the search words "breast cancer awareness nail art"... Thank you for posting this, and for pointing out the truth about some of these pink ribbon products.

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    1. That's a good point that I didn't even think to consider. Thanks Maryam :)

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  18. Thank you for this amasing post! I want to know what is the color you used on your lid?? I really want this color! This colors is AMASING! Can you do a tutorial about it! Thank you!

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  19. That's looking great and fantastic post about beauty and skincare products.Its good think about these products and i want share similar type of beauty products may be help out for skin purpose.

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