Why you should have boycotted Komen by now

Credit: Lady Liberty’s Lamp

Social Media has blown up over Komen’s latest decision to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood. I’m sure you’ve read every rant that could possibly be read on that subject, so instead, I will give you this list of horrible things Susan B. Komen for the cure has done.

1. Komen files lawsuits against anyone using the term “for the cure.” If you want to raise funds for a research charity, be it for Diabetes, AIDS, or even breast cancer, don’t even think about using the phrase “for the/a cure,” using pink ribbons, or not clearing stuff through Komen first. Because Komen has attorneys. By the end of 2010, Komen had filed lawsuits against more than 100 small organizations for using derivatives of “for the cure” for non-Komen-sponsored events. Take, for example, Kites for a Cure, a family-run Kite-flying event organized to raise funds for lung cancer research.

This is what the organizer told Huffington Post:

Mary Ann Tighe, said the Komen foundation sent her a letter asking her to stop using the phrase “for a cure” in their title and to never use the color pink in conjunction with their fundraising. What bothered her most about the whole ordeal, she said, was that Komen forced her to spend money and time on legal fees and proceedings instead of raising funds for cancer.

You got that? Unless you are with Komen or you are Robert Smith, you cannot use the word “Cure.” Because, by Jove, Komen’s got this whole curing thing covered. No one else need apply.

2. Komen has turned philanthropy into deceptive consumer marketing. Every year, Komen partners with a wide number of brands for promotional, pink-ribbon products that get the OK on the phrase “for the cure.” In many instances, a very small portion of that purchase actually goes to Komen, and in most instances, these companies set an annual cap for donations to Komen. As a result, the consumers, which are primarily women, are targeted with “feel-good” packaging, feel they are making a difference, and only pennies of their purchase are actually going for breast cancer research and prevention. The money spent on these promotional products, which include everything from cereal and yogurt to luxury SUVs, could just as easily (and more effectively) go directly to a breast cancer organization.

Here’s a short clip from Penn & Teller: Bullsh&t that explains it better than I can.

3. Komen is the world’s largest pinkwasher. “Pinkwashing” is a term used for decorating a product that has been directly linked to breast cancer with pink ribbons and sentiments of hope that make one believe they’re doing something. Take, for instance, Komen’s major Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot with KFC for its “Buckets for the Cure” campaign.

Komen and KFC came together to sell pink buckets of fried chicken a few years ago. I’m not sure they’ll be making that same mistake again, since it’s supposed to be an organization geared toward women’s health and it’s selling extremely unhealthy food to promote it. Now, I love fried chicken. But I would never buy fried chicken to cure heart disease, diabetes or breast cancer. That’s not even cancelling out your donation.

It’s absolutely NUTS.

I’m really glad that people are taking a stand against Komen. But what they have done as an organization is just – awful. I’ve only removed the first layer; there are many more to remove. I urge you to visit thinkbeforeyoupink.org  to learn more about the history of pink ribbon marketing and get a FREE toolkit with materials you can use to educate yourself and others on pink-ribbon marketing.

This campaign was started by Breast Cancer Action , where you can go for more education on what’s wrong with the fight against breast cancer and you can support an organization that truly works to fight this horrible epidemic.

The National Film Board of Canada is releasing a new documentary called Pink Ribbons Inc. that looks into the history of the pink ribbon and breast-cancer marketing. Today is the release date, and I REALLY hope this makes it to a theater around me soon.

Here is the trailer. It should give you goosebumps.

Follow-up: Put the pink ribbon to rest

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