Pink is not my new favourite colour (unless it's hot pink, then maybe we can talk).
I will never, ever buy a pastel pink sweater with pink ribbons on the buttons just because "a portion of the proceeds" goes to breast cancer research.
Lots of good writing has appeared in the blogging world on this subject in the last couple of weeks. You can read lots more about this on BlogHer, my new favourite thing (in particular, you should check out posts by Suzanne Reisman (Breast Cancer is Sexy, or Pink Ribbons, Advertising, Class and Race) and Liz Thompson (The Bad Business of Buying for a Good Cause).
I resent large corporations benefiting from breast cancer and find the small donations made by some to be tantamount to fraud.
But I knew there was more to my extreme annoyance than this (and the fact that very many breast cancer baubles are hideously ugly).
And then I had a conversation that had nothing to do with breast cancer.
I was in my local fair trade coffee shop the other day buying beans. I ordered Brazilian, their very darkest roast and was informed that it would not be available for several months. "Do you want to know why, asked the clerk?"
She told me that Wal-Mart decided they wanted to start a fair trade line of coffee and had bought out all the beans from the co-op in Brazil. Shortly after they had cancelled these plans, leaving the co-op farmers to reach out again to their smaller distributors.
That Wal-Mart wants in is a testament to the power of the fair trade consumer. But that this low-wage, anti-union, sweat shop-supporting behemoth should hop on the fair trade bandwagon is beyond hypocritical.
And that, I realized, is what bugs me about breast cancer product promotions. Too often the products sold are full of carcinogens or are made under conditions that are highly toxic to the environment. I don't want any part of that.
Let's make our donations directly to organizations that are working to prevent, treat and cure breast cancer.
I'm off to a lymphedema workshop at Breast Cancer Action, one of those great organizations. I'll make a donation while I'm there.