Update: You can now buy or rent your very own copy of Pink Ribbons Inc.!
You can download it.
You can rent a digital version.
You can pre-order the DVD by calling 1-800-267-7710.
I wish I could give a copy of Pink Ribbons Inc to anyone who has ever asked me why I'm down on the pink ribbon industry. The documentary summarizes all that is wrong with pinkwashing, in the most powerful terms possible: through interviews, images, facts and with women telling their own stories.
My 13 year old son and my mother in law saw Pink Ribbons Inc when it opened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. They were both blown away. My son is a film buff and he declared this one to be one of the best documentaries he'd every seen. Last week, I was invited to an advance screening of the film and - although I was already sympatico with the message - I was riveted, moved and angered. It's incredibly well done.
The movie is based on the book by Dr. Samantha King (the author is featured in the movie) and could be separated into three threads (each of which could make it's own documentary):
The truth about cause marketing and the pink ribbons industry.
The lack of discussion and resources going into determining the environmental causes of breast cancer (or any cancer).
How traumatic and alienating the pink ribbon industry and talk of "survivorship" is to women who live with metastasis.
It's all extremely powerful and persuasive.
My one quibble with the film is the depiction of those who participate in runs/walks for the cure as naive dupes. While there is no doubt that many of us have been led to believe that we are effecting real change when we fundraise and walk, our reasons for doing so may be more complex than the movie allows.
Taking part in these walks can be fun - a celebration of life and community. Even with all my objections and analysis, I have felt myself swept up in the fun and emotion of the Run for the Cure - all the while wearing my No Pink for Profit t-shirt. And what's more not all the money raised at every walk goes to undefined research. I know that the Week end to end Women's Cancers in Montreal (a walk featured in the documentary) built a survivorship centre from funds raised that's of concrete use to all women with breast cancer.
But the quibble is a minor one and the movie is terrific. You should see it. In Ottawa, the movie will be at the Mayfair Orleans from February 3 to 9 and the ByTowne from February 17 to 23. Check your local listings often and go! Documentaries don't stay in the theatres for very long.