For many women, being a part of a national or local cancer-related movement offers support and connection and helps them to be proactive during their cancer journey. But you don’t have to be the poster girl for cancer. Don’t feel the need to adorn yourself with cancer pins, T-shirts or get a bumper sticker if it’s not your thing. Don’t pressure yourself to join every fund-raising event around. There are some great causes out there, but getting involved isn’t every gal’s cup of tea. Be real with yourself and use this time to feel what you want to feel, act how you want to act, and get involved with whatever you want (or not).
Breast cancer support is the best example because we see the pink paraphernalia everywhere. You’ve probably seen the pink hats, ribbons, coffee mugs, bracelets, water bottles, pens, calendars, socks, home décor, teddy bears and so much more. For many women, sporting the pink gives them a sense of belonging, hope and courage, and that’s fabulous. Many of the proceeds from sales from these items support worthy causes. However, if you do have breast cancer, don’t feel obligated to sport your pink ribbon unless it feels right to you. We know some breast cancer babes who truly get sick of all the pink stuff, but they are still amazing women who are working through their cancer and supporting fellow cancer chicks and organizations at their own comfort level.
Beware of the pink promotions that seem to go a little too far. Remember the pink KFC bucket of fried chicken? We aren’t sure how encouraging people to purchase and eat a bucket of factory-farmed chicken cooked in grease promotes good health. Anyone fighting breast cancer or trying to prevent it should probably avoid those buckets and support breast cancer organizations in other ways.
Think Before You Pink is a project of an organization called Breast Cancer Action. This project was launched as concern grew around the increasing number of pink ribbon products on the market. The project’s mission is to hold companies more accountable for their pink ribbon promotions and to encourage consumers to do their research and find out who or what a pink ribbon product benefits. It’s important to be aware of who is funding different cancer campaigns, some of which include pharmaceutical companies or other businesses that benefit from higher rates of cancer or actually create products that promote cancer itself.
The point is, be a savvy consumer and know what that ribbon is representing and who actually profits from the sale. And be real with yourself in deciding how “pink” (or any other cancer ribbon color) you want to be.