We Love Breast Cancer Awareness, We Hate Breast Cancer Commercialization

Avoid the pink product mania and participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by supporting good organizations instead.

We’re sick of the commercialization of the breast.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for several weeks we’ve become increasingly blown away by the amount of pink junk being pitched our way in the name of “awareness.”

What does awareness really mean? Is it buying a cute pair of pink socks? Is it painting your nails with bubblegum polish? Is it downing a package of pink cookies?

Breast cancer is real. It’s not cute and it’s not fun, and much like viral campaigns have been said to cheapen real cancer fights, pink products are just another thing on the list that might us feel good about promoting a cause but in reality don’t truly engage us on the issue. And that leaves a lot of us stuck with pink fatigue.

Breast cancer has touched everyone on our staff in some way. No doubt you can say the same. We emphatically support breast cancer awareness. That doesn’t mean we have to like a good cause being pinkified in order to hawk yet more retail. Especially when the products supporting the cause are themselves toxic.

Cheap jewelry

Pink silicone rings and cheap charm bracelets probably made in a sweatshop; do we really need to be sporting these to show our support?

Pink Gemstones

Because nothing says healthy like mining the earth for toxic materials.


According to Breast Cancer Action, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s new perfume “Promise Me” contains chemicals “not listed on the label that are regulated as toxic and hazardous.”

Makeup and Accessories

Instead of getting sucked in by pink brushes and palettes, opt for green beauty products that are natural and toxin free.

Cookies and Cupcakes

What better way to honor breast cancer than by eating goodies made solely with processed ingredients and chemicals?

We’ll stick with our Pink Lady organic apples from the farmers’ market, thanks.

We’re all for businesses supporting good causes with their money, but let’s take a moment to think about our individual actions. Think about what would happen if instead of buying more junk we don’t really need, we gave it all to an organization doing breast cancer research and education.

Buying things we don’t need isn’t going to solve breast cancer, and wearing pink isn’t going to make someone living with cancer better. So what can you do? Here are five organizations we think are doing a good thing when it comes to breast cancer awareness and research. Support them.

  1. Breast Cancer Fund – Devoted to exposing and eliminating the environmental causes of breast cancer
  2. American Cancer Society – A nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem
  3. National Breast Cancer Foundation – Give a mammogram to an uninsured woman
  4. Think Before You Pink – An initiative of Breast Cancer Action, a watch dog of the breast cancer movement
  5. National Breast Cancer Coalition – a coalition that includes hundreds of organizations, representing several million patients, professionals, women, their families and friends

Images: Azrol AzmiThe Breast Cancer Site, Gemvara, Promise Me, Target, Pink Ribbon Shop

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.