9 Pinkwashed Products That Do Nothing To Fight Breast Cancer

by Taia Handlin

Pinktober is upon us and with it comes a flood of pink products advertised to support breast cancer awareness and research. Some do, some don’t, some have carcinogenic ingredients, and some are just bad for you in general. The following is some pink crap that has no business being anywhere near breast cancer prevention.


All Estée Lauder products


It just seems like it should go without saying that merchandise sold to cure breast cancer (even in the rather roundabout way of “awareness”) should not be stuff that can give you more cancer, but here we are. Despite launching the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993, Estée Lauder has refused to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge for companies to not use products that contribute to breast cancer. Estée Lauder and its subsidiaries, such as Clinique, still use products with ingredients linked to breast cancer, like propylparaben. This includes products they market specifically for breast cancer awareness. Estée Lauder is a multi-billion dollar beauty empire; they can afford to make their breast cancer awareness lipstick less likely to give you breast cancer.


These obnoxious articles of clothing


Har har har, if only my grandmother had masturbated more, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten breast cancer. Screw preventative healthcare, Planned Parenthood should just give out vibrating nipple clamps to all its patients.


Better than mammograms, boys and girls!


Oh my gawd, look at those adorable pink cups. They look like boobs! And they’re smiling! Breast cancer seems like a lot of fun, everyone should try it.


…What? Screw you, cancer isn’t fabulous, it fucking sucks. Author and sociology professor Susan Sered has a lot of excellent things to say about this revolting trend to feminize and commodify breast cancer.


Commercial airplanes


American Airlines partners with the Komen foundation (who should not be getting your money anyway). Delta flies a pink plane once a year and sells pink lemonade for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. United sells pink products for several breast cancer awareness organizations. One problem. According to a study published in National Geographic, plane exhaust contributes to an increased risk of cancer. The proceeds from these airlines’ pink products all go to breast cancer awareness, meaning more education and more mammograms and more telling young women all the things they aren’t doing right to protect their breasts from the cancer that these airlines are contributing to. I fly. I drive a car. I am not suggesting abolishing modern modes of transportation. But instead of spending the money to paint their goddamn airplanes pink, which brings in zero profit to donate, spend the money on finding a cure for women who already have cancer. Spend it on making their lives better. Spend it on researching a more environmentally friendly and less carcinogenic fuel.


Anything from Walmart


I’m not going into all the reasons why Walmart is Satan, because I’m a busy woman, so just look here, here, here, and here. Hell, here too. Walmart sucks. If you can avoid it, you shouldn’t shop there ever, but specifically don’t buy their pink items because, like many vendors of pink merchandise, the percentage of the profits that they actually donate is abysmally low. For example, this pink walker:


It is $120 and they donate $2. Two dollars. That is roughly 1.67%. You’re welcome, women fighting breast cancer. Walmart has you covered.




And fake arrests. Police in several counties, including Greenfield, Massachusetts, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and Chillicothe, Ohio, are using pink handcuffs, pink jail cells, and, possibly the weirdest one, voluntary arrests, to somehow “spread breast cancer awareness’??? People in Chillicothe can sign up to be “arrested” on October 16th, put in “jail” and pay a “bail” of 100 real dollars that goes to the Komen foundation. The sheriff called it a “positive” experience for a good cause. Super positive! It’s precious that he lives in a county that must feel so safe that people think getting arrested is a happy-go-lucky game, while people of color all across the country are arrested and killed by police every day.




This one seems like it should be an incredible no-brainer. Guns don’t give you cancer, but they are still, you know, bad for your health. Being guns and all. There is a Pinterest for breast cancer guns. God that’s adorable. Look at all those Pinterest-y pink guns with their cute pink ribbons attached to their super cute murder triggers. Adorable. This one has its own precious murder case but alas, it is sold out.


Before all the gun nuts come after me with their super legal, 50 billion bullet capacity weapons of mass murder, see the 50 billion news stories about gun deaths that happen every day. I have lost my patience with pandering to the gun lobby. Personally, I don’t think anyone should have guns. Civilians, police, anyone. If I had my way, I would absolutely come for your guns and take every single one away from every single person in the country. But since I am not the dictator of America, no matter how hard I try, I will settle for begging and pleading with the gun lobby and the breast cancer lobby to not intermingle and make a gun/breast cancer baby.


Images via Estée Lauder, CafePress, Delta Airlines, Meme Generator, Facebook, and Pinterest

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