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Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a 2011 National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentary about the pink ribbon campaign, directed by Léa Pool and produced by Ravida Din. The film is based on the 2006 book Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy by Samantha King, associate professor of kinesiology and health studies at Queen's University.
The film documents how some companies use pink ribbon-related marketing to increase sales while contributing only a small fraction of proceeds to the cause, or use "pinkwashing" to improve their public image while manufacturing products that may be carcinogenic. For the millions that are raised for breast cancer research by the campaign, the film argues that not enough money goes to prevention or exploring possible environmental factors. Pink Ribbons, Inc. features interviews with critics of the pink ribbon campaign, researchers and cancer patients as well as cancer fundraisers such as Nancy Brinker, head of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Pool interviews Charlotte Haley, who began a peach-coloured ribbon campaign more than 20 years ago to press the National Cancer Institute to increase its budget for cancer prevention research, from a mere 5 per cent. When Haley was approached by Self magazine and cosmetics company Estée Lauder in 1992 to use her ribbons in a breast cancer awareness campaign she refused, because she had no desire to be part of a commercial effort. So the company changed the colour to pink, to circumvent Haley's efforts.
Also featured is the "IV League," a support group in Austin, Texas for women diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, who feel unwelcome in the pink ribbon movement because, in the words of one member, "They’re learning to live and you’re learning to die." Author Samantha King has called it “the tyranny of cheerfulness.”
Think Before You Pink, a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the overwhelming number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.
Think Before You Pink: http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org