The Power Of Pink

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 3 2012 @ 5:58pm

The controversy surrounding the Susan G. Komen foundation's decision to revoke and then restore funding to Planned Parenthood could politically charge the ubiquitous pink ribbon. Rod Dreher finds the "whole Conspicuous Compassion thing" unsettling: 

While I have, or hope I have, compassion for those who suffer from all sorts of maladies, I don’t get the appeal of Moralistic Therapeutic Bunting — that is, ribbons that make you feel that you’ve done something to fight a disease, and allow you to preen moralistically in front of people whose lack of beribbonment perhaps indicates that they aren’t as enlightened as you are, but which ultimately means nothing. I have never worn a Conspicuous Compassion ribbon for any cause, and I never will, simply because it strikes me as a vulgar and emotionally manipulative practice.

A new film Pink Ribbons, Inc. (trailer above) takes this a bit further in a polemic broadside against the Komen foundation's relentless marketing machine:

As Barbara Brenner of the activist group Breast Cancer Action puts it, breast cancer is the “the poster child of cause marketing” because of its links to motherhood and women’s sexuality. With women doing most household buying, they’re a ready market for products that piggyback on the breast-cancer cause. … The line of critics accuses the pink-themed campaign of promoting a quick-fix mentality, focusing too much on early screening and achieving a “cure” for the disease, instead of researching causes and protection from environmental contaminants. As well, the pep-rally mentality of the movement obscures women’s fear and suffering. The case is made forcefully in interviews with a half-dozen women in a support group who are facing death from the disease: “The message," one woman says, "is that if you just try really hard, you can beat it,” while those who died "weren't trying very hard."