Samantha King, a professor at King's University in Ontario, has written an incredibly interesting and innovative book, Pink Ribbons, Inc. Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy. King has done what few others have before her-challenge the campaign to feminize and romanticize breast cancer. In her book, she chronicles the rise of the Susan G. Komen foundation and how its founder, Nancy Brinker has mastered the use of marketing for non-profit causes, often to the detriment of the cause itself.
The problem, King argues, lies in the way these large cancer organizations, such as the Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society, spend so much time and money on marketing, rather than actually looking into what is causing breast cancer. She notes that if you look at Komen's marketing materials, they put so much emphasis on treatment and detection, rather than prevention. In fact, their tagline always refers to finding a cure, rather then finding what causes cancer to develop in the first place. King points out that because the Komen Foundation gets funding from pharmaceutical companies and other large corporations that can actually contribute to the spread of breast cancer, such as BMW, they do not focus on preventing this disease.
Her book will make you think twice about sporting a pink ribbon. Instead, if you're looking to get involved with a breast cancer non-profit that actually works to prevent breast cancer, check out the fantastic Breast Cancer Action, located in San Francisco. They have created the "Think Before you Pink" campaign to take the focus off pink material goods and back on this devestating disease. Visit their campaign here and here and be sure to read this important book!