Oh, dear. Can you tell I have a houseguest? I completely forgot that yesterday was a Thursday… and hence missed one of my Pink Thursday commitments. No matter — I will just supplement with a Pink Friday entry, and choose for it one of my favorite photographs from our day trip to Park Seed Company/Wayside Gardens.
Isn’t this delicate beauty gorgeous?
We couldn’t find her name, although we looked around for a tag. Either it had been misplaced during the clean-up at the end of the growing season, or maybe the foliage had grown enough to cover it. Nonetheless, a rose is a rose is a rose, right? And a beautiful late-season clematis with frilly pink stamens arising from a pale and pristine center doesn’t exactly need a name.
And I realize this photo is barely pink. There’s a reason for that. Some of you might even now be feeling a bit of pink overload as National Breast Cancer Awareness month crosses the midpoint. (Here’s a survivor’s take on whether or not the pink thing has gone too far.)
I was a little annoyed to discover a bunch of pink plastic products made especially for kitchen use to honor this month and this cause. Really? Do we need to make even more plastic that will eventually end up not decomposing in a landfill and yet contaminating ground water or the ocean (depending on where it ends up being dumped) with a chemical that has been linked to the formation of pre-cancerous breast cells in animals?
Plus, all of the items, although cute, were things that most of us already have in our kitchens — unless we’re college students surviving on instant noodles, I suppose — so this implies that I’m helping breast cancer research by obtaining a duplicate of something I already have. Something that put pollutants into the air, many of them carcinogenic, as it was being manufactured, and was probably manufactured in a poorer third-world country with hardly any respect shown to the women working in the factory, exposed to harmful chemicals day after day. (This last part is just a guess, but a pretty shrewd one.)
It really didn’t make sense at all.
So I did a little more digging and discovered “Pink-washing.” Yes, the color to raise awareness and raise funds for the cure, that began as a grassroots movement (and a brilliant idea) has been co-opted by many companies simply because it brings in the cash — especially in the month of October. Pink-washed products may make us think fond thoughts about how we’re supporting honest and much-needed research that may one day save our friends, our mothers, our daughters, ourselves. But nowhere is the company obligated to pass on a cent of the money they just made by cashing in on this emotional cause.
That kinda made me mad. But it was the kind of mad that’s good for you, which motivates you to do your homework so your money ends up going where you intended.
Think Before You Pink, which defines a pink-washer even more narrowly as “a company that purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink-ribboned product, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease.” They have a terrific list of questions to ask before you buy a pink product of any kind.
Turns out awareness is multi-faceted this month. Awareness also involves educating oneself so as to be a more responsible consumer with regard to this cause. A bit of research has convinced me that direct giving may be one of the best choices for me.