07 10 / 2012

"They wanted to create a world where the words “breast cancer” weren’t stigmata. And the original pink ribbon campaign didn’t start as a canny branding move to rake in profits for major corporations, but rather as a symbol of solidarity. Survivors wore the ribbons as open marks of their survival, to identify themselves not just to other survivors, but to society in general. A signal that they were alive, not going anywhere and determined to talk about the disease they’d experienced. But slowly, the pink ribbon came to mean something else. Rather than being a symbol of survival and strength, it became more generally a symbol of support, and then it was appropriated by firms that wanted to slap pink ribbons on their products for more profits. The Komen campaign realised it had a goldmine on its hands and it started aggressively protecting the pink ribbon brand. As the organization grew in size and power, it became harder and harder for activists to fight the commodification it promoted and the unhealthy business relationships it had with firms that wanted to exploit the ribbon, along with survivors and activists interested in directly addressing breast cancer."

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