Pink Ribbons, Inc. Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 6, 2012
A good way to start a debate among 10 randomly selected individuals would be to have them view Lea Pool's Pink Ribbons Inc and have at each other. The premise of the film is this: you shouldn't be so quick in providing donations to the Pink Ribbon campaign because it has become a PR exercise for firms which often create products that increases the risk of cancer in users and the money may not go to the organizations that can provide a cure. Moving beyond cancer, I think that this is a healthy addition to the debate on corporate responsibility and how willing we are as a society to overlook sins if a cheque is issued to a charity.
December 30, 2012
An uneven documentary, perhaps, but spearheaded mostly by informed women who make their point well: The Komen pink ribbon campaign has morphed into little more than a profit-making gimmick for corporations and a source of gluttonous salaries for Komen executives.

Example: Research reveals that female workers in certain production areas of the automotive industry are at a much higher risk for breast cancer, yet Komen partners with Ford to issue a black Mustang with pink striping and logos.

Example: Cosmetics companies vend products containing various known carcinogens-with pink ribbon logos on the boxes.

Example: Komen funds little research into a variety of highly-suspected environmental risks because it would conflict with the profit-maximization objectives of the corporations with which it partners.

Example: A woman points out that lighting Niagara Falls in pink for 24 hours might make women feel good, but what does that accomplish in terms of actual change?

Again, the documentary is uneven, but it contains a number of such insightful nuggets that reveal the public's pink ribbon obsession for what it really is--entirely misguided.
September 22, 2014
The documentary raises great questions on corporate greed, how we frame support for cancer patients, and somewhat delves into carcinogenic factors, but the agenda and broad generalizations are a real turnoff. What particularly annoyed me was the complete disregard of the actual progress that has been made on breast cancer. This documentary would have you believe that we're scientifically still at square one compared to a hundred years ago and that we know nothing about breast cancer. The overarching theme is that the pink ribbon campaign has done nothing, and all that money that has actually been put into studies has amounted to squat. That is blatantly false. Is a lot of that money wasted? Yes. Do companies enter the breast cancer business and pocket most of the money? Yes. However, to use this message to invalidate actual scientific research is completely dishonest and fraudulent, turning this into an emotionally charged misinformation fest.

Bottom line: If they want to show the problems of breast cancer discourse in today's society, they can't spread lies as well.
½ August 1, 2014
Everybody should watch this doc. It's important.
½ May 12, 2014
If any one is in the mood for an enlightening documentary...
½ December 12, 2013
A little thin in spots/padded (unnecessarily extended clips, etc) but still very insightful.
½ September 13, 2013
They brought up some pretty good reasons to hate Komen, but left out what I feel is one of the most damning ones: that they spend a million dollars of donation money a year suing other non-profits that use "for the Cure" in their titles.\
½ July 2, 2013
Fine Until We Get to Speculation

Today, I was explaining to someone I know online why there are pink guns if having a gun is supposed to be about empowerment. As it happens, I forgot one aspect in my rant, because the idea is too bizarre. The fact is, some of those guns are pink because they're supposed to be promoting breast cancer awareness. I mean, that's not me, right? That's seriously weird, right? Some of the breast cancer awareness stuff makes at least a vague kind of sense, but the gun thing does not. Because the thing is, even if you're saying "I'm going to use it for protection," a gun's purpose in life is to cause harm to another human being, which is sort of the opposite of trying to fight cancer. So okay, whatever. But when you get right down to it, the whole "breast cancer awareness" thing is not as good an idea as it sounds for a whole list of reasons, many of which are covered in this documentary.

There was a time when discussing any kind of cancer was taboo, and breast cancer was among the most taboo, because breasts. Now, every product you can name and probably more than a few you'd never consider has a breast cancer awareness promotion or special packaging or some such. There are sponsored [i]everything[/i]; my mom does, or did, the Avon Walk for the Cure herself, and Mom doesn't do things like skydiving or dressage, though other people appear to. And that would be great if there were some evidence that it was accomplishing anything. However, breast cancer rates aren't down. Survival rates are up, I believe, but since there's no communication among researchers, a lot of work is duplicated, even when it proved futile the first time. And there are plenty of companies that are both known for their anti-breast cancer programs and for using carcinogens that are probably given people, whether employees or the general public, cancer. Even if it isn't breast cancer, that's still bad.

One of the things presented here is the simple math. Let's say you do that thing where you send in (cleaned!) Yoplait lids during that particular promotion. Eating three containers of yogurt a day throughout the promotion, and mailing in all the lids, would earn $34 for breast cancer programs. It's got to be cheaper to just send them the check. And since so much of the research is duplicated, you can't even be sure that your $34 is going towards anything useful anyway. But people think just buying something pink is really contributing, so they don't actually contribute. It's more than a little frustrating to people actually working in relevant fields--or people with breast cancer. Avon and Revlon have both made a big deal about their breast cancer programs, but they both use chemicals in their makeup that are linked to cancer. (More on which anon.) So of course, no one using those funds is going to look too closely at environmental factors that might point the finger at Avon or Revlon, are they?

So okay, this is something that kind of got me. "Linked to cancer" is not the same as "a proven carcinogen," and the film gives no details. I happen to know that there are a lot of people who believe things are linked to cancer no matter how little evidence there is in favour of it--or evidence there is against it. I don't know any of the details of the chemicals in question here, because--among other things--I pretty much don't wear makeup. But correlation is not causation; that's one of the first and most important things they teach you in science. They had a woman who appeared to be just someone at an event, and she was saying how obvious it was to her that the issue was plastic in the food chain. But who is that woman? Does she know what she's talking about? Or did she hear it somewhere and think it sounded good and not look into anything that suggested maybe she was wrong? I don't know, because the film never gives any detail on the subject.

Overall, this is a good and important film. It's worth knowing that a lot of these programs are more about profit for the companies running them than actually fighting--or certainly preventing--cancer. And that's leaving aside the thing the film doesn't say, which I already knew anyway, which is that heart disease kills more American women every year than all cancers combined. The film includes an interview with Barbara Ehrenreich, who doesn't like being called a "breast cancer survivor" but is in current parlance, and I highly recommend seeking out her book [i]Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America[/i], wherein she talks about her experiences in breast cancer groups. Here, she says that she's actively offended by the idea that pink teddy bears will solve her problem. If you are over seven, it may be time to move on from pink teddy bears. And it seems no one wants to listen to the Barbara Ehrenreichs out there, because they aren't saying what we believe they should.
April 21, 2013
Crack a beer. Watch this movie. Ask some questions about that pink spatula you spent $12 on.
December 2, 2012
Nicely done. I really liked it and learned some new things. I would recommend it to everyone. It encourages people to think and question everything. It includes interviews from cancer victims and corporations' representatives. It will rub some people the wrong way like a woman said in the documentary the lies people believe about cancer are comforting.
½ November 13, 2012
"In the 98 minutes of "Pink Ribbons, Inc.," a wealth of information and images flit past, many intended to raise eyebrows if not ire." â" Seattle Times
November 7, 2012
What has research accomplished?
October 23, 2012
I've felt like the fool saying, "The Emperor doesn't have any clothes on!" for years., while good friends spent the weekend walking. My thought was they were helping someone in Dallas get a new chandelier for their multi-million dollar home. Those "foundation" salaries were $600,000 a year for the top 10 execs. One county in Georgia was raising the most money for pink when it was discovered there were no services for women, ie wigs, prosthetics, etc. in that county.
Best marketing ploy this century!

Thank you for making this movie.
October 20, 2012
Wonderful film that everyone should see.
October 17, 2012
Not likely I will be looking at pink ribbons the same way any time soon!
October 14, 2012
Just watched this fantastic doc about the breast cancer movement and the pink ribbon campaign. What an eye opener!!
August 16, 2012
Pink Ribbons, Inc. exposes the truth behind this movement. If you love her, regardless of who she is, you will be enraged by the facts that come to light in this film.
July 4, 2012
the lady with the mustache distracted me from anything relevant being presented.
½ March 4, 2012
About time someone at least tried to shine some light on cause marketing and how often it is useless (or even counterproductive) to benefiting the cause but a windfall for the advertisers who attach themselves to it. Would that more than a rare few could see with a skeptics eye. And even here, it's discouraging to hear critics deride those who lack historical perspective while themselves displaying a perspective of, at best, a century. Such missteps are rare, though, and the movie admirably gives voice to quite an array of perspectives.
½ June 19, 2012
As the Founder and President of a non-profit organization which raises funds for breast cancer research I found Pink Ribbons, Inc. disturbing and unproductive. I was inclined to rattle off each offense and elaborate on why I disagree. After having settled down a bit I will, instead, express a concise reply. I fear this film stigmatizes the business of raising funds for a worthy cause into something ugly and disingenuous. I fear movie viewers will be confused and demoralized by the film's ugly message. And, I fear past supporters may feel so degraded and shamed by this film that they will choose to direct their efforts and money elsewhere. We at The Lynn Sage Foundation agree that a collaborative approach to medical research is ideal and that activism can be constructive. Transparency is essential. Research into environmental causes of cancer is also very welcome. Funding worthy projects is simply not possible without the aid of corporations and individuals. Government dollars are scarce and dwindling. While their were some useful messages within the movie, the emphasis placed on sensationalism and inaccuracies is useless. We, and we presume many of our non-profits peers, would welcome the help of corporations, individuals and associates to collaborate on finding the causes, better treatments and a eventually a cure for this terrible disease.
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