The Vancouver Sun: Widespread ribbon campaign creates backlash

By Joanne Laucius
The Vancouver Sun

King_PinkIt has been almost 20 years since pink ribbons first appeared on the cultural landscape, a symbol of hope, empowerment and determination to put an end to breast cancer.

But finding a cure for a disease that claims 5,400 Canadians each year has proven to be an elusive goal, and the pink ribbon movement is under increasing scrutiny over corporate partnerships that, at times, push the boundaries of absurdity.

The pink movement started as a way to bring awareness about breast cancer to a world that still felt squeamish about saying the word "breast."

Now, 20 years later, there are pink fire trucks and pink cement mixers.

You can dress yourself headto-toe in pink-ribbon attire. The NFL urges fans to "Get Your Pink On." You can buy a package of mushrooms in a pink tray, a motorboat with a pink stripe and a pink Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.

You can run for the cure, walk for the cure and cook for the cure. Dog-sledding buffs in Minnesota hold a "Mush for a Cure."

Over the last two decades, the breast cancer mortality rate has fallen 35 per cent, according to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. That is, a woman diagnosed with breast cancer today is 35 per cent less likely to die within five years of a breast cancer diagnosis than she was 20 years ago.

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