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Has Pink Gotten A Bad Rap?

Do you have a favorite color? I’m not sure I can actually pick just one color favorite. I have different favorites for different things. I love purples to look at (think irises). Browns and blues can’t be beat for clothing and decorating purposes. Green soothes me I guess since my bedroom walls are green. How can nature’s most prevalent colors not be top picks?

Yes, every color has its place.

And then there’s pink…

Pink has gotten a rather bad rap of late, especially during October.

You might assume I’ve given up on pink. But I haven’t. I still like pink and I won’t give up on it, not entirely anyway.

Do I get sick and tired of pink wrapping itself around ‘my disease’?

You’re darn right I do. I get really REALLY sick of it!

But I confess; I still like pink. Pink is still an honorable color.

I have never been a ‘pink girlie-girlie’ kind of gal. Other than in the hospital nursery full of newborns who all look alike, I don’t like the ‘assignment’ pink has had over the years to represent females. Forget that crap. I just like pink. I like pink t-shirts (PLAIN pink t-shirts), pink sweaters, pink flowers, pink lemonade (love that), pink sunrises, pink sunsets, pink hearts and my Pink Moon Lovelies friends (you know who you are). Heck, I even have a pink purse!

Who would have thought, right? And do you want to know something really ironic? I purchased that pink purse right after my diagnosis without even thinking about the color. I’ve kept using that purse during summer months ever since. I just happen to like that purse.

My mother told me one time that everyone looks good in pink. I think she was right. Pink does flatter most women and men too. Son #2 has a pink shirt or two, plus a pink tie and he looks fabulous in them, though admittedly I’m biased.

Like I’ve said over and over again, the discontent so many feel in October about pink and pink ribbons isn’t really about pink or ribbons at all.  

To grab a copy of my FREE ebook, Pink Is Just a Color, Ribbons Are Just Ribbons: A collection of writings about Pinktober shenanigans, Click Here.

No, it goes a whole lot deeper than that.

The problem is what the two together have come to represent:  a skewed representation of a deadly disease and an overused and misused symbol that has morphed into a marketing tool used more for profiting than anything else.

Yes, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has ruined pink for many. Understandably so.  Has Pink Gotten a Bad Rap?

But I’m not going to allow it to take away my pink.

I intend to hang onto pink; maybe just not so “tightly” in October.

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What’s your favorite color?

Has Pinktober spoiled pink for you?

This is the color pink image via The Sarcastic Boob.



Has Pink Gotten a Bad Rap? #Pinktober #breastcancer #breastcancerawareness

22 thoughts to “Has Pink Gotten A Bad Rap?”

  1. I don’t know that I wear a whole lot of pink, but Pinktober hasn’t spoiled it for me. I am wearing a pink sweatshirt right now. I use a pink bag every day. Even my rugby cleats are pink.

    1. Lindsay, I’m glad to hear Pinktober hasn’t spoiled pink for you either. I didn’t think you ever wore pink… glad you do because you look good in pink! But then you look good in any color. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Actually, I have always liked pink, but I have real problems with Pinktober. I, too, am wearing a pink shirt today, not a t-shirt, and not the “breast cancer pink,” just a nice deep pink. It was always a favorite top and the first time I tried wearing it after my mastectomy, I cried, but I have found I can still wear it with a high lacy cami. And, I happen to be wearing a necklace made for me by another patient at the radiation clinic, an elderly Native American gentleman. It is pink, white, and silver beads with a pink coated ribbon out of silver. That handmade necklace, that gift of caring, seems so different from all the plastic and paper pink all over the place.
    You are so right. It is not the color pink. It isn’t even the ribbon. It is the commercialization. It is treating cancer, a life threatening disease for so many of us, and life altering for more, as if we can beat it through pep rallies.
    I do not have much faith in pep rallies. My high school had great pep rallies, but a really lousy football team.
    The ladies only gym that I go to (still working on range of motion) is selling pink ribbon guest passes, ALL proceeds are being sent to support research, none goes to the gym. That is a nice kind of pink. More places need to do that kind of pink.

    1. Elizabeth, Sounds like you and I are on the same page once again. Your bead necklace sounds like a beautiful gift and filled with so much meaning. I love your high school pep rally analogy. I might have to borrow that one some time! And yes, wouldn’t it be nice if more organizations donated all or at least more proceeds to research. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Totally agree with you. I have always loved Pink, but maybe not now that I have breast cancer…not true, I still wear pink.

  4. It’s not the color pink. It’s not even the enthusiasm of those wearing pink tutu’s and such that want to help and walk days raising money for the cause. There is something beautiful about the sense of community that forms. It’s the corporations making profit, the truth about cancer that is lost or merely glossed over and the fact that research is so underfunded. I like to wear navy blue. I’m not sure what that says about me!

  5. dear nancy,

    what a great post! I will never let the pink onslaught of October take away my love of pink. I am a painter, and a lot of the joy in painting is mixing colors – I revel in the variety of pinks and use them liberally in my work.

    but my favorite color is green. did you know it is the color of healing? before hugh passed away, we had our dining room painted – walls, deep lime, and the ceiling one shade lighter. we thought we made a horrible mistake – all that green! but now I sit in that room for many hours most days, and feel the comfort of imagining I am in a beautiful glade with the morning light, or in a mossy cave in the evening. I think it is helping me towards healing – and our “mistake” turned out to be a blessing instead.

    I also enjoy sharing the love of pink that my 4 little granddaughters adore, even though one of them is more an out-doorsy, non girly – girl, but still insists on pink cleats and pink soccer balls – she call it “the girl power” color. very cool and very fun, from a pretty smart 7 yr. old.

    much love and light, XOXOX


    1. Karen, I’m not sure this is a great post, but thank you! I guess I had forgotten that you’re a painter. I admire people like you who are so artistic. I did not know green is the color of healing, but it makes perfect sense. I’m glad you are enjoying your recently painted dining room and I’m even more glad that you now find it to be such a room of remembering and healing. That is a blessing indeed. And yes, little girls and pink – some of them really get into it. Thanks for sharing about your precious granddaughters. Love and light back.

  6. I never was a big fan of the color pink, but I appreciate it as a beautiful color when used for the right purposes. Commenter Mae said it very well. I have a problem with the use of pink for corporate profit. My favorite color is blue, it brings out my eyes. But I appreciate them all and the fact that I can see to enjoy them.

  7. Hi Nancy! I agree, it’s not about the Pink, it’s about the free enterprise system that has taken advantage of a dreadful and deadly disease by profit of pink products sales with virtually no dollars given to BC research so we have to ask two questions when buying pink products..1. Who is the recipient of the purchase proceeds? Is it the company selling the product or is it a specific BC research org? 2. How much of the “purchase proceeds” are going towards the org of choice? I have contacted Helen of Troy/Revlon Hair Tools over a purchase of a curling iron that my husband bought me for my birthday, it said on the box, right next to the pink ribbon “A portion of the proceeds”….portion? How much portion? 20%, 10% 5%??? I still have not gotten a straight answer from them so I stated that for me, as a consumer, if a company is not willing to share at least 30% or more then I will return my product! They replied with stating that they are sorry that they couldn’t meet my expectations! Guilana Rancic did a great pitch on her daily ENews episode today talking about different pink products and she was very outspoken about HOW much of the proceeds of these products were being given towards the cause and to WHOM the org was! Good for you Guilana! We can never get rid of the monster that was created for us but we can try to understand it and make it accountable and transparent!

    1. Theresa, You really pinpointed the key questions to ask in your comment. Good for you for asking them yourself and then for being willing to go to the extra trouble of returning the product when you didn’t like the answers. That will make a statement! Just imagine what might happen if more us did those simple things. Thank you!

  8. I have a big problem with “pink”. Corporations using a disease that kills 40,000 women a year in this country to increase their profit margins is simply wrong. Most only contribute a very small percentage of the money they make selling PINK to everyone. And, even more importantly….. the money that is donated is very seldom used for research to SAVE lives. Even an organization like Komen uses hundreds of thousands of their donated money simply to pay their CEO an extravagant salary. I can never celebrate PINK until not one more woman (or man) dies from breast cancer.
    40,000 a YEAR dying in the U.S. alone!…… 40,000!!!!!!

  9. I have always liked pink but I like the bright fuschia pink! I won’t stop wearing pink but I am overwhelmed with it in October. I won’t, however, wear a button down shirt unless required. After mastectomy that was all I could wear and so I refuse to wear one now.
    I am pretty mad about corporations exploiting my disease to make a profit though. Pink isn’t always pretty.

    1. Nancy Beth, As I wrote in my post, I still like pink too. My favorite is the pastel version of pink. Interesting how you feel about the button down shirts now. I totally get that. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve worn one either since my bilateral. And you’re so right, pink is not always pretty. Well said. Thank you for adding to this discussion about pink.

  10. Hi Nancy,

    I’ve come to resent pink as associated with breast cancer. I feel nauseated when I see pink trucks sporting pink ribbons.

    During October, I find myself getting all bent out of shape about pink. But like you say, it’s not about pink the color at all.

    Like Karen, I’m an artist. I work with oils and love every color in the world. I also use pinks in my work, so I guess that does not make me a pink hater. I love blending and mixing and discovering colors I had never even seen before. Just the other day, I was painting a landscape and discovered a shade of green I never saw before. I’m hoping I invented the color: Gainer Green has a nice ring to it, eh?

    Great post!

    1. Beth, Lots of people seem to feel nauseated by pink in October, but of course, it’s not about pink at all. You and Karen are so lucky to be such talented artists. And yes, that must give you a whole different kind of appreciation for all colors. I absolutely love the name Gainer Green! Now I’m wondering what shade of green it is… It does have a nice ring to it for sure! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on pink.

  11. I love to look at pink, especially in nature. So many hues, all four seasons. Sunrises and sunsets, snow and water reflecting the pink sky, spring, summer and fall flowers, fall leaves. I have been turned off being associated with pink in my own personal expression ever since I was diagnosed and learned the truth behind “the cure”. I don’t want anyone to think I support Komen or Whatever the eff the NFL calls their pink campaign (and I am a fan). I often think those of us who won’t rock the pink ribbon culture go back to the original salmon colored ribbon for breast cancer, the one that was hijacked and neoned for marketing and bullying. I might like pink again.

    1. Jane, You are so right about the lovely pinks on display in nature. I still am not turned off by pink. Guess I have a stubborn streak or something. ha. But gosh, do I cringe every time I see those NFL players donning pink when they should be focusing on purple (domestic violence month).
      The display feels way too forced and somehow insincere. Thanks for reading and commenting too.

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