Pinkwashing

More fun with Pinkwashing!

Exhibit B: Lucy Activewear’s BCA Collection

I was looking at the boards at breastcancer.org when I came across a discussion topic started by Lilacblue about Lucy Activewear’s new Breast Cancer Awareness collection. Her response is so eloquent that I’m just going to quote her post here (emphasis mine:)

Sat up last night writing to Lucy Activewear.  I’m a loyal wearer of Lucy perfect core pants, the most expensive workout pants I’ve ever bought and to me, the best I’ve ever worked out in because of compression and also found perfect for a Diep recovery – the hip-to-hip incision area.  I go on the Lucy site last night and see they now have “breast cancer awareness” (BCA) wear, claiming get ready for the race, Lucy outfits inspired by YOUR support, and there in lies the rub. I clicked to see the new clothing line, with pink ribbons motifs emblazoned on the front of four tops and pink shorts.  I read nothing of BCA support by Lucy Activewear or any percentage of BCA sales going to a nominated breast cancer charity.    

I found on the contact page an email address and wrote them asking:

Any company can put a pink ribbon on its products. The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by any agency and does not necessarily mean it effectively combats the breast cancer epidemic.  Can you tell me how much money from my purchase of Lucy BCA wear will go to support breast cancer programs?  Can you please tell me what breast cancer programs Lucy supports? 

Within a few hours this was the response:

I regret to inform you that we don’t have an affiliation with any charities at this time including BCA, however we do hope to in the future.

I then sent this letter asking it to be passed to management:

Lucy Activewear Management,

The pink ribbon represents fear of breast cancer, hope for the future, and the charitable goodness of people and businesses who publicly support the breast cancer movement. It is intended to evoke solidarity with women who currently have breast cancer.

Breast cancer organizations use the pink ribbon to associate themselves with breast cancer, to promote breast cancer awareness, and to support fundraising. Some breast cancer-related organizations, such as Pink Ribbon International, use the pink ribbon as their primary symbol. 

While specifically representing breast cancer awareness, the pink ribbon is also a symbol and a proxy of goodwill towards women in general. Buying, wearing, displaying, or sponsoring pink ribbons signals that the person or business cares about women. The pink ribbon is a marketing brand for businesses that allows them to promote themselves with women and identify themselves as being socially aware. Compared to other women’s issues, promoting breast cancer awareness is politically safe.

Because the pink ribbon is not licensed by any corporation, it is more open to being abused by businesses that donate little or none of their revenue to breast cancer research. While companies such as Estée Lauder have distributed over 70 million pink ribbons, and donated over $25 million to breast cancer research, other companies have been discovered using the pink ribbon inappropriately—either by not donating their profits, or by using the pink ribbon on products that include ingredients which cause cancer.

The misuse of marketing campaigns by businesses using the pink ribbon on their products have been described as pinkwashing, which was coined by Breast Cancer Action. They use the term to highlight companies or products which feature a pink ribbon, without donating money to charity, or with no transparency regarding where the funds are going. 

Lucy Activewear has confirmed to me, that it does not have any scheme in place to offer a percentage of sales of  “breast cancer awareness” clothing (BAC).  By not standing with women, such as myself, (a woman recovering from breast cancer), by  having no accountability or non-profit giving in place regarding BAC sales, Lucy Activewear are colluding to profit from breast cancer and conspiring in corporate hypocrisy.  I urge you to immediately put in place a process whereby an appropriate contribution of revenue from the sale of BCA promoted products, that is transferred quickly to breast cancer charities in need of funding, in a manner that is clearly visible to your customers.  

Please advise the action you intend to take.

Of course, no response.  I plan on sending a snail mail letter of the same today.

Here are the clothes that Lucy is offering in their BCA collection. Not only are they a craven grab for cash, they’re not terribly attractive. Now, I loved Lucy’s sports bras and their yoga pants are great, but this is an epic fail on all fronts, especially for a company targeted exclusively to women.

Even in this digital age, snail mail is the most effective way to make companies hear you. Send your letters to:

lucy Activewear
2701 Harbor Bay Parkway
Alameda, CA 94502

If you only have time to fire off an email, that’s okay too: customerservice@lucy.com

Update: You can post your feelings on their Facebook page

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18 thoughts on “More fun with Pinkwashing!

  1. And with THIS post, you have nailed two of the biggest problems with the ribbon. I already knew I loved you from the SNARK….but now…. You have just been elevated to the pinnacle of my (anti-pink) world.

    Your blog is about to go viral, sistah….. may not happen now since it’s Friday afternoon but oh yeah… Viral…..

    Thrilled to be beside you on this bandwagon.

    xoxox
    AnneMarie

  2. I am so pleased to see this issue has come out in greater force and addressed by the very woman it is supposed to help. The jig is up on pink ribbon use and we breast cancer woman are sick of being used as a ready-made marketing ploy for immoral, grubby companies, who target healthy, cash infused consumers (mainly woman) who think this is an easy way to give to BC funding.
    You keep going Pink Goose and I’m with CHEMOBRAINFOG, this needs to go viral!

    Proud to stand with you both,
    Jan, xox

  3. I’ve already tweeted them out: @lucyactivewear. ARE THEY KIDDING?? Leaving voicemail messages as we speak. THIS is outrageous!

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  9. Very, very well worded! As a survivor as well, I am beginning to feel I may vomit pink. It’s dispicable!
    Have you tried one of the free petition sites? Like change.org? I beleive you can petition that this company offer funds to charity, or, better yet, petition that the pink ribbon be a symbol with limited uses so it isn’t public and companies wanting to use it have to meet certain guidelines. Thank!

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