Susan G. Komen and the Problem with Pink
Last night, in the fervor against Komen for cutting their Planned Parenthood funding (a decision now reversed), someone discovered a pink gun sold by Discount Gun Sales, which lead Scott Wooledge to quip, "Perfect for shooting yourself in the foot!" Might it also be good for killing off pink for good?
Last night, in the fervor against Komen for cutting their Planned Parenthood funding (a decision now reversed), someone discovered a pink gun sold by Discount Gun Sales, which lead Scott Wooledge to quip at DailyKos, "Perfect for shooting yourself in the foot!" Might it also be good for killing off pink for good?
In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons, a riff on the red ribbon for AIDS awareness, to Race for the Cure participants in New York City. In the two decades that have followed, pink and breast cancer awareness have merged into a full-fledged branded commodity, with portions of sales of thousands of pink items far from simply ribbons offered by an array of merchandisers "to support the fight against breast cancer" (or, in some unfortunate cases, to simply appear that they do -- see update below).
According to the information posted on Discount Gun sales, a portion of each "Walther P-22 Hope Edition in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month" (the gun above) sold by Discount Gun Sales will be donated to the Seattle branch of Susan G. Komen, or, actually, "Susan B. Koman." They add:
Discount Gun Sales is proud to team up with the Susan B. Koman Foundation to offer the Walther P-22 Hope Edition in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A portion of each P-22 Hope Edition will be donated to the Seattle Branch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The P-22 Hope Edition has an exclusive DuraCoat Pink slide in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Utilizing the same reliable controls and firing mechanism that has made the Walther P-22 America’s top selling handgun, the Hope Edition will be a limited production pistol offered exclusively through Discount Gun Sales.
As Komen reverses track and apologizes to the American public for “recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives,” as CEO Nancy Brinker said, it will be interesting to see whether Komen can regain the confidence of those who, until recently, had supported their mission without question. And with darker questions lingering about what really happened (including apparent instructions from Komen Foundation officials to "obfuscate the issues when confronted with questions about why Komen cut off funding to Planned Parenthood") and how that might be related to pro-life activist and Susan G. Komen SVP Karen Handel, can we stomach the once seemingly innocent proliferation of "breast cancer awareness pink" -- which now appears on merchandise ranging from stickers, tote bags, T-shirts, lip balm, and sock monkeys to walkers, devotional Bibles for women, figurines, sunglasses, car charms, and muffin cups, not to mention guns -- at all?
Breast cancer screenings notwithstanding -- has Susan G. Komen killed pink (and thereby, a 20-year brand) in, essentially, a week's time? And if not, can we ever look at it the same way again?
Update: Discount Gun Sales has now removed the gun from the website. Andrea Rader at Susan G. Komen said via email, "this story about Komen and a handgun partnership is absolutely wrong...Komen does not partner with firearms manufacturers at the national level and our Seattle Affiliate has no record of receiving funds from this company. You’ll also note that Discount Guns took this off their website (and had our name wrong in any event – we are not the Susan B. Komen [or the Susan B. Koman] foundation)."
The question about the damage to pink remains.