Breast Cancer Awareness month means that pink ribbons, pink flags, and pink just-about-everything-else are becoming ubiquitous. But this year the pink goes beyond store shelves and television programs and finds itself in a somewhat odd place — adult website Pornhub.
As the Los Angeles Times noted, the website announced it would donate 1 cent for every 30 views of breast-related videos, “meaning the more boobs that are viewed, the more money that will be showered upon the Susan G. Komen Foundation.”
“Together we can give fundraising our breast shot!” the company added.
The unlikely promotion is adding fuel to a debate over whether breast cancer awareness has become too commercialized. Critics have called out the breast cancer industry, which now includes thousands of pink products that sometimes benefit the company making them money and leave little, if any, to charity. To these critics, the Pornhub.com promotion for Breast Cancer Awareness month is the perfect example.
Pornhub.com’s offer at least appears to be sincere. Earlier this year, the website sponsored the Boob Bus, which traveled through New York City offering free breast exams — from board-certified, licensed medical practitioners.
The Pornhub.com promotion for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is bringing light to what Los Angeles Times writer Christie Aschwanden referred to as “pinkwashing.” In 2010, Aschwanden wrote for the Times that, in the 26 years since Breast Cancer Awareness Month began, deaths from breast cancer dropped only slightly, falling about 2 percent per year.
Because breast cancer isn’t one disease but actually several, doctors treat them all as if they are dangerous, even tumors that aren’t harmful, the report noted. This leads to overtreatment, and even noted cancer doctor Susan Love said that Breast Cancer Awareness Month may now be doing more harm than good.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month “was helpful at the time, but it has outlived its usefulness,” said Love, a breast cancer surgeon at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and author of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book.
“You see this message that the best prevention is early detection, but that’s not prevention; that’s finding a cancer that’s already there,” Love said. “Early detection is a really nice message — it makes you feel in control, but it doesn’t address our current understanding of how cancer works.”
At Pornhub.com, the breast cancer awareness campaign has already raised more than $25,000, but it looks like it needs a new destination. As NBCNews.com noted, Susan G. Komen officials announced that they will not be accepting the donation.