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Pink Bad For Breast Cancer Campaigns

Study Finds Women Have a Problem With Pink

Researchers analyzing pink used in breast cancer awareness campaigns have found women are less likely to donate to cancer research when they see the color pink. And the reason why may surprise you.

This study's experiments involved women being shown pink ads and told to write essays about their gender before being asked whether they thought they'd contract breast cancer and whether they'd donate to cancer research. The women who saw the color pink and wrote about their gender were less likely to donate and less likely to believe they'd get breast cancer than the women who wrote gender-neutral essays and looked at gender-neutral colors.

The researchers explain that women have a psychological response to seeing pink that triggers a defensive mechanism; basically, we go into a state of denial. We see pink — a social and cultural cue for women — and are reminded that breast cancer affects women and we are women, so because we are threatened by this harsh reality, we subconsciously say to ourselves, "we aren't going to get cancer." And once we believe we aren't going to get cancer, we are no longer personally attached to cancer research, so why would we donate to it?

I think the idea that women are psychologically affected by the color pink is very interesting, and I hope more research like this leads to a more diverse method of advertising for women (like this gender-neutral Danish beer). What do you think about women and gender-assigned colors?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
This study is really interesting because I expected it to be about what the commenters above have said, that women are put off by pink, but instead it shows that despite a cultural aversion to the color women still identify with it on a deeper level. Sort of creepy.
whats-her-name whats-her-name 6 years
Amen, abbyjo. I cannot go anywhere or shop for anything without being bombarded by the shade I have dubbed "breast cancer awareness blush." I shopped around for a makeup bag for nearly a month because every store I shopped at looked like it was marketed toward a Barbie.
abbyjo abbyjo 6 years
I don't know about regarding breast cancer research, but I do know that I have a knee-jerk reaction to pink in marketing for other products. I despise the idea that because I have two X chromosomes, my stuff - from razors to toolkits - must be pink and flowered and girly. And I hate that if it's been made pink and flowered and girly so that I'll buy it, it's also been marked up to 150% or more of the masculine original product, ipso facto. Don't get me wrong. I like feminine things and, to quote the famous song, I enjoy being a girl. However, I don't enjoy the assumption that because I am a female, I want everything to be the color of Pepto-Bismal.
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