PINK RIBBONS, INC. – The DVD Review
PINK RIBBONS, INC is out on DVD and I’m disappointed, they didn’t include a quote from my review on their packaging. “All the Debbie Downerism seems unnecessary” would have looked great above the stack of money wrapped in that ubiquitous pink ribbon. In my initial review of PINK RIBBONS, INC (read it HERE) last Spring, I gave it 2 ½ stars, claiming it was well-made and a healthy debate, but I also called out its transparent attempt to portray the Susan G. Komen foundation’s raising of funds for the worthy cause of breast cancer into something ugly and crooked. My take didn’t sit well with a certain angry type and in the review’s comments section I was called a “propaganda machine” and was even accused of being paid off by Komen. A slanderous charge! I would never take a bribe to slant my review from a non-profit (corporate bribes are another story!).
Since few saw PINK RIBBONS, INC when it played theaters, I’m surprised the DVD wasn’t juiced up with more substance in terms of extras but here they are:
Interview with director Lea Poole – Ms Poole seems nice and admits she was unfamiliar with the ‘pinkwashing’ controversy before her involvement in the project then and repeats a couple of the points made in the film. There’s no depth to her thoughts on the subject at hand as this “interview” lasts all of three minutes.
Interview with producer Ravida Din – Ms Din is a cancer victim herself and speaks about her bond with some of the women in the film. She’s attractive and a good speaker but her 4-minute “interview” is interrupted by talking head clips pulled from the feature. Since they bothered to sit these women down for the cameras, it would have been nice if the two interviews had length and substance. A commentary would have been even better.
Two Shorts – “Raise a Stink” (misspelled “Raise at Stink” on the DVD’s menu!) plays like an outtake. As in the KFC dustup chronicled in the feature, busybodies brag about pressuring Komen to end their fundraising partnership with Promise Me perfume because it contains Galaxolide, a synthetic musk possibly carcinogenic found in most perfumes. Yay, another “victory” resulting in less money for the cause. There is a 6-minute infomercial for Breast Cancer Action (http://bcaction.org/), a national “grassroots” education and advocacy organization located in San Francisco. There’s also a pdf for Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink® Toolkit, talking points the group’s website describes this way: “It will help you take action to hold pinkwashers accountable; deepen your understanding of the politics of breast cancer; and ask questions to be certain your valuable dollars go towards addressing & ending this epidemic, not just lining corporate pockets”
Trailers – for four more agenda-driven documentaries from First Run Features: GIRL MODEL is a doc about budding young fashion models that claims it’s a “haunting look at exploited youth”, ORGASM INC. is about female sexuality,the alarmist PLASTIC PLANET, and SURVIVING PROGRESS (read the WAMG review of that one HERE)
I found parts of PINK RIBBONS, INC bizarre and mean-spirited, a thinly-veiled hit piece on the Susan G. Komen Foundation, one of the most big-hearted, and successful nonprofit organization in America. Komen has raised close to $2 billion to the cause of fighting breast cancer in the last two decades, the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the disease. Komen was founded in 1982 by Nancy Brinker in honor of her sister Susan Goodman Komen who died of the disease in 1980. Ms Brinker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. Only 12% of the money Komen raises goes for administration and the rest to cancer screening, treatment, research, and education.
The San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action is headed Barbara Brenner, a poster on the De-fund the Komen Foundation’ Facebook page and the dominant talking head in PINK RIBBONS, INC. Her angry rebuttal of all the positive energy generated by the Komen folks is sad.
First Run Features website is HERE