- How a queer Instagram is helping fight the opioid epidemic in Appalachia Today 6:30 AM
- Philadelphia to fire 13 officers for racist, violent Facebook posts Saturday 6:12 PM
- Nick Offerman is so down to play every single role in ‘Cats’ Saturday 4:27 PM
- Woman documents how airport staff broke her wheelchair Saturday 3:04 PM
- Funeral home allegedly posted photos of woman’s dead body on social media Saturday 1:56 PM
- Alinity Divine is being investigated after throwing her cat during stream (updated) Saturday 12:04 PM
- ‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee’ returns with Seinfeld making a racist joke about China Saturday 10:26 AM
- YouTubers Eugenia Cooney and Shane Dawson make a joint comeback Saturday 9:06 AM
- The crushing effects of Trump’s abortion ‘gag rule’ on healthcare Saturday 8:00 AM
- How to live stream Pacquiao vs. Thurman Saturday 6:20 AM
- Review: Hulu with Live TV ensures you always have something to watch Saturday 6:00 AM
- How to live stream UFC on ESPN 4: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Leon Edwards Saturday 5:49 AM
- 2020 Democrats refuse to answer our questions about ‘Cats’ Friday 4:14 PM
- Belle Delphine’s Instagram account removed after mass reporting campaign Friday 4:08 PM
- Mariah Carey refuses old-age FaceApp challenge Friday 3:19 PM
Etsy accused of exploiting Breast Cancer Awareness Month in marketing email
Was this Etsy email raising breast cancer awareness, or just “pinkwashing?”
Breast cancer activists have accused Etsy of using breast cancer as a marketing tool without doing enough to help the cause.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with it comes an annual marketing effort to turn everything pink.
Etsy is no different. This week, a newsletter titled “Tickled Pink,” encouraged subscribers to buy bright pink handmade merchandise in order to “show your love to the women in your life.”
However, one blogger discovered that out of 24 products featured, only eight actually claim to support breast cancer causes, and some tenuously at that. The majority of showcased items use the pink ribbon logo or reference Breast Cancer Awareness Month without mentioning a donation.
“Etsy’s lack of ethics and oversight is bad enough,” she wrote. “The fact that the majority of sellers are craven opportunists profiting off of our disease with cheap ‘handmade’ crap is bad enough. But the fact that fuckwits like little miss Nichole [sic] actually promote these people as part of a fun, happy ‘Tickeled Pink’ [sic] marketing email is beyond infuriating.”
The woman Acacia refers to is Nicole Smith, a member of the Etsy marketing team who authored the newsletter. After Acacia’s post, fellow blogger Jane Flanagan of Ill Seen, Ill Said wrote her own post about contacting Smith on Twitter and receiving an unsatisfactory response.
“Hi @seenandsaid. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. Always appreciate the feedback on how to improve and grow,” Smith tweeted to the blogger.
“I’m so angry at Etsy’s glibness and lack of sincere compassion, at their sellers’ disingenuousness (though, of course, I don’t blame the sellers who just happened to have pink products but make no “pink cause” connection who were included in the e-mail) and also at Etsy’s own lack of participation in making any kind of contribution of pink causes, while they merrily use cancer to market their site and sellers,” Flanagan wrote.
“Pinkwashing” has become so widespread that the Better Business Bureau is encouraging consumers to purchase pink products with caution. It’s an issue that can’t be fixed overnight, but several bloggers are now clamoring for Etsy to address its part of this problem.
Mary Andrews, Etsy’s Lead Merchandising Specialist, told the Daily Dot that the company is taking bloggers’ complaints seriously.
“We really appreciate the feedback and thoughtful discussion regarding the Etsy Finds email around Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our aim in the email was to acknowledge this national campaign of awareness. While we do not promote specific shop charities, nor did we make claims to do so in the email, we do support acts of generosity and compassion within the Etsy community. The email was meant for awareness, and created in a supportive spirit. We will take all of this into serious consideration as we map out improvements to our emails and how we promote awareness within our community in the future.”
Photo by sunsets_for_you/Flickr
Lauren Rae Orsini is a web culture reporter who specializes in anime and the business of fandom. Her work has been published by Forbes and Business Insider.