Bingeworthy

What is Pink Washing?

It isn't a new art trend

About two weeks ago, Metiza was accused by a reader of writing a story for the purpose of pink washing. Up until this point, I had no idea what that term even meant. After a deep dive in the black hole that is the internet, I found that this term is a lot more detailed than I thought.

The post in question was detailing the double standards apparent in tennis after Serena Williams accused the umpire of sexism for calling penalties on her. It goes on to point out that more frequently women are penalized for actions their male counterparts can commit with no repercussions.

Now how does this hold up to definitions of pink washing?

There’s two ways a company or organization can pink wash. Since October is breast cancer awareness month, many use this term as a way to call out companies supporting breast cancer awareness simply to profit off the sales of their product. It’s a marketing strategy, albeit a poor one.

The second way is for a company or organization to support LGBTQ+ groups to cover up their own poor behavior. This is another marketing strategy to help sell their products under a veil of untruths. Many critics accuse the Israeli government of pink washing their democracy while they cover up other poor behavior.

The word itself is fashioned after white washing, a term that has plagued the entertainment industry for decades. Based on reactions on Twitter regarding pink washing and basic internet definitions, it doesn’t fit the article published. The article strived to point out the mistreatment of some female sports players in broaden the discussion of equality.

Pink washing isn’t okay. Our world needs progressive beliefs and actions. Not greedy companies and organizations using the ruse of equality in order to make a few extra dollars.

Everyone is welcome to their own opinions and that’s something we celebrate on this site. I’m not here to say your opinion is wrong or doesn’t matter compared to those that can be found in every corner of the internet. Based on other research, that article does not represent the definitions and examples of pink washing that inundate the internet.

Providing clear examples of misdeeds like this one is so important. If we did pink wash, how would we know since this term is not widely used outside niche circles? We can only hope to change something like this if people are aware of the harmful actions being committed.

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Also published on Medium.

Davyn is a journalism student at Arizona State University. During her free...