Fashion And Beauty Brands Worldwide Are Raising Breast Cancer Awareness Through Meaningful Campaigns. What’s Stopping Indian Brands?
Every year, the month of October is dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer and fighting against this horrible disease. In India, it is the most common cancer among women that impacts one in every 28 women in the country. Plus, it often goes undetected and undiagnosed as women are shy to self-examine, let alone visit the doctor for regular check-up. This fact alone is enough to frighten you for your life, if you are a woman reading this.
However, if detected at an early age, women have a great chance of beating the cancer and surviving with nothing else but powerful battle scars on your body. Hence, the breast cancer awareness month! By observing October as the breast cancer awareness month, more women are educated and made aware of the tumour and are encouraged to get examined at a crucial stage to ward off the risk.
Media and brands here are significant players to raise awareness as they reach out to a larger public and can make an impact with their campaigns. And, thankfully, a lot of fashion and beauty brands have been backing the cause with their offerings, profits from which go to the charities supporting. Few of them are Stella McCartney and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty and who have recently launched campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer by casting survivors in their ads. Others are Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren and Mango which launched pink merch in honour of the issue and proceeds from these will be donated to the cause. Of course, some of this can seem like mere token-ism, entire lines launched only to make the bottom line move but the impact might be negligible.
Closer home, sadly there is a deafening silence for such an important cause, especially this year. There have been brand campaigns by a fashion and beauty retailers in the past but this year, no powerful and empowering campaigns from the brands come to mind. Is it because of the pandemic? Or is it because the issue is considered a taboo? Or did Indian women suddenly grow immune to the breast cancer this year? What exactly is stopping Indian brands from using their platforms to bring awareness to the disease?
Also Read: New Programme By Jaipur Health Department Will Help In The Early Detection Of Breast Cancer!
The lack of breast cancer awareness in India is seriously worrying. We have a high mortality rate and the sole reason is that women aren’t aware enough to detect it in an early stage. That, and the cavalier attitude of Indian men and women towards healthcare. If that wasn’t enough, the depressing medical facilities, especially in the rural areas of the country makes it very crucial to propagate the message and raise awareness about breast cancer to Indian women.
Beauty brand Avon India has been one of the frontrunners to raising awareness through their products and campaigns. Last year, they partnered with fashion designer Anupama Dayal for an exclusive pink-themed show at the Indian Runway Week. Their campaign ‘Take a BreastBreak’ encouraged women to pause and detect the early signs of breast cancer and promoted open dialogue about the disease that’s often hushed, because it happens to women *rolls eyes*
Another brand that launched an incredible campaign about breast cancer awareness last year is Lux, a soap brand under Unilever where they prompted women to self-examine through a brilliant concept ‘The Soap With A Lump’. They moulded the shape of their soap and added a lump as a daily reminder for women to check for any lumps or deformities in their breasts when they shower. They collaborated with the Indian Cancer Society and gave out the soap at their screening campaign. The soap also came with a leaflet with all the necessary info on the cancer and a helpline to guide women on how to self-detect and seek medical help.
For most brands, the breast cancer provides an opportunity to exploit the issue and engage in pink-washing. However, simply launching a limited collection of pink-themed merch and donating a meagre amount from the sale to the cause isn’t going to help anyone but the brand. These campaigns should be used to help improve survival rate and ensure well-being of women by driving home the important message of early breast screening and treatment. Plus, they also contribute in research about the disease and help the families of the cancer survivors.
While the international brands have already joined the bandwagon and highlighting the critical health condition through their products, Indian brands seem to lay low when it comes to publicising an important cause like this. There’s still a week to go for the breast cancer awareness month to end (and the whole lifetime to spread awareness) so let’s hope Indian fashion and beauty brands stop ignoring important causes like these and actually use their platforms to raise awareness for the well-being of their much-loved target customers—us women!