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Every day, Etsy sends out their newsletter, which is full of curated, themed finds from their sellers. This one was titled Tickled Pink and featured pink products in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, breast cancer activists quickly noticed that out of the 24 featured products, only eight were from sellers who claimed any ties to breast cancer-related causes or organizations. Of that group, not all of the connections could be verified.
A blogger named Acacia, who is a breast cancer survivor, wrote on her blog that Etsy was guilty of "pinkwashing." She went through the items, listing which ones had any connection to breast-cancer groups or made any claims about donating a percentage of profits.
After all these objects, the remainder of email just shows pink shit that you can buy that has no connection to BCAM. Pink clothing, different shades of pink, pink decorator objects and the like. What. The. Fuck? Etsy's lack of ethics and oversight is bad enough. 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 [Nicole Smith, the Etsy staffer who put the email together] actually promote these people as part of a fun, happy "Tickeled [sic] Pink" marketing email is beyond infuriating.
Mary Andrews, who is the Lead Merchandising Specialist at Etsy, responded:
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.
If Etsy's task force isn't too busy chasing down fake crafters, maybe they can do some due diligence for pink-ribbon-bearing products on their site?
· Etsy Accused of Exploiting Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Marketing Email [Daily Dot]
· Warning to Fake Crafters: Etsy's Got a New Task Force, and They're Not Afraid To Use It [Racked]
· "The Mall" is an Etsy Concept Shop Selling Items Inspired by Cult Teen Films of the '90s [Racked Chicago]