PEEK

Is Pink the New Color of Death for Women?

Lucinda Marshall: R.J. Reynolds has introduced a new cigarette targeted specifically towards women called "Barbie Camels".
This post, written by Lucinda Marshall, originally appeared on Feminist Peace Network

R.J. Reynolds has introduced a new cigarette targeted specifically towards women. You can tell that Camel No. 9 is a girl thing because it has lots of shocking pink on the box. According to the New York Times,
"For decades, Camel has been a male-focused cigarette; only about 30 percent of Camel buyers are female. By comparison, for competitive brands like Marlboro and Newport, women comprise 40 percent to 50 percent of customers. Almost half of adult smokers are women, so that limited Camel's potential.
Wall Street analysts praise the introduction of Camel No. 9, in regular and menthol flavors, as a further step by the R. J. Reynolds, a unit of Reynolds American, toward a new marketing strategy. The goal is to refocus on the biggest, most popular -- and most profitable -- brands, which include Kool as well as Camel."
Anyone want to make bets that these greedy corporations also make big contribution to finding "The Cure" for breast cancer while they promote lung cancer which actually kills more women than breast cancer does?

In a blisteringly excellent Op Ed in the Washington Post, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) takes both R.J. Reynolds and also the numerous women's magazines that are running ads for these "Barbie Camels" to task. She writes,
"Camel No. 9 cigarettes are the pink version of Joe Camel, or, as one Oregon newspaper put it, "Barbie Camel." And R.J. Reynolds's marketing strategy is abetted with giveaways to fashion-conscious young women that include berry lip balm and hot pink cellphone jewelry, mini-purses and wristbands. The tagline for Camel No. 9 is "light and luscious"; how better to sell a cancer-causing cigarette than to make it sound like a tasty treat? There's even a Camel No. 9 "stiletto" line, meant to evoke images of the sexy shoes.
Someone should remind R.J. Reynolds that there's nothing sexy about emphysema or dying prematurely from cancer. No amount of pretty pink packaging can obscure the fact that lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer among American women -- a truth that underscores tobacco companies' desperate search for new smokers."
Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network. Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Counterpunch, AlterNet, and Information Clearinghouse. She also blogs at WIMN Online and writes a monthly column for the Louisville Eccentric Observer.