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pink +‎ -wash +‎ -ing. The LGBT-related sense derives from the fact that the colour pink is often associated with homosexuality and LGBT culture. The breast cancer-related sense refers to the pink ribbon, an international symbol of breast cancer awareness.


pinkwashing (uncountable)

  1. (LGBT) The practice of a state or company presenting itself as gay-friendly and progressive to downplay its negative behavior.
    • 2012 March 6, Tim Murphy, “A Gay Community Center's Middle-East Problem”, in New York Magazine:
      Several protesters, many of whom said they were Jewish, invoked what they called pinkwashing, Israel's alleged touting of its progressive stance on gay rights as a way of deflecting global attention away from its treatment of Palestinians.
  2. The practice of a company using support of breast cancer-related charities to promote itself and its products or services.
    • 2011, Our Bodies, Ourselves[1], Touchstone, →ISBN:
      One such pinkwashing campaign was KFC's "Buckets for the Cure," an attempt by the fried chicken franchise to raise breast cancer awareness in partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
  3. The practice of making a toy pink to signal that the manufacturer is marketing it toward girls.
    • 2014 December 22, Elizabeth Sweet, “How Did Toys Get Stereotyped by Sex?”, in The New York Times:
      Today, the pink-washed versions of toys that had been marketed solely to boys for decades are touted as a shift toward gender-neutrality.





  1. present participle and gerund of pinkwash

Related terms[edit]