Madeline Brambilla came to Northeastern University as an undergraduate sociology major in 2008. In 2011, she was accepted as the first PlusOne Program student in the Sociology Department and began the combined and accelerated BA/MA program. She received her bachelor’s degree May 2012 and is anticipating a master’s degree in May 2013. Areas of concentration include environmental health, environmental justice, and social movements.
Madeline joined the Northeastern Environmental Research Collaborative as a Research Associate in 2012. Her current research project uses frame analysis to investigate the breast cancer movement and pinkwashing. Similar to greenwashing, pinkwashing is aspects or actions of corporate-non-profit cause-related marketing schemes which are presented as beneficial to the breast cancer movement but are actually detrimental and may lead to increased breast cancer incidence or risk. One example is the sale of pink ribbon products which contain known or suspected carcinogens. Not only do these practices work against the goals of breast cancer non-profits but they disproportionately benefit the involved corporations. The project will identify the immorality and hypocrisy of these breast cancer cause-related marketing schemes by investigating corporate profit margins before and after adopting the pink ribbon and comparing these rates to the donations made to non-profits. Findings will contribute empirical evidence to literature on the consequences of cause-related marketing and connect this with research on contested illnesses and health social movements. This research will also have implications for discussions about corporate steering of research away from environmental causation and prevention of breast cancer.