Fight heart disease with "a fabulous red handbag"?

The American Heart Association tells consumers to "go red" to combat the No. 1 killer of women.

By Catherine Price
Published January 31, 2007 12:51AM (EST)

The American Heart Association is heavily promoting its campaign against heart disease -- the nation's No. 1 killer of men and women -- called Go Red for Women.

In a fashion decision inspired by breast cancer's pink, the AHA is encouraging people to wear red (and buy red accessories) on Feb. 2 to raise money and awareness in the fight against heart disease. "Go Red for Women Day has its own dress code," says the Web site. "Wear your favorite red clothes or accessory -- a red blouse, a red dress pin, a fabulous red handbag -- put on red lipstick, or sport a red tie and red socks. Go red in your own fashion to show your support for women and the fight against heart disease."

I'm all for fighting disease, but the cynic in me questions whether buying Macy's signature "Kiss and Tell" book, which features the "kiss confessions and lip prints of 50 of today's hottest celebrities," is really going to help. (Not because of its subject matter, per se, but because of its $14.95 retail price and the fact that only 10 percent of the proceeds actually go toward the Go Red for Women campaign.)

I also wonder if anyone pointed out to the site's designer that if you turn "Go Red for Women" into a Web address, you end up with something that looks like it says "Gored for Women."

But, whatever. Heart disease is worth paying attention to for both genders. I just wouldn't suggest supporting the fight by buying additional red accessories, the proceeds of which don't all go toward the cause you're trying to support -- that seems like a cheap ploy to turn people's desire to help into a way to make some money off of charm bracelets. There's no reason not to wear red on Feb. 2, though -- just pull out your favorite red sweater and put your donation directly toward the AHA.

The American Heart Association is heavily promoting their campaign against heart disease -- the nation's number one killer of men and women -- called Go Red For Women.

In a fashion decision inspired by breast cancer's pink, the AHA is encouraging people to wear red (and buy red accessories) on February 2 to raise money and awareness in the fight against heart disease. "Go Red for Women Day has its own dress code," says the Web site. "Wear your favorite red clothes or accessory -- a red blouse, a red dress pin, a fabulous red handbag -- put on red lipstick, or sport a red tie and red socks. Go red in your own fashion to show your support for women and the fight against heart disease."

I'm all for fighting disease, but the cynic in me questions whether buying Macy's signature "Kiss and Tell" book, which features the "kiss confessions and lip prints of 50 of today's hottest celebrities," is really going to help. (Not because of its subject matter, per se, but because of its $14.95 retail price and the fact that only 10 percent of the proceeds actually go toward the Go Red for Women campaign.)

I also wonder if anyone pointed out to the site's designer that if you turn "Go Red for Women" into a web address, you end up with something that looks like it says "Gored For Women."

But, whatever. Heart disease is worth paying attention to for both genders. I just wouldn't suggest supporting the fight by buying additional red accessories, the proceeds of which don't all go toward the cause you're trying to support -- that seems like a cheap ploy to turn people's desire to help into a way to make some money off of charm bracelets. There's no reason not to wear red on February 2, though -- just pull out your favorite red sweater and put your donation directly toward the AHA.


Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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