pink +‎ wash, by analogy with whitewash.


pinkwash (third-person singular simple present pinkwashes, present participle pinkwashing, simple past and past participle pinkwashed)

  1. To cover in a coat of pink paint.
    • 1986, Susan Lardner, "Lotus Blossum", The New Yorker, 29 December 1986:
      [] I see, twenty yards away, workmen pinkwashing the newly laid, badly stained, cheap-looking brick cladding of a newly built apartment house called — well, something ridiculous: Nepal, let's say.
  2. To promote consumer goods and services using support of breast cancer-related charities.
    • 2008, Penelope Williams, Breast Cancer: Biography of an Illness, BPS Books (2008), →ISBN, page 162:
      They see such corporate involvement as exploitation, making profits on the backs of ill women. [] They claim these campaigns trivialize the disease, "pinkwashing" its real nature.
    • 2012 February 15, Karen McVeigh, “Susan G Komen's 'pinkwashing' problem a black mark on charity”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Gayle Sulik, sociologist and author of "Pink Ribbon Blues", said pinkwashing is only the beginning of how "breast cancer culture" undermines women's health.
  3. (LGBT) To tout the gay-friendliness of something in an attempt to downplay or soften aspects of it considered negative.
    • 2011 November 22, Sarah Schulman, “Israel and ‘Pinkwashing’”, in New York Times[2]:
      Pinkwashing not only manipulates the hard-won gains of Israel’s gay community, but it also ignores the existence of Palestinian gay-rights organizations.
    • 2012, "Seattle LGBT commission cancels meeting with Israeli gays over treatment of Palestinians", The Times of Israel, 21 March 2012 (article tagline):
      Critics say Israel is 'pinkwashing' its practices vis-a-vis the Palestinians by emphasizing its good record on gay rights.


See alsoEdit