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Why do we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness with a Pink Ribbon?
The pink ribbon is an international symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness. The color pink, in general, identifies the wearer or promoter as someone offering moral support for women with breast cancer.
Pink is a color of femininity in modern Western countries. It is considered an evocation of traditional feminine gender roles, caring for other people, being beautiful, sound, and cooperative.
The color pink represents hope for the future, fear of breast cancer, and the overall charitable goodness of people that support bringing awareness to breast cancer. It is also used to encourage solidarity with women that have breast cancer.
While the color pink explicitly represents breast cancer awareness, it is also a symbol/proxy of goodwill towards women. When someone wears, buys, and displays a pink ribbon, they show care for women.
According to reported history, things began with Charlotte Hayley. Mrs. Hayley, a survivor of breast cancer, introduced the concept of bringing awareness to breast cancer using a peach-colored ribbon. She attached them to cards that said, “The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is 1.8 billion US dollars, and only 5% goes to cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”
She handed out thousand of cards at local businesses and wrote letters to prominent individuals, primarily women.
One of those ribbons got the attention of the editor-in-chief of Self Magazine, Alexandra Penney. Mrs. Penney was working on the magazine’s issue on Breast Cancer Awareness in 1992. She attempted to adapt/incorporate Mrs. Hayley’s idea into the case, but Mrs. Hayley felt the magazine’s desires were too commercial.
As an alternative, for legal reasons, Self Magazine incorporated the original idea using the color pink instead of peach, and the rest is history.