Ribbons! Those little looped, colorful, pinned-to-your-lapel statements of support. What started with your standard red for AIDS awareness, pink for breast cancer, has blossomed into a full rainbow. Did you know there's a burgundy ribbon? How about periwinkle? Lace?! Do you know what these stand for?
In the book Ribbon Culture, author Sarah Moore argues that the overuse of "awareness ribbons" has transformed charity into a commercial enterprise. She writes:
Both a kitsch fashion accessory, as well as an emblem that expresses empathy; it is a symbol that represents awareness, yet requires no knowledge of a cause; it appears to signal concern for others, but in fact priorities self-expression.
If you're aching to buy the book, get a quick taste of it with this book review.
Oh, and in case you didn't know, burgundy ribbons are for brain aneurysms, periwinkle for eating disorders, and lace for osteoporosis.
What do you think about the "ribbon culture?" Are ribbons and wristbands just easy ways for us to feel better about our lifestyles, or are they expressions of authentic solidarity, and a pledge to take positive action?