The origins of the Pink Ribbon as a symbol of breast cancer, as well as the narrative behind the color. In October 1986, the inaugural Breast Cancer Awareness Month was celebrated, and in 1991, the pink ribbon became a worldwide emblem.
Many of us are aware that the color pink is an internationally recognized symbol of breast cancer awareness. Every October, people all around the world wear the color to raise awareness for breast cancer. Pink ribbons, pink lapel buttons, or simply wearing the color are all options. But how did the color pink come to be associated with breast cancer awareness? The prevalent perception is that the color pink is associated with femininity, however, there is more to the pink ribbon.
The usage of ribbons for a cause originated in the eighteenth century, according to the United Breast Cancer Foundation. Women were frequently spotted wearing or tying yellow ribbons to trees to memorialize their loved ones in the military back then. Penny Laingen, the wife of a man taken captive during the Iranian hostage crisis, popularised the notion in America in 1979 when she strung yellow ribbons on trees outside her home to show quiet support for her husband and other prisoners. A decade later, during the 45th Annual Tony Awards in 1991, the activist art group Visual AIDS debuted the Red Ribbon. They used a bright red ribbon, looped it up, and fastened it on actor Jeremy Irons’ chest.
Charlotte Hayley, a breast cancer survivor, introduced a peach-colored breast cancer awareness ribbon. “The National Cancer Institute’s yearly budget is 1.8 billion US dollars, and only 5% of it goes to cancer prevention,” according to a note tied to the ribbon “wearing this ribbon will help us wake up our politicians and America.” Alexandra Penney, the editor in chief of Self magazine, approached Hayley about adapting her concept by collaborating with her, but Hayley rejected, claiming that Self magazine was too commercial.
In October 1986, the inaugural Breast Cancer Awareness Month was observed, and the pink ribbon became an international emblem in 1991. Soon, every major organization was seen promoting the ribbon, and the New York Times named 1992 the “Year of the Ribbon.”
The groundwork had been laid for the evolution of the breast cancer awareness ribbon. Since its founding in 1982, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has utilized the color pink. The initial Komen Race for the Cure logo, which featured an abstract female runner outlined with a pink ribbon, was used from the mid-1980s until the early 1990s.
The first breast cancer survivor program was started in 1990 during the Komen National Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C., with survivors wearing black and white buttons. Later that year, the survivor program was launched, and pink was chosen as Komen’s official color to raise awareness and promote its services. Pink visors were introduced to honor survivors.
Pink ribbons were awarded to all breast cancer survivors and Komen New York City Race for the Cure competitors in 1991. Then, in 1992, Alexandra Penney, editor-in-chief of Self magazine, wanted to go above and beyond for the magazine’s second annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month edition. She accomplished this by designing a ribbon and enlisting the help of cosmetics behemoths to distribute it in New York City stores. As a result, the pink ribbon was born!
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was renamed Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 2007, twenty-five years after its establishment. A new brand image was created in conjunction with the name change. A pink “running ribbon” developed particularly for Komen for the Cure was featured in the new logo. This ribbon represents Komen Founder Nancy G. Brinker’s commitment to her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, to do everything she could to eradicate breast cancer. Today, any generic pink ribbon can be used to raise awareness about breast cancer, although the Komen “running ribbon” is only utilized by Susan G. Komen