Why We Wear Pink

breast cancer

If you’re out and about this month, chances are you might see some seas of pink. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But why pink, do you think?

It all started with ribbons. The idea of wearing ribbons or tying ribbons to trees and posts to support a cause has deep roots in the United States. Back in the 1800’s women started wearing and using yellow ribbons to remember their loved ones in the military. Since then ribbons have been worn in a myriad of colors to support different efforts to raise awareness of a variety of diseases and disorders.

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The color pink became associated with breast cancer after the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure distributed pink ribbons to breast cancer survivors and participants in its New York City race in 1991. According to the Maurer Foundation the idea caught on. In 1992, the cosmetics company Estée Lauder and Self Magazine teamed up to distribute 1.5 million pink ribbons at Estée Lauder counters to raise breast cancer awareness.

It’s true that the ribbons could have been any color in the rainbow. In fact, the same time Susan G. Komen, the Estée Lauder Company and Self launched their efforts a woman named Charlotte Haley was already spearheading a peach ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness. Haley was asked to join the pink effort but decided not to participate in the pink push, wanting to avoid commercialization.


So, pink it was and pink it is. From that point on, pink became ubiquitous at breast cancer awareness events and on associated materials both nationally and internationally. Many people associate the color with health and liveliness. In addition, the color pink is often considered a feminine color in our culture. The majority of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer are female. Less than 1-percent of all breast cancer develops in males according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Pull out your pink and put it on. Whether you wear a pink ribbon, hat, shirt or shoes that splash of color boldly states your support for all those affected by breast cancer and draws attention to all that remains to be done in order to find a cure for the disease.


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