Why Pink? How the colour pink became synonymous with breast cancer awareness
It was first lady Mamie Eisenhower’s claim to fame – she wore a pink gown with 2,000 pink rhinestones to Ike’s inauguration, and he sent her pink flowers every morning. She brought so many pieces of pink furnishings into the White House, that reporters began calling it the “Pink Palace”. And with the women leaving the factories as the men returned home from WWII, pink became a symbol of all things feminine.
Fast forward to today, when most people can see a pink ribbon and immediately identify what it represents – a cause connected to breast cancer. In the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this symbol is seen everywhere, from beauty products, to food items, to NFL fields.
The history of using a ribbon as a symbol of remembrance dates back to women wearing yellow ribbons to remember loved ones serving in the military back in the 19 th century. We still see these yellow ribbons tied around trees as tributes to loved ones missing or lost. In the 1990s, red ribbons began to surface in support of promoting AIDS awareness, and other charitable organizations began following the trend, adopting the colours they felt best represented their cause. With breast cancer being the most common cancer among North American women, except for skin cancers, it seems that Mamie’s pink became the obvious choice.
In 1992, Alexandra Penney (then the editor-in-chief of Self magazine) and Evelyn Lauder (breast cancer survivor and Senior Corporate VP of Estée Lauder) collaborated to create the pink ribbon. 1.5 million ribbons were distributed from the Estée Lauder makeup counters, along with breast self-exam cards and petition requests aimed at the White House asking for increased funding for breast cancer research.
A subject of debate in recent years, one thing is for certain. The global awareness that has been raised through the pink ribbon symbol has been tremendous, serving as a catalyst to educate women on the importance of regular breast self-examinations, thus increasing the early detection of breast cancer, and increasing funding directed towards ultimately finding a cure.
Manifested in the pink ribbon, the colour pink has become a symbol of health, vitality, and empowerment of women, and it may have all started because Mamie Eisenhower wanted pink cotton balls in her bathroom.
Our featured products this month honour friends, family, and followers who have been affected by breast cancer. Please enjoy special savings on our three pink soaps: Cherry Blossom, Rose, and Grapefruit.
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