Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why I Refused to Wear a Purple Ribbon This International Women's Day

International Women's Day was yesterday, Wednesday, March 9. On Tuesday, I was handed a little purple ribbon with a note to join in "wearing the ribbon in support of International Women's Day" the next day. I took the ribbon, said "thank you" and as I continued walking, I started to ponder awareness ribbons in general. What do they mean? When do we wear them? What types of causes are they typically associated with? After some light Googling, my questions were answered.

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According to the Smithsonian, awareness ribbons can date back to the Medieval Ages, when a knight would receive a ribbon, or a piece of fabric, after jousting. In the United States, the tradition of the ribbon began in the 1970's when yellow ribbons were tied around trees to welcome home veterans. The folded lapel ribbon, popular today, dates back to 1991, when the red ribbon became the icon for AID Awareness. 1992 became dubbed "the year of the ribbon" as organizations scooped up colors and ribbons to tie to their cause.

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Today there are hundreds of colors and patterns of awareness ribbons. When I scrolled the list of colors, hues, and patterns and their associated causes, I found a general theme. These ribbons were to raise awareness (obviously) for victims of disease, disorders, and conditions. There are 33 causes associated with the purple ribbon (I'll gladly slap on my ribbon for any of those causes) but womanhood is not one of them. In fact, womanhood, is not associated with any color ribbon. Womanhood is not something to raise awareness about. Being a woman is not a condition, an incurable disease or something to fight. I am not a victim of being a woman; I am proud to be a woman, and for that reason, I did not wear my purple ribbon. 

#BeBoldForChange IWD 2017