With so many now to choose from, do ribbons make people more disease aware--or just more confused? Rebecca Coombes discusses
Walk down any high street and you will see them pinned to assorted lapels in pink, red, tartan, and blue.
This proliferation of looped empathy ribbons may be heartening, but it is also confusing. Not only are there too many colours to remember what cause they are promoting but, in some cases, one colour has been hijacked by several charities.
In America, for example, if you meet someone wearing a purple ribbon you may assume it is in sympathy for people with pancreatic cancer. But these ribbons are also worn by breastfeeding campaigners, those against domestic violence, or to raise awareness of the toll of urban violence. Green is worn to publicise organ and tissue donation, but also childhood depression, ovarian cancer, and leukaemia. They are also worn by environmental activists.
In the United States ribbon wearing is so out of control--you can buy chocolate ribbons in coloured foils--that one