Rachel Gluck

Something To Talk About

More About: Feminism

What Color Is Your Ribbon?

One of our great singer-songwriters is Bonnie Raitt whose song “Something to Talk About” is inspiring to freedom-from-gossip seeking women everywhere. I hope that you will find something worthwhile in this column every week that you can gleefully share with your friends, your colleagues, and even – heck, if it’s appropriate – your kids that doesn’t remind you of every gossip “show” on television and every gossip “column” in the New York Post.

This week, we’ll tackle the subject: WHAT COLOR IS YOUR RIBBON? It’s at least as muddled and gray as the streak of distinguishing age in Bonnie Raitt’s hair that makes her as recognizable as her song. If it sometimes seems like it’s ridiculous that ribbons abound for every cause in the nation, not to mention that we now have more plastic bracelets made of petroleum than Lance Armstrong could ever wear in a race, that’s because it is. There are ribbons for AIDS/HIV awareness, breast cancer, supporting our troops, and even our religions (yes, I have seen the red bracelets for Christians saying that Jesus is their savior). The most irksome thing about all this is that the most important causes get overlooked.

Take, for example, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. That’s this month. What? There’s something besides breasts this month? Yes, indeed, my friends. October is not all about problems with the collective mammarians among us all, including yours truly (Problems that we know interest most men’s imaginations almost as much as we are interested for the sake of our health.). We have a problem with domestic violence that will affect at least one-third of all women in this country, but I’ll bet you know less about it than you do about your breasts. Breast cancer will only affect one in seven of us, if that. Isn’t this outrageous? Just like the heart health of America’s women has been overlooked for years by the cancer bean counters, when many more of us will outlive our men and die of heart health than we will of any kind of cancer, not to mention that most of the things that cause problems with our heart often lead to the development of cancer; so, too, has our mental and physical safety been shoved off to the side of most serious “month of the year” discussions.

Do you know what a purple ribbon stands for? I could care less. It does attract a certain amount of curiosity, and even jokes at the expense of my abilities to project my voice and use proper diction in my speech, but all it really does is add to the distractions from the trouble of eradicating domestic violence, and domestic violence is a problem for all of us. It knows no race, creed, gender, class, quality of health and life, or type of household. If I had my druthers, it would be “ribboned” with importance every day of the year, not just one month out of a year or every time the Senate decides to reapportion the bill that will supposedly fund help for every needy woman – and child – in the U.S. of A.

If you, or a friend or family member, think you might have a problem with domestic violence of any kind – verbal, physical, or sexual – be sure to contact a hotline, like 1.800.656.HOPE, for more information and help. Also, you can visit www.fswf.org for more information in the Phoenix area.

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