Monday, April 07, 2008

Taking a Ribbon

It seems to me a new book on the "ribbon-wearing" culture, as reviewed here, may be incomplete. Despite the reviewer's announcement that it is "brilliant." From the reviewer's description of the thesis:

Ribbon-wearing, by contrast, has its roots in the counter-culture of the Sixties and Seventies, where national pride was challenged by a growing disaffection with establishment values and traditional institutions, and self-expression superseded collective action in the quest for achievement and meaning in life. The red and pink ribbons, which ‘[grew] out of the gay liberation movement and the feminist movement respectively’, suggest ‘a faintly oppositional stance towards mainstream society’, argues Moore.

The book was written by Sarah Moore, a research assistant at the University of Kent. And, unless the review overlooks something important, she seems to have considered her topic mostly from a British perspective. But the ribbon as a symbol of remembrance and awareness seems to have roots in American culture that are at least as deep, and perhaps more pertinent to the modern phenomenon, than the British equivalent.

Her British perspective also might have allowed her to overlook the non-counter-cultural use of ribbons in the U.S., especially in the grassroots "support the troops" movement.

But, again, I'm just working off one review. You'd think the reviewer might note this, however.