The symbolism of the pink ribbon is fairly simple: breast cancer awareness. However, the reasons that someone would get pink ribbon tattoos are as varied as the people who wear them. They are often worn by people who have, or are currently fighting with the disease; loved ones of those same people; or simply those who take a good deal of time supporting the effort to find a cure for it.
Most pink ribbon tattoos are simple. They show just the basic design of the ribbon, generally in the customary light pink hue (though they may occasionally be done in bright pink or even fuchsia). They can be seen on any part of the body, but are generally placed on the ankle or shoulder blade of the wearer. Sometimes people add names, dates, or quotes to this simple style to commemorate those who have had breast cancer, or mark milestones in their own battles.
Many people like to add extra pieces of symbolism to their pink ribbon tattoos. You may see a bouquet of snowdrop flowers and baby’s breath (symbols of hope, and hope for a new life respectively); fennel flowers and oak leaves (both symbols of strength); or peony and Queen Anne’s Lace (which are symbols of healing). Hearts may also be seen quite frequently in pink ribbon tattoos. The ribbon may be etched into the heart, wrapped around it, or re-shaped into the image of a heart in itself. These also tend to include names and dates. For a person that has suffered and survived the disease, they may prefer to include the ribbon as small part of an overall theme; a story that tells not only what they have been through, but who they are.
Some pink ribbon tattoos are meant as memorials to loved ones who have suffered from breast cancer; they may be used as either a remembrance of someone who has been lost to the disease, or a celebration of the life of someone who has survived it. Although names and dates alone are often used, portraits are far more common for this style. The picture may be framed by the pink ribbon, or the ribbon may simply be tacked to the bottom of the portrait. There are generally other items used in this design; usually symbols or items that had significance in the life of the person being remembered.
To many, pink ribbon tattoos are seen as a sad symbol; to others, a symbol of hope. But despite their general simplicity, to those who wear them, they have an endless amount of depth and meaning.