The older I get, the easier I find it to blend in with my surroundings, to keep my head down and get the job done without dissent. Not that I was ever too antagonistic, but teenagers and early 20 somethings always have at least a hint of that urge to protest in them. It doesn’t fade in everyone, thank goodness, but for most of us, the passion begins to temper and turns into something less intense. But in researching the history of lapel pins, I found that my industry is fundamentally built on dissent, on unrest, and on strong opinions.
Consider the inception of lapel pins: the Civil War. Two deeply seated world views clashing with swords and guns on the battle field, so strongly did they believe in their cause. And in that time, lapel pins were introduced to distinguish one unit from another, especially as time went on and groups became less and less organized in the face of a chaotic war.
For a long time after that lapel pins settled into the past, worn in memory of the great war, but when the 1960’s rolled around, they came back into vogue, as they were the perfect way to get a point across, be that the war protesters or the pro war advocates of the Vietnam War. And then from the war it was adopted by feminists, civil rights advocates, gay rights proponents: anyone who had something to say, anyone facing adversity, looked to lapel pins to help them push their cause.
In the 21st century you see lapel pins used for the disputes on Wall Street, over pro-choice and pro-life arguments, health care reform, and even for awareness causes, where the enemy isn’t public opinion, but a lack of funding. Lapel pins are one of the ultimate battle weapons when it comes to causes. They’re a lot more than a simple piece of jewelry. I have to admit, it has my rebel side coming back out again a little bit.
What’s your fight?