The bra color that went around the world & me
Posted January 11, 2010on:
One day last week I had begun to notice the status of many women – some I knew and some I didn’t – was simply a color.
Clearly something was going on and I hadn’t been let in on it. And let me assure you if something is going on, I want to know it.
It’s the old reporter in me. Back in my newspaper days, my antennas were always up and I was not subtle about it. “Hessel,” the city editor would say, “this doesn’t concern you. Put your antennas down.”
I always felt being a newspaper reporter gave you a license to be nosy and I certainly was well licensed – at least in my mind. I was curious – nosey – and enjoyed overhearing conversations. I also had roving eyes.
So this thing was happening on Facebook and I was not a part of it. I called my buddy, Julie, who certainly would know.
“It’s for breast cancer awareness. Didn’t Paige send it to you? All you’re supposed to do is put your bra color as your status. I’ll send it to you.”
Hrrumph. I was left out. Just because I was sans a couple body parts that made the status applicable.
This is what I wrote as my status after I talked with Julie:
“I am wounded that nobody asked for my color and those of you who have put your color on your status know just what I’m discussing. The poster child for this question is feeling discriminated against. :-)”
I was not hurt – I was just missing out on something.
Here’s a response to my status from Alison, who is the niece of my cousin, which may make us cousins once removed or something. If you can figure it out let me know.
Alison: “Sooo… what’s your color? :)”
Me: “Oh, sure, now you ask … :-)”
Alison: “Wellll… 😉 Somehow I’d guess yours is plaid…”
Me: Yes, the plaid would match the plaid flannel shirt that I am wearing in this photo …
Alison: I was thinking just that! Flannel bra too? It is winter in Wisconsin, after all…
Well, I never announced my color but I will later in this post.
I became amazed by what this message did to cause this mass status report that truly went worldwide. Here’s how it started:
“Some fun is going on,” reads the message that Facebook users began forwarding to one another late last week. “Just write the color of your bra in your status. Just the color, nothing else. It will be neat to see if this will spread the wings of breast cancer awareness. It will be fun to see how long it takes before people wonder why all the girls have a color in their status.”
The real question, said the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, which had nothing to do with Facebook phenomenon, was whether women will act on this grass roots effort and get mammograms and regular exams.
I understand some women with cancer and/or daughters of women for with breast cancer were offended by this as it didn’t really raise money for anything; instead it was more like a game. For example, if everyone who posted agreed to donate a dollar to some breast cancer cause it would have more value. One daughter of a survivor wrote, “Exactly how is putting my bra color as my facebook status going to help raise breast cancer awareness? How about donating time or money to the cause or go into your local oncology wing at the hospital – that will raise your awareness.”
This young woman had several responses to her post:
- “I am a grandaughter, daughter-in-law, and friend of breast cancer survivors. I can’t say I find anything insulting in posting the colors of our undergarments. We all know we wear them. And the bra throughout history has been a symbol of feminity and used for expression of female empowerment (i.e. burning of the bra, some people have hung them for display, etc.) And while we may never be able to find a cure in our lifetime — like so many kinds of cancer — we do know we can save lives by catching it early. That’s a good goal in my book! That’s how all my relatives/friends became survivors in the first place. So if we can save one, two, three lives this week we’ve done good!
- It’s true, but I was just amused and amazed at all of us who responded in some way. Facebook is a very powerful medium. I completely agree with you (daughter of the survivor) on this one, but I admit I put my color because the email I got was to do it as a fun joke to keep the guys guessing what all the colors were for. But once I found out it was about breast cancer I thought it was pretty dumb. I mean, it does nothing to support the fight against breast cancer and pretty much makes a joke of the issue. However, it did get you talking and reminding people to do their self exams, so maybe overall it’s working???
- “Well said!
- “I think it’s meant to be fun — and it’s interesting to see all the different colors! Some are quite unexpected.”
And from that daughter of a survivor:
“I think I just find posting bra colors to promote breast cancer awareness is quite insulting to breast cancer survivors as well as their daughters (me). You are right though Kirsta, if it reminds women to do their self checks, and thus help women to detect cancer early, then it is worth it. The idea of romanticising breast cancer awareness through women posting their bra color, however, just disgusts me. Its just a fad and isn’t doing anything to help find a cure.”
I can’t argue with the daughter, and certainly I respect her opinion. But my spirit these days is gameful, Scrabble and otherwise. I am amazed at all of us who responded in some way. Facebook is a very powerful medium.
This blog gives me the opportunity to share one more joke from my life post cancer diagnosis.
I wear what I call a white “husband-beater shirt.” Think of the drunken Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” yelling “Stella!” The term for the tank top t-shirt he wore has become known as the “wife-beater shirt.”
Never one to miss a turn of phrase, my sleeveless t-shirt became the husband beater. So that’s what I wear and I’m quite comfy.
(No husbands were hurt in the preparation of this blog post or in wearing that shirt.)
Oh, Maggie’s response to what I told her was in my blog today (she hasn’t read it; she’s on her way to jury duty in Kansas), was “Did you ever fill your prescription for boobs, Mom?”
It is truly the quote of the day.
The bra color question is similar to a post that went around Facebook urging health care reform. It went like wildflower.
Facebook is an amazing communication tool. Another status message is going around this morning :
Put ♥ this ♥ on ♥ your ♥ status ♥ if ♥ you ♥ know ♥ someone ♥ who ♥ has ♥ or ♥ had ♥ cancer! ♥ All I wish for in 2010 is a CURE! ♥
Since someone very close to me has cancer and is eager for a cure in 2010, it’s my status today.
Heck, we all know lots of people who have or better yet had cancer.For them, for all of you and for me, let’s go for a cure in 2010. And let’s support each other in whatever challenges we have in life.
Did I mention my t-shirt was white?