10 January 2010

What is the Color of Your Bra?

These past few days, I have witnessed weird female behavior in cyberspace, namely, in Facebook. Starting last Thursday, I saw some of my female friends putting colors as their status updates, such as white or electric blue and I so I thought, what was that about? In fact, one responded saffron and so I thought, she must be cooking.

Anyway, it turned out that more and more of my female friends have been doing it, to the point that I saw one along the lines of pink with violet dots and another being beige with lace. So I decided to look it up.

Apparently, the latest meme was that females should post the color of their bra, just that, in their status update. The males should not know about it, and apparently, the intention was to make people aware of breast cancer.

Whoa, really? How does that make people aware of breast cancer? At first, I thought, heh, that's a fun meme, it's cute, it makes people think. It did make me giggle, once I figured the whole thing out.

But then, weird things happen. Some of my guy friends started copying the trend, and so every now and then, you'll see a guy with a status such as blue and you'll think, Really? You wear them too? Not that I find that wrong, but sometimes it clashes with what you know with that person and it causes some sort of cognitive dissonance.

But perhaps the most disturbing thing is if you see your mother post her bra color in Facebook. There's a reason why no matter how normal sex is, all of us seem to be grossed out by the idea of our parents' having sex. I cannot explain that, but that seems to be the trend. And somehow, knowing your mother's bra color falls along those categories.

So yeah, that was the latest Facebook meme. Was it fun? Well, it depends on how you define fun. Did it accomplish what it needed to accomplish? I don't know. Judging from the articles you see online about the reactions of people, it didn't seem to make people more aware of breast cancer. In my opinion, all it made me aware of was that my female friends wear very interesting bra colors. It didn't provide any informative material about breast cancer and prevention, all it did was provide fodder for the sometimes promiscuous imagination.

(Curl, from my Hirschhorn Museum Series)


  1. A blog friend of mine, who is battling cancer right now, was talking about it yesterday. The conclusion: less stupid ideas like that and more real actions against cancer!

  2. I am a breast cancer survivor and I found the bra-status meme really... well, dumb. Until I thought about it from a different perspective. I have learned a lot about breast cancer since my diagnosis in July 2008. But one thing that I have noticed is that a lot of women really don't know much about breast cancer and other than being terrified of the thought, they simply try hard not to think about it. The meme didn't do much to teach about breast cancer statistics, etc. But it did stop women (if only for a second) in their tracks and force them to consider that all it really takes is having breasts. The lesson then, wasn't about survivors or even about men... but about connecting women together around the one thing that is known about breast cancer. It primarily strikes women with breasts. Women who wear bras.

    Good post. :)

  3. Nicole,

    Thank you for commenting and welcome. I do agree that the meme didn't do much about educating people about breast cancer, but I still disagree about the meme stopping women and letting them know that all it takes to be a possible breast cancer patient is to have breasts. Granted, I didn't receive the meme (I am not a female), so I cannot say what exactly the meme said, but I believe that combating breast cancer would take more than just a simple pass-it-along email.

  4. The message was really simplistic. Honestly, I thought that it was something that a 8th grader started. But I'm only basing my guess on what I've encountered when talking to women about breast cancer. I was diagnosed young, so I talk with a lot of young women (women under 45 being diagnosed with breast cancer is rare). All most young women know is that they should get a mammogram at 40 and that mammograms hurt. They do not fully understand why it is important to do breast exams starting when you're young. Which is to know your breasts, to be aware of what your normal is. For the most part, young women don't think that breast cancer can happen to them. And sadly, a lot of doctors don't think of breast cancer happening to young patients. So, if looking at your bra for something silly makes you think for a second that "oh yeah... that's what its about", I'm cool with that.

    But I do understand your perspective. Some survivors were really angry and/or hurt by the meme. They felt that it trivialized something serious. I will admit that it made me sad for a moment but I had to look for the good in the moment. And that twisted logic (lol) above is all that I could come up with.

  5. Nicole,

    Trivialization, that's exactly what I think was the bad part of it. I do like the fact that it was rather simple and a small effort to make sure that women become aware of the facts, and yes, to some degree, it worked. However, what is not desirable is the side effects and the unintended readings of the meme, as I am sure you are also aware of. For most people, it's just a joke, and the message was totally misunderstood.