Saturday, January 9, 2010

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

There's a game going around on Facebook right now - it starts when you get this mass message in your inbox:

"Just write the color of your bra in your status. Just the color, nothing else. And send this on to ONLY girls no men .... It will be neat to see if this will spread the wings of cancer awareness. It will be fun to see how long it takes before the men will wonder why all the girls have a color in their status...

Enjoy and spread the awareness!"

Okay, you really wanna know?? I normally don't wear bras, but right now I'm wearing an ugly sports bra that is navy blue and bloody. That's because I had cancer surgically removed from my breast 4 days ago, and the surgical discharge papers say to wear a bra for 2 weeks straight to protect the incisions as they heal. If y'all wanna have fun toying with the boys' heads by having secret conversations about your bras, have at it, but don't pretend like it's doing anything to end breast cancer. Scrolling down my FB page and reading about my friends' fun, green-polka-dotted, and sexy animal-print bras doesn't take the bloodstains off of mine.

Salon article that says it better than I could -


  1. Translation:

    Dumbass girls who don't know anyone with breast cancer who want some dumbass way to "flirt" online with guys, who *of course* will be clamoring to find out what super sexy secret thing all the super sexy girls are doing.


  2. so many people did this, and i don't judge that they did--but i couldn't. for the reasons you stated but also: what about the way women are referred to as "girls" while men are still referred to as men--and why did it have to be kept "secret" when actually it was all over facebook--ugh, for me, that's private information. cathryn

  3. i'm not upset with my friends who played the game. i know they were having fun and meant no harm, and beyond that, i know that they love me and support me in real, concrete ways.

    i wish the game had been presented as just another fun, silly game, on par with farmville and the 'what breed of dog are you?' quizzes. then, i would have simply rolled my eyes at the sexism of it (like you pointed out, C) and just let it roll by my screen without playing or without really caring.

    it's only because it's being promoted as something that helps women like me with breast cancer, that it bothers me so much. now, women aren't just playing some dumb game about hiding their bra color from the boys, they proudly think they're HELPING US CANCER SURVIVORS by doing so! it's like buying a pink sweatshirt so you can feel good about your "activism" while you're wearing it, except it's even worse. because maybe at least 4 cents from the sweatshirt purchase goes to breast cancer research, but this FB game really REALLY doesn't do shit. it's not even like women are writing, "black - and please get a mammogram!" it's really just "black," giggle giggle, the boys don't know what we're talking about, giggle!

    i'm sick of breast cancer "awareness" anyway. who the hell doesn't know that breast cancer exists and is bad?? i couldn't be more AWARE of that if i tried. if people really REALLY want to do something about it, they should donate money to breast cancer research, or volunteer at a hospital, or help a friend who's going through surgery or chemo (i have lots of friends helping me and i love them and don't care what color their bras are), or even start an educational campaign on FB to talk about the facts about BC and encourage women to check their breasts and learn about breast health.

    if women DON'T really want to be breast cancer activists, i totally respect that and wouldn't be upset! but don't PRETEND that you want to help end breast cancer if really you just want to giggle about your bra color. don't PRETEND that you are helping women with breast cancer when you're NOT.

  4. i really don't want my friends to think i'm mad at them for playing this game. i'm not! i'm mad at the ineffectiveness of the "breast cancer awareness" industry in general, and i'm mad at the people who started the bra color game and the people who are touting it as the most awesome and effective BC awareness tactic EVER.

    but i LOVE my friends and all that they have done, do, and are doing for me. because it's a lot, and it's real, and i am immensely grateful.

  5. ooooh, can I carefully put my toe in this pool? To me, we live in this crazy place where little superficial things substitute for doing something real -- and I think we've all been there. I think, too, that most people are hoodwinked into thinking that the big organizations that sell pink stuff and have people walking all over creation are making big strides towards "finding a cure." To me, finding the CAUSE is the real mission. If there are over thirty kinds of breast cancer alone, there won't be one "cure" for cancer.

    To keep living in a polluted world full of thousands of untested new carcinogens in our food, our water, the air, spewing out from the vinyl seats in our cars and the plywood in our furniture and the foam in our pillows, the BP leaching into our canned food and bottled water, the bleach we use on our laundry and the untested chemicals in our shampoo, the electromagnetic radiation surging out from our cell phones and wireless computers -- this list could go on for pages and pages ... well, it's overwhelming, and it's not going to get better until people decide it's time to GET REAL about what's going on. I don't want to have our bodies continue to be increasingly poisoned by harmful chemicals, while hoping that scientists somewhere can devise other nasty chemicals that will more effectively fight the resulting cancers. That's like banging your head against the wall repeatedly and hoping you'll find the right kind of pain reliever.

    It's not easy. None of us will be able to live perfectly free of carcinogens, the vast majority of us don't have much free time for researching and activism, healthy alternatives are expensive and often inconvenient, but what's true is that we have to fight the good fight against the horrible harmful crap that in the last hundred years has turned our environment, inner and outer, into a toxic place. Cancer is happening more and more frequently in children and young people. If our Britta can get it, ANYONE can.

    We can educate ourselves. Read labels. Make the best choices we can. Find some progressive group -- EWG, Breast Cancer Fund, whatever -- that is addressing the problem from the CAUSE end and targets legislators and uses scientific data, and support them. We can't pretend that the government or the corporations will fix it; we have to believe that we have power as ordinary people making our own choices. Already, artificial growth hormone use in cows is on the wane because plain old folks like us got educated and changed our buying habits. WalMart sells organic food now (although that's another can of worms) because of consumer demand, not because they think it's the "right" thing to do.

    Trouble is, none of this is fun or sexy. Part of me thinks that even something as inane as the what-color-is-your-bra game keeps some part of the issue out in front of people ... the other part of me thinks it's frivolous and foolish, and insulting to the women who are dealing with this illness.

    OMG, I stuck way more than my toe in this, didn't I? Yikes. I'm a bit spooled up :-). Moms always want to fix things. xoxo

  6. Zomg- novel up there!!!

    i didn't realize the bra color game had anything to do with BC. I just figured it was a stupid facebook game. Whatever. I guess in that respect, it failed at raising BC awareness. LOL.

    But- petty "wear a colored ribbon for ***" is stupid. Ya know what helps cancer patients? Donating to research. The cancer society. The Susan G. Komen foundation... stuff like that! Donating hair to make wigs for cancer patients (Pantene Beautiful Lengths! I did it last year.)

    This is just like this stupid email thing that was going around last year or so... WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS TO SUPPORT THE TROOPS! Everyone at work was ticked off at me because i wouldn't do it... it's a STUPID FUCKING IDEA. 1- the troops overseas won't fucking know what color shirts we're wearing, so whatever. 2- it requires no heart or donation or actual sacrifice on the behalf of the wearer, at least nothing meaningful... 3- if you really want to do something to support the troops, send them care packages, write to them, write to your congressmen/the president asking them to end the war, go to protests, ETC... It's just a superficial shallow way to pretend you're doing something...

    And they called me a terrorist and a traitor. HA.

    Seriously though, fuck ribbon magnets. Do something that counts...

  7. Well I guess that my response to the bra color game is proof that there were some serious limitations to the breast cancer awareness theory - I had no idea that it was to raise BC awareness. I never got the email in my inbox, just connected the dots that women (and a couple of my male friends - but that is another story) where posting their bra colors. I didn't even realize it was supposed to be secret - ah well, I've never followed directions well!