Of Bras and Bandwagons

According to netizens, today is No Bra Day. If I am to believe my newsfeed, the goal of this campaign is to raise people’s awareness on breast cancer. I don’t know about you but it seems to me the only thing this thing will be raising is the number of erections men get while surfing the net.

Every year women like me receive messages that invite us to take part in ridiculous activities that are supposed to “help women battling breast cancer. We were asked to put on FB the color of our bras, the location we put our bags, and the way we like to wear our hair, which triggered the hullaballoo among men when they saw status updates such as “Pink and white”, “On top of the table”, and “everywhere and messy”. For years I have remained silent while my trusting (I don’t want to say gullible) friends joined the bandwagon. Today, though, I implore my female Facebook contacts to keep their bras on.

I speak from the perspective of someone whose grandmother was taken away by breast cancer. Mommy (as I called her) was vivacious, opinionated, and strikingly gorgeous. She was also known for her compassion and sense of humor, but as the cancer metastasized to her bones, she became irritable and despondent. There were days she could not get up from bed as each movement caused her severe pain. I came home from school one afternoon and my aunt told me that Mommy was gone. My grief was mixed with relief for I had seen how fragile she looked in the ICU.

The sad thing is our bout with breast cancer does not end with my grandmother’s death in 2004. Everyday is a battle because as her granddaughter with above average breast size, I am at risk for breast cancer. My mother, who had a run-in with ovarian cancer last year, is also at risk for breast cancer. If I go bra-less and post an update about it, what good will it do me? More to the point, what will it do for women who are fighting this disease?

The way I see it, this No Bra Day serves as fodder for exploitation and does not benefit cancer patients. If you want to go bra-less because your twins feel restricted, go ahead. If you want to post a bra-less photo of yourself because you want to bring sexy back, more power! But do not do these things while using disease awareness as a pretense. You want to help? Encourage women in your family above 40 to get mammograms. Educate your friends about self breast exams. Donate to organizations that aim to find a cure for breast cancer. I am doing all these things, and I will keep on doing them with my undergarments on.