One Survivor’s Take

Most of us have seen it. Facebook being taken over by color. Bra color that is. In an effort to raise awareness, women all over facebook are writing their bra colors in their statuses. What?

I’m pretty speechless by it all.

(I won’t go into my issues with modesty and how on earth it benefits us to announce to the world the details of our intimate undergarments. I won’t go into how my husband doesn’t need to know what color someone other than me is wearing. Have we become so desensitized by Victoria’s Secret commercials? Commercials that find my husband bowing his head discreetly and me scrambling for our remote, I might add. Oh, wait, I said I wouldn’t go into it… )

Okay. Awareness. I’m sure there are survivors and battlers out there who think this is wonderful and a great marketing strategy. Let’s get the word out!

“Something fun is going on. Write the color of your bra in your status. Just the color, nothing else. And send this on to ONLY women 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 wonder why the women have a color in their status…..LOL!”

I appreciate the heart and the motive behind it, and I think the original sentiment behind it was to encourage women to do exams. However, once again, it has been distorted into a fun game to raise awareness.

As a survivor, here’s my take.

Breast cancer has become the most glorified cancer. I saw one person call it the “captain of the cheer squad of cancers“. Breast cancer, no, ALL cancer, is awful. It is brutal. It is death in your body. It mutilates you. It leaves you and your loved ones scarred in every possible way.

“Good,” we say, “Let’s get the word out. If it’s so bad, let’s raise awareness.”

Can I just ask what raising awareness does if it doesn’t DO anything effective? So, we’re more aware of it. Yes, we are. Every October the U.S. looks like it threw up pink. Believe me, I think we’re aware.

But I wonder…

How has putting bra colors on facebook done anything to help eradicate the disease? When you put the color on your status, did you check for lumps? Did you write a check to the Susan G. Komen foundation? Did you sign up for a cancer walk/run? Did you put a pile of hats in a box to donate to cancer patients who are bald? Did you think about some of the women out there who will never be able to wear leopard print again because their bodies have been too mutilated? Did it educate you about the disease? Did you pray for someone who has it? Did it move you to act?

Or was it just a fun way to get the word out?

Cancer. is. not. fun.

I appreciate the heart. Now let’s go DO something about the disease.

12 responses to “One Survivor’s Take”

  1. I wondered the same thing when a friend asked me to do it. How, exactly, would it raise awareness? That said, I did it because it really did make my friends ask questions. Then it became silly and some people were making Junior High-ish comments. Then I started to feel stupid that people (men) would know my bra color, so I deleted it. And it didn’t cause me to pray or donate. It didn’t educate me. I didn’t sign up for a cancer walk/run. What I did was to fb chat with a friend in Finland who has a cousin in CA who has just finished chemo for breast cancer about how neither of us checks our breasts for lumps even though…

    Thanks for your perspective. I pray for you now. Seeing bra color didn’t make me pray. Seeing YOU does.


  2. Thank you! Thank you! Like you I have been almost sickened with this new status frenzy. It took me awhile to figure out what was even going on. When I did, my first thought was to my husband who is seeing all of it. To be honest I didn’t know the motive behind all of it until this post.

    You put into words so powerfully that awareness is only as good as our action is! I can’t even fully express my appreciation to you for this post!!

    Bless you friend and be reminded that I am praying for you!!!


  3. Thanks for your perspective and honesty. I’d seen it on FB too and did not participate b/c it just seemed silly. It does nothing to help those who are with cancer. I think maybe in some way the folks who are doing this feel they are doing something (I’ve given up trying to figure out people and their intentions).


  4. LOVE this post. Hence the reason I, a dude who doesn’t wear a bra, posted a color yesterday. Just as ridiculous as the “campaign” – if you can call it that.


  5. Angie, I really like reading your posts; they make people think about things they might not otherwise think about, and give people a perspective they might not otherwise have had. I think the premise behind the FB hoopla was probably meant to be good in raising “awareness” but after thinking about it agree that “color” might not have been the best route to go through. (I wonder who in the world started it anyway)? That being said, at least for myself, it did prompt me to do a self-exam–which I never do–(shame on me), and it brought quite a few friends & family to my mind who have been affected by cancer of all kinds and to pray for them. But I agree awareness without action doesn’t do much good, it’s lazy and silly.
    Thank you too for the idea of donating hats to chemo patients AND for mentioning the VS commercials–I HATE those commercials!


  6. Oh dear… a friend of mine, like Zach, posted a color in his status. It almost made me blush to think that (of course) the guys were in on the secret. Thank you for posting this!


  7. Interesting. I couldn’t agree more. Although, I am not a survivor, so I always wondered if I just wasn’t being sensitive enough.

    The other day, I was driving. I saw a bumper sticker that read “Feel Your Boobies.” It had the pink ribbon, so I knew that it was meant for breast cancer awareness. Wow. Okay, so my 6, 8 and 9 year old are reading that. And then they’re going to ask me what that means. Or they’re just going to laugh, and it’s going to go right over their heads.

    But really, by trivializing and making jokes about it, does that really help? I don’t know…there’s just something off-putting about it. 😦

    I almost blogged about it, but figured I’d come across as insensitive.


  8. Honestly, if either my son or daughter saw that bumper sticker (or the color question), and asked what it meant, I’d tell them without batting an eye. I’d say it’s a good reminder for women to do breast self-exams so hopefully they can detect cancer earlier, and get treated sooner, if they find something. Cancer is ugly and awful, but there is something to be said for using humor to make an ugly awful thing easier to talk about.


  9. Well said, and so powerfully convicting….Angie, you are beautiful, inspiring, and a great role model…


  10. YES! Speak the truth! Thank you so much for putting this into words! The way you stated everything about this is so true. Would it be okay for me to somehow put this up on my facebook wall, in a note? I would love for my friends to be able to see this; messages like this are what move people to act!


  11. Well said. I could state my agreement, but basically I think it would come down to me repeating everything you mentioned from raising awareness to Victoria’s Secret. I didn’t participate because I felt the concept was rather immodest.


  12. Thanks so much for your perspective – it took me a while before I figured out what all of the colors were about, and when I did, I thought it was kind of silly and wasn’t really comfortable with the whole world knowing what color bra I was wearing. I often think I take things (and myself) too seriously sometimes, but reading this from you, someone who I think has such a great balance between serious and fun in your life, I am encouraged that this wasn’t one of those moments in my life when I needed to ‘lighten up’ despite my discomfort. (And yes that last sentence wins the award for longest run-on, ever.)
    Praying and thanking God for you.


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