If you’re alive and have an internet presence its unlikely that you haven’t caught a glimpse of the email doing the rounds asking you to display your bra colour as your status. This is what I received –
Some fun is going on…. 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.
And before I could say Jack Robinson (why would one want to say that anyway?!) my gtalk list was a rainbow of colours – ‘teal’, cerulean blue’, ‘salmon pink and grey lace’. Yes, it was cheesy. Yes, the men figured it out in ten minutes flat. Yes, a lot of fun was had thanks to it.
It took us straight back to our school days. When training bras were in vogue. When the girls who developed early had their noses up and those who didn’t, looked sheepish. But one thing was clear, you didn’t talk about your breasts in public. Or your bras. Boob bags, over the shoulder boulder holders, sling shots, flopper stoppers, call ’em what you like.
People are quick to criticise this campaign that started off as fun. But I don’t mind it at all. One – because it brought bras out of the closet and we can write ‘white lace’, ‘leopard’ or even ‘nothing in our status, boldly going where no other status has gone before. Two because it is spreading awareness.
How is this helping breast cancer awareness, asked a pal or two. Simple – I haven’t done a self examination in months. I am thirty one. I should be doing regular examinations. This campaign made me laugh and it reminded me to do one. Also, atleast two women who pinged me to ask me about my status, had never bothered to do a self examination – various reasons like – oh it won’t happen to me and ugh, I don’t want to (!).
And this is how it helped. Because I talked them into it and I hope they went home and did one. After all, how does wearing a red ribbon help spread AIDs awareness? It just reminds you to slip on a raincoat if you were planning not to. It takes a taboo health topic out of the closet. Similarly this bra thing reminds all of us women to be grateful for the healthy breasts we have encased in them. Big, small, floppy, wrinkly, stretchmarked, uneven – anything. It is so much more than the woman who has only two scars left. And I know a couple of them already.
Have you read Thanks for the Mammaries? The author, Sarah Darmody lost an aunt to breast cancer and you can see how strongly she feels about it – she even underwent a double mastectomy herself. The stories are funny, poignant and some just leave you wishing you’d got your hands on the book before. I was also glad to see that royalties go the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Which is why I bought a book instead of borrowing one.
Yes, funds are needed. Yes, more research would be good. Yes, other cancers need more awareness and funds. Yes, a link in your status would help too and no, armchair activism doesn’t help much but it’s a little more than nothing. So here’s the deal. I’ve given you a laugh and now I give you the link to the breast self exam. Promise me you’ll do this tonight before you sleep.
Once you’re through with that, be a sport and join in. Get your bras out of the closet. It won’t make you cheaper or crasser. It will just make you loosen up a little. It will give us a laugh and if you don’t want to – hey – the rest of us will make you laugh. And yes, we’ll also have the grace to blush!
Here’s mine – Peach. Tell me yours in the comment box. As the Bean is known to say – Go on, I know you can do it!
And while we’re on armchair activism – have you signed for Ruchika?
Edited to add: Here’s Khizzy’s post on it the same topic.