Bra Color Campaign Makes Boobs of Us All

Thanks to a widespread movement that took place on Facebook yesterday, I now know what color bras many of my female friends were wearing.

That, apparently, was the purpose of the viral campaign in which women were instructed to post a one-word status message indicating their color of the day. It was a successful campaign, too, because it managed to engage women who were unaware of its purpose (“Fuchsia. We’re posting our favorite colors, right?”) and women who were otherwise disengaged (“None.”).

It nearly engaged me — until I googled “bra color on Facebook” and learned that most people believed the purpose was to raise awareness of breast cancer. Then I, like many men, felt left out. I suggested to my friends that we guys post the colors of our boxers or briefs to raise awareness of prostate cancer. I also read tweets from men who suggested we post our favorite beer. One guy suggested something to raise awareness of colon cancer, but I won’t go into that here.

For a moment I feared the worst — that it was a campaign on what color bras women should wear to get around airport scanner detection. If that had been true, who knows what kind of explosives could be hidden in those things?

The truth is, as of the day after the bra color campaign, nobody is sure what the campaign’s purpose was or who started it. So, as a public relations effort, it was a failure. If one of the cancer prevention organizations was behind it, it missed the opportunity to clearly communicate its message to the millions of Facebook users who participated. It also missed the opportunity to actually do something with all the energy behind the effort — like attach some sort of fundraising goal or even to impart some knowledge to the participants.

One enterprising blogger — a woman battling breast cancer — took it upon herself to urge some action on the part of all the women who were showing their colors. “So, while you’re peeking inside your shirt to see what color bra you are wearing so you can post it in your status update,” she wrote, “go ahead and feel around in there, make sure there are no lumps. And if there are, call your doc for a clinical exam!”

As it is, we can only chalk this episode up as another Facebook fad. It had no more value than FarmVille or Mafia Wars. In fact, it made boobs out of all of us.


10 Responses

  1. Great points. I’ve also never understood the wasted time/energy put behind “awareness” campaigns for widespread issues. Really, there are a large number of people not “aware” of breast cancer? REALLY?

  2. bra color = breast cancer awareness ? ? ? it makes me gag the same way I gag when I see a Frat boy wearing a T-shirt that says “Save the TA TAs”

  3. I’m an example of it failing…I had no idea what was going on and just wondered what my friends were doing. When you think of this example as compared to the (okay, I might get the name wrong, but hopefully people will know what I’m talking about) the frozen green pea campaign on Twitter a couple of years ago, well, the green pea worked like a charm. I’m referring to the woman who had cancer and because she blogged truthfully about it, gained a number of friends and followers who would change their avatars every Friday to showcase green peas. It was an amazing experience.

  4. Robert, you noticed I had no involvement whatsoever. After 11 years of Catholic school, sharing your bra color to total strangers is not the Catholic thing to do. I can see Sr. Mary Pat rolling her eyes now.

    • Sr. Mary Pat would be proud of you for abstaining, Eileen.

      I read over the weekend where Susan G. Komen for the Cure applauded the whole thing as a successful awareness-raising campaign (though not taking credit for starting it). I still say that from a PR standpoint, it failed. But then, there is no evidence that it was ever intended as a PR stunt. Just a stunt.

  5. It’s all about discipline, Robert. And self-control. Oh, and a huge dose of guilt.

  6. Robert, I just came across this post discussing the need for action, not awareness, and thought you’d like to see it:

  7. […] Bra Color Campaign Makes Boobs of Us All […]

  8. If people want to be involved in that stuff, fine, there is no need for me to know so I have taken the steps needed to hide myself from it. Simple.

  9. […] in January, women were posting their bra colors on Facebook. That got men all worked up, partly because they weren’t in on the joke. But at […]

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