DO NOT “like” this awful, awful picture.

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This picture (doing the rounds on FB) is an example of the worst excesses of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It made me feel sick. And there are a lot of upset women on the Breast Cancer charity forums who are as outraged as me.

Look at it. For a start it says, “Support Breast cancer”. What — not support breast cancer research, or breast cancer care, or even breast cancer “survivors” or “victims” (terms I hate)? Almost anything would be better than what it actually says.

Secondly, it shows a slim young woman waving a teensy little bra. For those of you who don’t know, the majority of women with breast cancer will be watching their weight/struggling with their body image. This is not helpful. Nor is the reminder that tiny little bras are not an option for most of us any more. If we wear one at all, it has to carry a prosthesis, or cover our scars.

Even worse, when I clicked on this picture in order to download it and put it up on my blog, I came across messages from men cheering on the women who are not going to wear a bra on the 13th, and reminding them not to forget to publish the photos. So is this about supporting women with breast cancer, or is this about soft porn?? Forgive the failure of my sense of humour. I am no prude. I enjoy rude jokes. But I see NOTHING funny about this. The message I’m getting here is that it’s breasts, not women, who matter. And if that is true, well, I’m stuffed.

And finally, the 13th is the day in Breast Cancer Awareness Month which has been dedicated to those with metastatic cancer – that’s those whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body – a life-limiting condition, not a laughing matter. Those of us who have had even a brush with this disease are holding our breaths and hoping that’s not where we end up. How sad and insensitive that on this particular day, this trivial message should be sent out to distract the unwitting and the thoughtless.

So – please do NOT circulate this picture. If you have already inadvertently and with the best of intention put it up on your FB page, please take it down. Perhaps say sorry. And take a look at the SCAR project instead, perhaps. And wear a bra, or not, as you like, on October 13th. Either way, it won’t help any woman with breast cancer, anywhere.

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11 comments

  1. I’m with you on the pink, and especially on the ‘yay for beauty-compliant tits! Don’t let bad stuff happen to them!’ bits. Hate it hate it. My friend Wicce died just over a year ago, from cancer that started as aggressive breast cancer. She hated the pink with every fibre of her being, right till the end. I’d also like to share this post from one of my favourite bloggers, Twisty Faster at I Blame The Patriarchy. She’s possibly an acquired taste, and her US-healthcare-system BC experience very different to yours, but the fury kind of resonated. Enjoy. http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2013/10/05/the-pink-menace/
    xx jo
    PS I will be wearing a bra on Friday 13, as I do every day… for me, that *is* freedom!

    • Thank you, I enjoyed Twisty Faster, though I think I would be terrified to meet her. Made me grateful again for the NHS, too. PS On Friday, I will be wearing whatever feels most comfortable to me that day.

  2. Pingback: No Bra Day October 13th

  3. I’m with you too. All I’ve seen about this day on my social media streams has been an excuse for people to talk about who ‘can’ and who ‘can’t’ go without a bra, young women sharing it with a bunch of young men proclaiming “yeah! Get ’em out! Finally a day I can get behind”. It’s really off putting particularly because the message is completely lost. I have lost a former colleague this year to breast cancer and it’s upsetting to see this message hijacked if you will.

  4. Pingback: I’m Done With Awareness: Why I’m Wore a Bra on October 13 | Liz Lincoln

  5. “Set the tatas free”? Tata means father in several African languages, which is the only meaning I know for the word. How, exactly, will not wearing a bra liberate African fathers, or impact in any way on breast cancer?


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