Yesterday, like many of you, I saw this graphic being shared online.
The first thing I thought was ‘Oh I wish I could join in, but there’s no way I’m not wearing a bra’
But then I took a second, and thought about it. I thought, oh hang on, how does this raise awareness in any way? It reminded me of those stupid things which get shared around women’s messaging system saying ‘put your bra colour as your status, let’s confuse men and raise awareness – but those things, while not useful, at least don’t do any harm.
The more I thought about this, the more I thought it’s actually harmful to women. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, but there was something I didn’t like about the use of the word ‘tatas’.
This morning, I saw a link to this fantastic blogpost which is pretty much the last word on why this image doesn’t work on many levels. It points out that the wording is weird as well – ‘support breast cancer’? What does that even mean?
It got me thinking. Who made this image anyway? Is there such a thing as ‘no bra’ day?
Well, yes there is – it was on July 9th. This post seems to add Breast Cancer as an afterthought, and sounds like ‘No Bra Day’ (NBD) is actually about celebrating women. This post about the third annual NBD is also confused as to the point of it – ‘is it a grassroots Breast Cancer Awareness program?’
I looked, and the first instance of an October NBD is here - and the copy seems to be cut and pasted from that first link above. I’ve spent a couple of hours, seriously, trying to find the origin of this October 13th NBD, and every google result is just someone saying ‘It’s No Bra Day’ and sharing the same graphic.
Unfortunately, this post shows how sexualised NOT wearing a bra becomes. As many women will already be aware, if you suggest you’re not going to wear a bra, there’s usually a man comes along and offers to support them with their hands (fourth rule of the internet or something isn’t it?). There are many posts from men saying ‘oh hell yeah, I support it’ or from women saying ‘my boyfriend is looking forward to it’.
So I pretty much agree with this post here – that image for ‘set the tatas free’ day was created by a man – the author suggests that a woman would have got the ‘support’ message correctly. I’m also sure that not many women call their breasts ‘tatas’ – correct me if I’m incorrect.
I did a bit more digging, and found this post, with what is clearly a crop of the original image, posted on October 13th 2013
So I went to that website, and found what is clearly the origin of the image at least. I translated the copy, and it roughly says the following.
Sunday is No Bra Day – what is it? A day where all women are invited to remove their bra and let their breasts free for a day.
Obviously women do not need a predefined date in the year to go without a bra . But each person participating in No Bra Day sees something else. A cause to defend , a commitment or a way to feel more free. Whether in a feminist commitment and wish to not feel constrained by your bra. Whether you just want to let your body breathe or want to support a cause , raise awareness of breast cancer. Each person sees different things in her bra during No Bra Day .
Are we getting somewhere? I feel we probably are. Everyone promoting NBD seems to do it for a different reason – and that’s great. If you want to not wear a bra for a day for any reason, brilliant. If you want to now wear a bra every day, it’s entirely up to you, they’re your breasts, it’s your life, do what you like.
What I don’t like is the attitude some people have towards NOT buying into it. Me saying I’m not getting involved made someone call me ‘miserable’ and ‘not getting into the spirit of it’, as if it meant I don’t want to support breast cancer awareness just because I will wear a bra on a particular day. If you know me at all, you’ll know my business gives a lot of money every year to Ovacome (well, a lot of money compared to my annual turnover – £120 last year) because I’m passionated about Ovarian Cancer Awareness.
I still don’t know who put those other words over the French image and reposted it this year. But I pretty much hate them. Simply not wearing a bra on a certain day doesn’t raise awareness of breast cancer – not unless you do it in conjunction with other awareness raising pursuits.
Instead of moaning though, here I present my top ten ideas for helping raise breast cancer awareness this month – I shared it early this morning on Facebook , and got such a great reaction, I thought I’d repost it here.
Better ways to help out during breast cancer awareness month than spending a day without a bra
- Donating some money to a cancer charity, or if you don’t have any, by donating some stuff to a cancer charity shop – or even volunteering there
- Being aware that some men get breast cancer as well, so it’s not all about your boobs and bras, and definitely not all pink
- Learning how to properly check your breasts for lumps and actually doing it every month
- Making sure your other female relatives also know how to check and do it regularly
- Remembering that you are not defined by your breasts – some women don’t have mastectomies even though they’re potentially life saving because they’re sense of worth is so wrapped in up their breasts.
- Call them breasts – not tatas
- Go braless on that day, but tell people why when they ask, and get sponsored to do it or collect donations from people who ask why you don’t have a bra on
- While we’re at it – most women know about breast cancer now don’t they? So let’s raise awareness of all female cancers – do you know the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
- Remember some women have had mastectomies so posting photos of your own untouched boobs isn’t supporting them at all – it’s probably upsetting
- Most importantly – sexualising breast cancer just because it involves breasts is a bit childish and trivialising so try not to do this wherever possible. It’s not really difficult
I had an anon comment I didn’t moderate asking me what I was going to do. So I put 20 Tiddles prints on eBay, with 50% going to The Breast Cancer Campaign - click here to buy one