Sisterhood Blog

Bra Colors for Breast Cancer Awareness or Facebook Prank?

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

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I like Facebook (and waste far too much time on it). But the cultural norms on this mother of all social networking sites may be getting just a bit too … intimate for me.

This week suddenly many of my female FB friends started simply listing colors for their Facebook statuses. First a friend just wrote “pink.” Thinking she was making a simple existential comment, I commented “polka dots.” Then another friend, who doesn’t know the first, posted “white.”

And today, most of my many female FB friends have posted a color for their status. It’s the color of their bra. “Nude.” “Black.” “Pink.” “Gray (used to be white).”

At the risk of sounding like my FB “friend” (someone I’ve never met but whose sufficiently important job in the Jewish community led me to think I should accept his friend request) who ends EVERY SINGLE Status Update with an exclamation point, TMI! TMI! T-M-I!!!! (Too Much Information, for someone who’s never been a teenager).

Turns out this bra-color-posting is purportedly for a good cause, to raise awareness of breast cancer. But no one seems to know the source of this effort gone viral. It’s become a meme – but seems to be little more than a prank.

The official Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October, according to the official Web site, and no organization is claiming credit for the bra color FB status meme.

This is one of those times, like when I see belly-button piercing “art” flaunted on (I admit) enviably taut torsos, that I think “this is just a part of a person’s body that I don’t want to be focusing on.” It feels certainly immodest and perhaps a bit crude.

Most of my FB friends posting their bra colors are 40-something (and older) women who would never consider wearing a sheer shirt to show off their cute lingerie, so I’m not sure why they feel comfortable doing it virtually. I know it’s supposed to be “fun” and I probably sound like an old crank, but when a man “likes” a woman’s bra color FB status it just feels, well, gross.

Now the female writer of this article about this new bra status thing says “Even the guys are starting to catch on. One of my male Facebook friends posted that he wants to see bra sizes posted tomorrow!”


elana Fri. Jan 8, 2010

Oh, I so agree... Thank you for saying something.... TMI indeed shabbat shalom, elana

Judith Levine Fri. Jan 8, 2010


Anything that will bring awareness to the world about breast cancer is a good thing. Getting our youngsters to understand how important it is to take care of themselves is much, much better than having the opportunity to perform the mitzvah of bikkur cholim for them later in life. Taking care of each other and educating women about how to best take care of themselves takes precedence and if it takes a certain amount of immodesty to do so, well, it sure beats trying to be modest in a hospital setting.

best, Judith Levine

Leah Mon. Jan 11, 2010

I had some trouble understanding how it was supposed to raise awareness for breast cancer (and yes, was grossed out by some male friends who were a little too excited to imagining us in our underwear) but still, I see this as a pretty harmless prank.

The meme inspired a post about Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform and inventor of the modern bra, and what she might have thought of the bra becoming a symbol for breast cancer awareness. Check it out!

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