Taking Off Your Bra Won’t Help End Cancer.

Via on Oct 8, 2013

breast cancer no bra

Every October everything around us suddenly turns pink.

It’s nearly impossible to go to the grocery store and not buy something with a ribbon on it. At this point, I can’t help but wonder if raising awareness about breast cancer is a little, well, out-dated.

Sadly, most people in the United States know at least one person who has been diagnosed with the disease. I find it absolutely disgusting how corporations are using it to make a profit and appear to be caring and generous when in reality, buying that can of soup or rose scented candle does very little for the cause.

Recently there has been a very popular facebook meme circulating that, I kid you not, says, “Support Breast Cancer, set the tatas free, October 13, no bra day.”

The idea is that everyone who usually wears bras should take them off to I guess, what, support cancer?

I mean, come on people—pay attention to detail.

A few years ago while I was paying the cashier at the store, he asked me if I wanted to donate a dollar for prostate cancer. I laughed and he got super offended. I looked at him and I said, dude, why would I want to give my money to cancer? Cancer is doing enough damage on its own without my dollar.

He still didn’t really seem to understand that wording of that kind of stuff is kind of important.

So. This meme is offensive on multiple fronts. Not only does it contain a major communication glitch it also doesn’t really do anything for anyone except horny pervs who like to look at pointy nipples.

What person who has gone through breast cancer really wants to look at a bunch of bra-less women?

It’s like if we said let’s do a Butt-Naked Friday to support testicular cancer (awareness). So, everyone, just don’t wear any pants, or any underwear so other people know you know that cancer exists and then all those dudes who had to have a testicle or two removed can see other dudes walking around balls out.

Really, truly helpful for no person.

So what would be helpful? Perhaps supporting cancer research directly instead of through consumerism? Perhaps making sure to regularly examine one’s own body? Perhaps working on preventative measures like sticking to a decent diet and steering clear of weird plastics and chemicals?

I mean sure, you can take your bra off for a day, but that does just about as much as wearing pink.

This is a serious deadly disease that we all are already aware of; we need to get beyond the awareness, the pink-washing, the trite activities and actually work on ending it for good.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

About Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver. She earned her MA in Writing and Publishing and her MA in Women and Gender Studies from DePaul University/Chicago. She is the creator of Mile High Mating, a website dedicated to helping people "do it" in Denver and beyond. You can find her on facebook and twitter (as long as you aren’t a stalker).



34 Responses to “Taking Off Your Bra Won’t Help End Cancer.”

  1. @SMASEY says:

    Amazing. 'Awareness' has always bothered me on so many levels. We all know breast cancer exists.

  2. Meaghan says:

    I'd rather people work on PREVENTING cancer and educating for health rather than looking for a "cure".

  3. Laura says:

    I actually read that wearing a bra increases your chances of getting breast cancer…. Although, not wearing one for a day definitely won’t make a difference, better to reduce wearing time as much as possible everyday!

  4. Chris says:

    I recognize the seriousness of this disease, as my mother was affected by it. I applaud your efforts and agree with much of what you say. However, you seem to have some "men" issues that detract from your effort. If you consider men that like to look at pointy nipples to all be horny Pervs, then I suppose the entire male population and a significant portion of the female population must be guilty. I am guilty and make no apologies and feel no guilt. To equate a fondness for breasts or pointy nipples with perversion is rediculous. I could go on, but you should be able to understand the point already. I do agree that going "braless" will do nothing for the cause.

  5. Melisa says:

    Well said! All these awareness campaigns are just a distraction from real issues like pollution, toxins, artificial hormones, and a seriously compromised food system. Fix these and we may see a reduction in breast cancer.

  6. Julie says:

    THANK YOU!!!! ~from a pink-hating survivor

  7. Renée Picard smallgrl says:

    I have felt this way for a long time, never understanding why people 'buy' into charities in this fashion. I mean, how does paying to run a marathon actually affect survival rates, for instance? Maybe it helps, but I would like to see more transparency around the money flow as far as things like this go, if we are going to be so consumerist about it. And yeah, the 'go braless' thing does not make sense at all.

    Thank you for writing this!

  8. Joy Lynn Baker says:

    Who started this "no bra day" BS? I'm a BC survivor and I'm constantly appalled at the disgusting promotions and gimmicks people use during the pink month.

  9. Adriana says:

    I disagree with your attitude. As a person that has not been (so far and hopefully ever) diagnosed with breast cancer- I must say that any event that reminds us of that disease is a good reminder. The fact that consumerism is a popular tool- is another story- it pretty much shows us the character of the society.

  10. Auki says:

    This article sounds whiney, self-righteous & condescending. Not worthy of EJ. How about showing some generosity of heart by letting folks raise awareness of cancer in ways that appeal to them?!

  11. Bex says:

    While I agree this day will achieve nothing I would love to see more done to promote the benefits of not wearing a bra and the effects bras can have on your boobs. I managed to give myself the same symptoms of aggressive cancer thanks to a sports bra that was a bit to tight. It was a very scary few weeks. Now at any opportunity I'll either be bra-less or wear a wireless, super comfy bra or crop top. We don't need to push our boobs to breaking point with ill fitting bras!

  12. Sab says:

    I disagree with your post. It's true that we all know about the disease, but that doesn't mean we can't show support to the victims. I know several people in my family that have had breast cancer. People wearing pink and even going bra-less is a sign of support. Yes, a silly one that does not directly help the cause, but it's one people laugh at and might think, "That's nice." At least it does for my family members.
    And I don't think there's any reason to get nit-picky on the wording cashiers use. I donate at Safeway regularly to whatever the cause is and I am well aware that when the cashier asks if I'd like to support breast cancer, he means breast cancer research.
    I feel as though getting upset right down to something so small completely based on the wording of a grocery store employee is just being cynical.
    When you donate a bit of money at the grocery store, it's doing something. Let's take a look at the reality, a lot of people are not going to give that $10-15 (if you buy groceries a few times a month, would probably amount to that) every October unless there is pink everywhere and someone asks. We may want to make a difference, want to raise money, etc., but the truth is that not everyone will and this does something and no, it's not hurting breast cancer research by raising that extra money through an awareness month. And because of that, they probably rake in a lot of money though this month that targets people that are not so inclined to donate or be involved in another way.

  13. not a fan says:

    I for one think any form of awareness is helpful and this person seems angry at mostly everyone. Hope you find your balance in life.

  14. GerryM says:

    I agree completely.
    Last year a checkout assistant at my local supermarket asked me for a donation during a fund raiser for breast cancer awareness. I felt enormously pressured to contribute, given I was surrounded by other customers and didn't want to come off as mean. But before I could respond the assistant said 'its for a good cause, its the biggest killer of women in this country'.

    No. No its not. Heart disease kills far more women. As does diseases caused by smoking.

  15. Trish says:

    Nailed it.

  16. Seed says:

    Not sure how you equate "going braless" with "butt naked". "Going braless" does not mean going topless… It seems you have been afflicted with a much worse malady known as ID-10T disease.

  17. JunO says:

    I'm a breast cancer survivor, and I agree with this. I appreciated people's support by wearing pink. I understood the spirit of what they were doing. But I also wondered, where were these people when I was going through treatment, and needed help mowing my lawn, or making meals, or cleaning my house, or when I just needed to talk. If you want to support someone going through treatment for cancer, don't just show you support them, DO something for them, or for their caregivers.

    Also, I'd like to note the irony of one of the ads appearing when I read this article is for an athletic wear company pushing their pink wear.

  18. Grace says:

    THANK YOU for this post. It's so ridiculous and backwards that people seem to think that buying pink merchandise and walking around without clothing on is going to solve the serious issue of cancer. People don't seem to realize that the crap they buy and support comes from companies that dump toxic chemicals into the air, water, and soil, and cause cancer to begin with. A much more useful thing to do is donate directly to cancer research (not the organizations with a 70% overhead…) or even better, support cancer prevention. Walking around with a pink water bottle or with no bra won't solve anything.

  19. wickedboardmember says:

    For much of my career, I've worked to raise funds for health causes. I personally have supported breast cancer causes and it is a concern as I've lost several friends to this awful disease. But the pervasive, entrepreneurial, in your face attitude of some of the breast cancer charities has affected many other local charities in negative ways. In some towns, these organizations will host an event on a weekend that has traditionally been taken up by another charity's walk or run. This is really unacceptable. More women die of heart disease than breast cancer, and everyone raising money for these various charities should play nice.

  20. saxon says:

    wearing a bra contorts the natural energy of the breast and this can lead to cancer. best to not wear bras at all! no joke.

  21. Charlotte says:

    Enough awareness already!! WE KNOW. Furthermore it is unfortunate (at least to me) that many of these campaigns are backed by pharmaceutical companies who have little motivation to either investigate prevention or to find a cure for a very lucrative disease. I don't mind too much the 'Go Braless' idea – it actually feels quite lovely and I do it regularly anyway and, maybe I'm imagining it, but my breasts are much more perky than when I always wore one. But when these campaigns descend into farce as when KFC was allowed to promote their pink bucket then I'm well and truly done. Let's move on from awareness to action. And if the government or industry won't then get researching and do it yourselves! Despite what we're lead to believe, your body is not cancer waiting to happen. Peace.

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