Taking Off Your Bra Won’t Help End Cancer.

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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

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Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver, Colorado. She explores the real truth at goeatacarrot.com and the real fake news at whattheconspiracy.com. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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anonymous Oct 15, 2013 11:23am

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.

anonymous Oct 10, 2013 10:38am

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.

anonymous Oct 10, 2013 9:08am

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.

    anonymous Oct 10, 2013 12:25pm

    Not to mention some of the more aggressive breast cancer charities taking legal action against other charities who have the word 'cure' in planned fund-raising events.

anonymous Oct 10, 2013 6:53am

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.

anonymous Oct 10, 2013 6:14am

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.

anonymous Oct 9, 2013 8:37pm

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.

anonymous Oct 9, 2013 6:29pm

I ain't even mad http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/30500000/I

anonymous Oct 9, 2013 1:30pm

Nailed it.

anonymous Oct 9, 2013 12:54pm

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.

    anonymous Oct 9, 2013 1:24pm

    Ooops. Clicked submit by mistake.

    I was going to end by saying it is massively hypocritical for companies like Safeway to ask for donations to fund cancer research when they sell cigarettes. And besides, once all of the expenses and overheads have been deducted, very little of a given donation ends up in the hands of a cancer researcher. Most of the donation goes towards paying for more fund raising!

anonymous Oct 9, 2013 11:51am

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.

anonymous Oct 9, 2013 9:46am

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.

    anonymous Oct 10, 2013 12:35pm

    Personally, I don't donate to cancer charities when asked at the checkout in safeway…..why? Only 20% of my donation would go to research. Awareness month raises a lot of extra cash, but most of it goes in the pockets of the people who organize and market the event, rather than researchers, doctors or patients.

anonymous Oct 9, 2013 5:33am

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!

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 11:58pm

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?!

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 11:11pm

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.

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 9:05pm

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.

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 8:41pm

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!

    anonymous Oct 9, 2013 2:12pm

    smallgrl, this year I walked 26 miles for the Moonwalk in London. Each participant paid an entry fee to cover the costs of organising the marathon, and then was asked to pledge £100 in sponsorship. That one marathon raised over £6 million, which was donated to a number of breast cancer centres which support women with breast cancer in a variety of ways. How do you measure the way in which women feel supported by these centres?

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 8:18pm

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

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 7:49pm

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.

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 7:41pm

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.

    anonymous Oct 8, 2013 10:26pm

    You really missed the whole point of this article.

    anonymous Oct 9, 2013 3:02pm

    I'm really glad you showed up to make this about straight cis dudes. Very helpful.

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 7:38pm

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!

    anonymous Oct 9, 2013 9:45am

    I stopped wearing a bra two years ago for that exact reason. I feel that masses of women taking off their bra for one day does a better job at helping end breast cancer than wearing pink bras over your shirt. Maybe some women will like the freedom and go braless more often. Maybe some women will look further into the history of bras and begin to question why they're so ubiquitous in our culture. Maybe some will discover how they negatively effect the development and functioning of our bodies.

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 3:02pm

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

    anonymous Oct 9, 2013 9:04am

    Yes. There was a huge, 20 year French study that showed how detrimental bras are, from causing more sagging, to increased health issues, to all sorts of things.

      anonymous Oct 9, 2013 8:52pm

      Look at the elderly in cultures where women go topless for life…Um, gravity still takes its toll, bra or no bra, you can't fight the laws of physics. A bra is nothing but thin fabric on skin, so I guess that means pants and shirts must also cause health issues too.

anonymous Oct 8, 2013 2:57pm

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

    anonymous Oct 9, 2013 7:11am

    Oh my gosh, I say that ALL of the time. I thought I was the only one.

      anonymous Oct 10, 2013 4:37am

      raising awareness by wearing pink or no bra gets ppl involved asking questions about prevention(screening), risks, healthy lifestyle choices etc… yeah not wearing a bra is not preventing/curing cancer but it's better than just thinking well everyone knows it exist so lets go on with our everyday life…hey, out of sight out of mind, right? idk, i feel like this article was a big criticism and not too much call to action or any encouraging words :S it's like yeah u should already know what it is and what to do :S. dislike.

    anonymous Oct 10, 2013 2:19pm

    I have a bit of a different "take" on cancer. Breasts included.
    I have several friends who've already died of this (breast cancer) and a number of others
    of cancer of other parts.
    I appreciate the pink thing, however. It's not about the money. I don't care who makes the money for producing awareness. I care about people dying needlessly.
    Bras aren't for everyone (you know that, right?).
    Bras are not customized to fit the gazillion different sets we have out there. For many they are biting, uncomfortable and cumbersome. They hold our breasts to fit what's a standard (like we aren't already okay with them?). All the years of wires under them isn't healthy. Would men wear wires under their organs? nope, of course not.
    I'm sure there are people making a ton of money marketing things in pink, saying their donating money for the cause, etc. That is a separate issue. I stopped wearing a bra long ago. I learned how to layer the headlights and I'm fine with how I was created (thankyou very much). My "tata's" are just fine. I no longer get lumps in my breasts (which freaked me out) and my actual breasts feel better. I know, this isn't for everyone. Many people are more comfortable wearing bras and that's fine, too. I have a friend that wears one to bed, even. Just saying that I'm aware of my own breasts, how society dictated & confined them for a very long time. So the anger with which the article was written (most of it angry, anyhow) is simply a reflection of one person's inability to connect the dots without judgment that it's all a bad thing. Evil. Wrong. Awful. We all, by the way, don't know breast cancer exists on a personal level. Extending my hand out to link with you that we can donate money…we can wear pink…we can talk about it…we can experience it. Everything makes a little wave in the world. Even our thoughts. That's my opinion.