Facebook Bra Color Status Updates “Trend”

For the baffled man and the not-in-the-know woman: If you logged into Facebook today, you might have seen a few (or all) of your female friends post a color as their status update with no explanation at all, while their female friends knowingly added comments and liked it. If you have not Googled it yet, it is as the title suggests their, er, bra color. Viral marketing meme? Not entirely this is to spread awareness about breast cancer. This is the first time such an effort is being taken by the common woman to spread the awareness about this type of cancer. However it happened only on Facebook.

As mysterious as any other internet meme, the bra color status update has become quite the phenomenon, especially when the women in question mysteriously smiled the Mona Lisa smile and kept quite quiet about it. For those of us who actually took the time to look up this phenomenon, it did the work of spreading an important but relatively unknown variety of cancer. Throughout the world, breast cancer is responsible for 10.4% of cancer incidence in women and is thus the second most common type of cancer (the first being lung cancer). This type of cancer is responsible for 1% of all female deaths in the entire world!

So the next time you see your female friend update their status update with a mysterious color, suppress those dirty thoughts and focus on the issue at hand! [A winking smiley should have come here, but I refrained because this is a serious, technology-centric blog ;) ]

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A mobile technology lover and a Strategy and RPG-game fanatic. I also enjoy astronomy and programming. I am a biotechnology engineer learning through this fascinating subject while poring over computer science. Hit me up on Twitter for more

  • This is ridiculous. People think that if you update your status that others will be curious and that it will lead you to click on a link to learn more about breast cancer awareness? Seriously?

    First of all, lung cancer is responsible for 29% of all cancer deaths in the U.S. Breast cancer has an 89% survival rate, lung cancer has a 15% survival rate. And even if we got rid of tobacco tomorrow, we wouldn't cure lung cancer. Radon is the #1 cause among nonsmokers who get lung cancer. Nonsmokers who get lung cancer represent about 20% of lung cancer incidences. January is National Radon Action Month. Do something. Visit the EPA's site and learn more about radon.

    And in your facebook status today, you should write: Just WTF? Clear – because clear is the color for lung cancer. (invisible, silent killer).

    • Well, I did look it up and now I know that it is a serious ailment. The quote "[t]hroughout the world, breast cancer is responsible for 10.4% of cancer incidence in women and is thus the second most common type of cancer" really made me sit up and pay attention. I count that as a success, and I'm sure you would too! :)

  • Lisa Fisher

    I have to take great exception to your calling breast cancer an "important but relatively unknown variety of cancer". You can buy everything from canned soup to vacuum cleaners to diamond necklaces- all with the ubiquitous pink ribbon. Although I agree that back in the 1970's when Betty Ford was one of the first people willing to openly discuss breast cancer, it was "relatively unknown". But after years of awareness campaigns and product marketing of pink ribbons, breast cancer may now be the BEST known cancer. There is a backlash in the cancer survivor community to try to get more public recognition for other cancers- such as lung cancer as noted by another poster here. Ovarian cancer survivors recently mounted their own "teal ribbon" campaign to bring more awareness to that issue. I am a lymphoma survivor, and I can tell you from first hand experience that there is little public media attention paid to blood cancers. From product marketing, to commercials on TV and now to Facebook- no single cancer gets more media attention than breast cancer. It is a serious illness and deserves serious attention. It just does not deserve to hijack the attention of the world to the exclusion of other cancers.

    • Agreed, although public recognition has nothing to do with scientific recognition because cancer researchers know their own field of work very well. Cancer isn't a mere disease that can be cured by drugs, you know that. I am a biotechnology student and for one I wish to add on to the research of cancer at some point in my life, among other things and I do feel that no fatal disease is "more" or "less" fatal than the other – they are all deadly. If there is media attention paid to a specific type of cancer, then scientists might jibe at it more occasionally, and eventually might crack the case of malignant cancer cells which can be applied to other cases of cancer as well, especially with regard to gene therapy (since the virus-carriers would just need a few other enzymes and a different gene expression present in their DNA/RNA or a slightly different capsid). So it's not "hijacking" the attention of the world at all!

  • anon

    wow, i agree with the two comments above, this "breast cancer awareness" promotion is really stupid. it did not spread awareness on breast cancer on those choosing to participate, or for those who i) figured it out, and ii) did not. None of these categories of people did anything to actually learn any information breast cancer. All they did and learn was either expose their bra color or learn about their mother's/sister's/cousin's/friend's/grandma's bra color. oh yay, the breast cancer awareness message was "sent". like lisa said, the pink ribbons are everywhere, and at least people know from those products what the pink ribbon signifies, and that the products are fundraising for the cause. This stupid facebook crap did nothing but make guys think about healthy, bouncy breasts, and at the same time disgusted with their sister's status update. Oh, right, and make girls feel more sexy by exposing their bra color to the guy of their dreams on facebook. yay, for high school drama-equivalent promotional awareness of cancer.

    • The way I see it, anon, if even one person becomes aware of a certain disease, the campaign is a success. I was very curious to know why I saw colors as status updates from my friends, and when I did find out, I looked up breast cancer seriously on the internet. All the campaigns before this were on the paper and by the time I wanted to look it up, I had forgotten all about it.
      And if the girls on my list felt sexy about it, they did not show it. All they did when I asked them about it is giggle like preschoolers!

  • I commend you for writing this story! Unlike those above, I believe any conversation about cancer is MUCH better than no conversation at all. That is what usually happens, as many people think it's uncomfortable to talk about it. We need more, not less.

    Maybe we men need to do the same about our underwear to bring prostate and testicular cancer to the conversation.

    Status: white ;-)

  • we can always prevent cancer by regular self-breast exams.”: