Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Case of the Bra Brouhaha

Anyone who frequented Facebook this week knows at least part of this story. But according to the Washington Post, we may never know the whole tale.

Back in July, a British group promoting breast cancer awareness was formed on Facebook; it invited women to post the color of their bra in their status update. They languished throughout subsequent months with only a handful of fans. As of Friday, their membership had jumped to over 30,000.

Somehow, early this week, a chain letter email began to circulate on Facebook. Addressed only to the female of the species, it suggested that it would be fun to post bra color in status updates, without explaining why, or even what. The ladies were instructed to post just one or two words to describe their bra. So, toward the end of the week, status updates across the globe began to pop up: black, pink, biege, cinammon, none, nude, etc. The idea here, apparently, was to peak the interest of others, who would respond to each update with a "Whaaaaat???", giving an opportunity to be reminded about the toll breast cancer continues to take.

That laudable goal fell by the wayside for many, who just ended up having fun with their status updates. I've read that some ladies were offended by the fun-loving and somewhat cavalier way breast cancer was being treated.

I stepped inadvertantly into the Facebook Fad Thursday night. I had not been reading anybody's status updates, so I have no idea how many of my female friends were announcing "powder blue with lace" on their walls. I had crawled into bed and glanced out the window to see that snow had begun to fall. I lazily picked up my I-Touch, logged onto Facebook, and typed one word: "Snow."

When I woke up, I had a "like" response from my friend John (probably a bit tongue in cheek, since his home in Chicago is usually buried in the stuff), and a question from my friend Angie, who asked if that was the color of my bra? I replied I was unaware that bras came in shades of inclement weather, and asked what color drought may look like. It wasn't until later in the day that I detected what was going on with my other female friends, and the mini-controversy which was developing.

I consider myself a victim of breast cancer. Though I've never had it, I watched my mother suffer for a decade while that cancer slowly distroyed her; I feel very victimized by the disease. I have no problem whatsoever with anything which brings awareness of this ruthless killer front and center. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (they are the folks who sponsor the annual Walks throughout the country) began the week with only 135 Fans of their Facebook page. They ended the week with 135,000. That's a score in my book.

I suppose I can sympathize with those nay-saying folks who feel the issue is being treated too frivolously. If you've undergone chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, maybe you don't want everyone around you giggling about bra colors. But I have to applaud the ingenuity of this one gent, who playfully sent this message through the Facebook universe. He warned of an imaginary virus being transmitted through the original "Post your bra color" missives.

He advised, "To fix it, you must remove your bra, then go to Setting>Enable Webcam> Record Movie. Please re-post to your status."