Bra colors?

On Facebook yesterday, a bunch of my friends posted status messages containing only a color name. Or, in some cases, a brief description of a pattern.

After a dozen or so such messages, I saw someone explain that the idea was to post your underwear color.

It didn't occur to me to look at the gender of the people posting the colors. I don't know whether most of them were women or not.

Just now, I came across an article that explains that it was meant to be bra color, and that the goal was "to raise awareness for breast cancer research."

So now I'm curious. For those of you (both female and male) who didn't receive the supposed-to-be-for-women-only email explaining what was going on:

Did y'all know this was specifically meant to be bras, not other kinds of underwear?

Did y'all know it was specifically meant to be women (and not men) posting colors?

Did y'all know this had anything to do with breast cancer research?

I'm especially curious whether what was going on was more obvious (in the absence of the email explanation) to women than to men.

. . . I suppose a meme without an explanation can raise curiosity that leads to awareness, much like viral marketing campaigns. But the connection here feels pretty tenuous to me.

On the other hand, it appears that large numbers of people are searching for info about this (article says: 'At noon today, "color status on Facebook" was number 11 on Google Trends and was making fast gains on Twitter'), and there are articles about the meme all over the mainstream media, so maybe it's having exactly the intended effect.

(Added later: It occurs to me that this post may come across as a complaint, in various ways. If so, I'm sorry; it wasn't meant that way. It was intended more as an "Oh, huh, that's an interesting sociological phenomenon, and I'm curious to find out more about how (and how well) it worked." I didn't intend to criticize anyone who participated in it, or to denigrate or derail the important cause of raising awareness of breast cancer research.)

10 Responses to “Bra colors?”

  1. Haddayr

    Women were sending private messages to the women on their facebook list, explaining the whole thing.

    I thought it was stupid, but I did it to prove I’m not a snob, which is like trying to prove I’m not white. I now regret it.

  2. Vardibidian

    I’m male, and didn’t get any message addressed to me. I check Facebook two or three times a day—too much, I know, but I’m still new to it. Anyway, by the time I noticed the status messages with a color (and it seems most of my female FBF did not post such updates), one of my male FBF had updated explaining what was going on. So there it was.

    And to be a bit of a jerk about it, I’m afraid—not about the brassiere business, which seemed like a decent ratio of fun to annoying, but about the awareness-raising—what aspect of breast cancer research could be improved by Facebook accountholders being reminded of its existence? I mean, I know I make all kinds of unwarranted assumptions that people are Like Me, but I would have thought that almost all Facebook members know that breast cancer exists, is widespread and very serious, is being researched, and that research is underfunded at least in comparison to other medical conditions. I’m not sure awareness in that demographic could be much higher.

    Unless there is some particular breakthrough or political issue (perhaps an amendment to the Big Bill?) or fundraiser or something else that it was tied to of which I remain, perhaps ironically, unaware. I am rather hoping that was it. Otherwise, I really don’t see what the point was.


  3. Dan P

    I saw just one the first day, “Red,” and in context of other statuses from that person thought that it was a statement on their mental condition, possibly a joking safeword reference.

    A day or two later, I saw “White,” and my first thought to that was, “huh, are we running through the French/US flag colors?” I posted as much on FB, and was got a helpful hint about the breast cancer awareness thing — but at that point, I thought the colors were code for something along the lines of how long it had been since the poster’s last mammogram.

  4. jere7my

    To be fair, I had totally forgotten about cancer altogether until somebody said “Blue!” That brought it all back.

    To judge by the Twitterverse, at least as many women were confused as men.

  5. Nonny

    I’m female and received a message the day before yesterday. It was explained as a fun thing to “see if the guys figure it out”. Only later did I start receiving messages about breast cancer awareness.

    While I think the former is silly fun, the latter annoys me. Posting random colors on Facebook isn’t going to do anything for breast cancer awareness; if you want to support it, SAY SOMETHING, or donate, or any number of things.

    I’ve had a cancer scare, and the whole deal was just insulting.

  6. Debby B.

    I didn’t get the message (hate that out of the loop feeling), and I didn’t figure it out on my own. A man posted a funny comment about it and then every thing fell into place. Doesn’t Barbara Ehrenreich have a whole book about the cutseyfying of breast cancer research? However, there was this really cool interview on NPR with a multiple cancer survivor who makes t-shirts with jokes on them: Just laughing with them raised my awareness, so I’m not knocking bringing something to the forefront. Of course, the whole debate about when to get a mammogram and whom to trust about the research is on my mind already.

  7. Reinie

    I noticed the colors, but only found out the link to bra color when someone (a man) posted a joke on Facebook based on what was going on. Your post is the first one I see making the link to breast cancer (I admit that I didn’t go look for an explanation). So the answer to each of your three questions is “no”. As a side note, having a rather vivid imagination, I’d honestly rather not know what color all my friends’ bras are…

  8. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I got a dozen notes about it, one or two quite urgent, i.e., ‘you *need* to change the color…” They all annoyed me. I hate chain letters. Being for a worthy cause doesn’t change the spamminess of them.

  9. textjunkie

    Didn’t get the memo, but I only check my facebook account once a month or so. Sounds like a non-effective way to do anything about breast cancer, though. Good way to get people to think about breasts, but that’s only half the issue. 😉

  10. Jillian

    The only reference I saw to it at the time was a woman’s status complaining that it was a dumb idea — if you wanted to raise awareness about breast cancer, here were some links that were much more useful and less ridiculous.


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