The most recent internet meme to hit Facebook is the “What Color is Your Bra?” trend, in which women update their status with a color to represent the color of their bra at the time. At the centre of the viral movement is a message claiming that this status update is for the sake of breast cancer awareness. At this point no one is owning up to starting the movement, although Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation is reaping the benefits while the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation have connected with an alternative approach.
The “What Color Is Your Bra?” appears to have been around in 2009, as indicated by the Yahoo Answers question dated December 29, 2009. It appears that the earlier versions of the Bra Color meme had no connection with the breast cancer cause. The movement built momentum in the first week of January with the following version of a chain letter, sent from friend to friend.
“Some fun is going on for breast cancer awareness … just write the color of your bra in your status. Just the color. Nothing else. Send this ONLY to girls. No men. It will be neat to see if this spreads the wings of cancer awareness. It’ll be fun to see how long it takes for the men to wonder why all the girls have a color in their status. LOL!”
The Susan G Komen Foundation began Friday 8th January with 135 fans on their Facebook page. By 5:30 in the evening, they had 135,000. As of today they now have 138,606 fans.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has found a way to make the most of the current Facebook “meme” of posting the colour of one’s bra for the cause of breast cancer. They’ve connected up with the “Not Posting The Color of Your Bra” Facebook group, encouraging members to visit their site and those of other North American societies to donate money or volunteer their time.
“The purpose of this group isn’t to bash people who are posting colors as their statuses. The purpose is to promote better and more effective ways of raising awareness, as well as encouraging people to donate their time, and funds to various cancer societies around the world. The bras colors “game” is an ineffective method of doing this compared to education, discussion, volunteering and donation. The game is only understood by those who received the message explaining it, and a mystery to others. The message that was sent around called for women to “keep this a secret from the boys” even though men are affected by breast cancer as well. Although men are less likely to become ill with it, men have wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, nieces, cousins, and female friends and coworkers who can be affected by it as well.
What we need is a widespread message of hope, without excluding any group of people. Members of this group have already made donations to the cancer society of their choice, and offered great suggestions like posting a picture of a friend or loved one who lost their struggle with cancer to your profile, and share their story, changing their profile picture to the pink ribbon, or finding out how to volunteer at their local cancer society.”