My Beef with #nobraday
Before I share what’s been on my mind for these last two days, I first want to say that I am ALL about raising awareness about cancer and finding a cure. I am in no way disregarding cancer survivors (I am one) or their triumphs at all.
That being said, I was pretty miffed at the whole #nobraday campaign that started trending on Tuesday in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Actually, I was enraged. I shared a few thoughts on Facebook on Tuesday, but I really felt the need to expand on it, because #nobraday is the latest way to do nothing about cancer.
We live in a world where social media dictates our lives. I know it dictates mine. I’m influenced by what I see on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. When a friend posts about an amazing meal they had at a restaurant, I tell Dustin that I want to check it out. When I see my favorite youtube beauty blogger rave about the newest Morphe palette, I order it. I’m not an exception to how the media influences me and my choices. However, I do think that there is a serious problem with how campaigns to raise awareness for diseases are becoming trends.
It all started with the Ice Bucket challenge. What started with good intentions (to raise awareness about ALS) turned into a social media fad. Everyone wanted an excuse to dump ice water on their friends and family. People started trying to one up each other; who could produce the biggest water dump or get the most people in one swoop. Video montages were created of Ice Bucket challenges gone wrong. People actually got hurt in grand schemed operations. And somewhere along those lines, the cause got lost. The Ice Bucket Challenge became a fad, a trend, something “fun” to do and not many people understood the reason behind it. I watched a youtube video of a news reporter asking various people if they had participated in the challenge. Those who said yes were asked if they knew what it was for. Only one person said ALS.
Watching the #nobraday trend on Facebook and Twitter hurt my heart for those Breast Cancer fighters and survivors. I saw hundreds of pictures of women in flimsy t-shirts and even some bare skin, flaunting their chests for the whole world to see. Did you know that most women who are fighting breast cancer lose one or both breasts? That the rates of bilateral mastectomies are rising? Do they need the constant reminder of what they have lost by watching other women walk around without their bras and their “tatas free” to raise awareness. I assure you they are perfectly aware of what they have lost. Some people argue that any publicity or awareness is better then none, but that’s true only to a certain extent. When the campaign is twisted and changed to be all about braless boobs instead of supporting cancer survivors, when people use it as a reason to further their agenda (like those from the #freethenipple campaign or those who feel like it’s an opportunity to talk about being a feminist and rebelling against “man’s invention to rape your chest”<—literally a tweet I read) Walking around without bras may raise some kind of awareness, but does it really do anything for for those with cancer? Does it get them closer to a cure?
I am not a breast cancer survivor, but I am a cancer survivor, and let me tell you, cancer is not a joke. It doesn’t give a crap about what color you are wearing or if you specifically bought the pink box of cereal over the regular plain one. Cancer is not a trend or a fad or something you simply hashtag. Cancer is real and cancer is capable of killing. Cancer is being trapped in a body that is betraying your will to live. Cancer is watching poison sifting into your veins, killing every living thing (good and bad) in your body. Cancer is food turning to cardboard in your mouth and feeding tubes and mouth sores. Cancer is watching your body become disfigured as doctors try to remove your tumors. Cancer is watching 17 children on your hospital floor between the ages of 1 and 17 die over the span of your treatment. Cancer is the shadow you are always looking over your shoulder for, waiting for it to come back in the middle of the night for you. Cancer is something I would never wish on someone I know, someone I love or even someone I hate.
That’s what cancer is. It’s not a trend. It’s not a reason to walk around with your boobs in the air. It’s not a reason to free the nipple. It’s not a reason to fill my twitter feed with naked women showing off their goods. It’s not a reason to sexualize a disease. It’s a killer. It takes mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, and children and it has to be stopped.
Keep your bra on. If you want to actually do something about it, DONATE to the cause! And if you don’t have money, donate your time. Visit a cancer survivor, donate a blanket or make some hats. And then, if you still need to hashtag, use #idonated or #imhelpingfindacure. That’s what really matters here.