Pinktober Guest Post: Feisty Blue Gecko

Pink-to-ber A portmanteau coinage used by many people who live with breast cancer to refer to October, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is heavily dominated by marketing in the color pink and cute tags like “Save the tatas”. (See Komen, etc.)

During the month of October 2013, I am running guest posts from people with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) or who are closely involved with someone who has MBC. This was the idea of the wonderful Jody Schoger, and I think some other breast cancer bloggers are participating, too.

Today’s post is exceptional in a couple of ways. First of all, it’s just exceptional. It is a superb response to my candidate for this year’s Biggest Idiocy in Pink award. It is exceptional in the strict sense because Feisty Blue Gecko does not, thank God, have metastatic breast cancer. However, I am including it in this series as an exception because of the first reason. I’m sorry if I just made you dizzy. Please don’t forget to check out Feisty Blue Gecko’s blog, and let’s give her some comment love here. Now, over to FBG:

. . .

It takes quite a lot to rev my temper engine, but this is beyond my comprehension. Offensive, insensitive to the extreme and in my view, utterly useless.


These are just a few reasons that this has incensed me:

  • October 13th is the sole day dedicated to Metastatic Breast Cancer, in itself woefully inadequate.
  • Many women have had surgery which means that not wearing a bra is in the least extremely uncomfortable.
  • Many of us are trying to hide the fact that our surgery brings significant asymmetry – not wearing a bra would be excruciatingly embarrassing.
  • Most surgery for breast cancer brings at best pain and at worst restriction in range of movement.  Waving your arms in the air (as in the image above) is another indication of how far removed this is from reality.
  • What about men?????

So, what on earth could not wearing a bra for a day possibly achieve? 

Not awareness. Not respect. Not much needed research. Not action.

And certainly not a cure.

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21 Responses

  1. helensamia says:

    Unbelievably insensitive

  2. AnneMarie says:

    I have a rant on Facebook and a post going up in a couple of hours on my blog… Yeah, Philippa was far more eloquent. I tend to get those Italian emotions boiling….


  3. Maxine D says:

    Well if I went without a bra I would look like a battleship wallowing around in a storm, and would achieve NOTHING! (apart from my own embarrassment and sore boobies by the end of the day!) What insensitive idiocy! Yes I am also angry!!
    Here in NZ there is an emphasis on pink-tober, and fund raising for research, but I thankfully have not seen this #$@%&* (oops, I meant nonsense)!!!!!!

    Prayers and blessings

    • Thanks for your comment – yes, I completely fail to see how it would achieve anything at all. It is interesting to hear the NZ take – here in Myanmar I am working with a small group of women to organise the beginnings of awareness and action…… very early days.

  4. dear KT, thank you for sharing Philippa’s post on this hideously insensitive, demeaning, and idiotic ad. it is so NOT a message anyone who cares about any type of breast cancer wants to see; and it does make me angry. Philippa’s last point, asking the question of what could going bra-less for a day possibly achieve is right on. love and light, XOXOXO, karen

    • Karen, how lovely to see you here 🙂 and thank you for your comment. I think it is so sad that so many of us are angry about this, and it feels like a massive move backwards. Sigh. I am, however, astounded by the level of consensus and support shown against this ill-conceived campaign – I guess that shows that it is hard to see anything benefit at all here. The only comments agreeing with the ad are, from what I have seen, juvenile and sleazy. sigh. Much love and light to you too xox

  5. BlondeAmbition says:

    I’m waiting to see which one of my FB “friends” is the first to post this travesty … I already received one email to participate in the FUN breast cancer FB game — which was even more revolting as it was from a woman that I ‘mentored’ at the request of a friend when she was diagnosed four years ago and we shared the same doctors. No good deed goes unpunished, right? ; ) I’ve been tolerant and accepting of her embracing all things pink (and trust me, ALL YEAR it’s Every.Ribbon.Bedecked.Meme she can find) but I had to restrain myself from going crazy when I received the FB message. To my credit … I refrained from messaging back the entire group (some overly sensitive people acquaintances have defriended me in years past). But I DID send her a thoughtful email explaining my views and asking that she not include me in such things going forward.

    But THIS … this bra-less travesty makes the BC “game” pale in comparison. Is there a competition that we don’t know about awarding people to come up with the most insensitive and offensive awareness campaigns EVER? Ugh, ugh, and UGH!

    • Shari Larsen says:

      I’ve already gotten that message about that “game” on Facebook from 3 people already. I wish I were better with words so that I could better explain why I don’t want to participate without offending anyone; like you, I have a few overly sensitive Facebook friends too.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Thank you! I had the same reaction when I saw that image posted by a friend also, but I couldn’t think of what to say. So I just stayed quiet. Your words say it, and say it well.

    • Thank you so much. I saw the image on my way for my six monthly checks and annual scans so was already feeling more than a little uptight. I boarded my flight and by the time the end of the day came I knew I just had to rant! It was brewing inside my mind and I had to express just how awful it made me feel.

  7. Shari Larsen says:

    I am living with stage IV breast cancer, and I just had no words when I first saw this posted on Facebook. I have also had a bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, so I think this would also be offensive to women with any stage of breast cancer that have had to go through a mastectomy.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment – it is really hard to understand how this could be seen as anything other than utterly inappropriate and offensive, especially when living with stage IV. Not wearing bra is a ludicrous suggestion. Very warm wishes to you

  8. I don’t have breast cancer – but I have degenerative disc disease. Many days are bra free days for me, for to put on a bra means extra pain. I do not see what the co-relation between breast cancer in any form and wearing a bra is, personally. Men don’t wear bras – so it is at best an uninformed choice. As far as the facebook game – I simply forward it to men as well, with the note that its for breast cancer awareness, and as human beings, they too have breasts. That’s what I did last year, anyway. This year I am using my best powers of ignore, as I have been way too busy to deal with it.

    • Thank you for bringing your perspective to the conversation. Absolutely – wearing a bra or not is based on choices which have nothing to do with raising awareness for breast cancer, and as for selecting something from which men are excluded? It so adds to the meaninglessness of the whole thing.

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