Friday, January 8, 2010

What colour bra are you wearing?

"Is this campaign really increasing cancer awareness or is it just baiting male fantasy?"

If you use Facebook, you’ve probably noticed a rainbow of colours appearing under your friends’ status updates. The colours, as it turns out, correspond with the bras that the friends are wearing at the time they updated their status. Since my art is largely about gender, sexuality, fashion and colour (in fact, tonight I plan to take advantage of a sale at Victoria's Secret to buy lacy underwear in as many pastel shades as possible for a new series), I cannot resist blogging on the combination of undergarments and colour.

Facebook has been used for a lot of things, many of which make me cringe. One of its functions is reminiscent of chain letters. My least favourite posts are the ones that try to guilt recipients into reposting faith-based proclamations. Sorry, but I cannot picture God monitoring Facebook and keeping score. Anyway, back to the issue at hand, the recent colour status trend was made possible by a viral campaign exchanged between women which read, “Some fun is going on.... just write the colour of your bra in your status. Just the color, nothing else. And send this on to ONLY women, no men .... It will be neat to see if this will spread the wings of cancer awareness. It will be fun to see how long it takes before the men will wonder why all the girls have a color in their status...” The ladies are then supposed to write only a colour as their status.

Personally, I doubt the success of this venture. For one thing, I didn’t receive the expository email until late in the game, so I initially assumed that it was about racial empowerment when an African American friend’s status read ‘black.’ Then a Caucasian high school acquaintance updated her status as white, and I found myself hoping it had nothing to do with race. Frankly, I’m not willing to disclose the colour of my undergarments, in part because I use Facebook in professional contexts, but also because it is not anyone’s business.

Is this campaign really increasing cancer awareness or is it just baiting male fantasy? Based on the reactions of male Facebook users that I’ve seen, the result is bewilderment (responses range from “?????????????” to “Hey Girls. What the heck’s going on??”) and a lack of seriousness (one male friend updated his status to ‘orange’). I’m not a complete curmudgeon. I laughed out loud when I saw his ‘orange’ status.

I’m not saying there is no power in word-of-mouth advertising (in fact, in the past 24 hours, 16 of my friends have updated their status). That’s why I’m envisioning a campaign that goes something like this: “Re. the recent colour status campaign, ask yourself, does exposing the colour of our bras really help spread the wings of cancer awareness? Consider writing a number (just a number) as your next status indicating how many months it’s been since your last professional breast exam. And send this on to your lady friends.”

By the way, my answer is two. And that information I’m proud to share. Why? Because cancer runs rampant in my family, and breast cancer has affected the lives of too many people I love.

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