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Opinion | Sexuality

Facebook and the Amazing Technicolor Bra Update

Does the bra-color meme—meant to raise cancer awareness—end up hurting women more than it helps them?

If you logged on to Facebook last weekend, you might have noticed a barrage of updates naming colors: Blue. Black. Leopard print. None. (Cue sound effects: "Eww, gross!")

The barrage of colors was part of an effort to "spread the wings of cancer awareness" and "see how long it takes before the men will wonder why all the girls have a color in their status," according to the chain message passed around Facebook.

The color posts also elicited a blogosphere debate about whether the campaign is appropriate or even raises breast cancer awareness in the first place.

Mary Carmichael at Newsweek's Human Condition blog wrote, "In the age of exposed bra straps and outerwear as underwear, this campaign doesn't strike me as very risqufamp;copy;—typing in the word "beige" is a far cry from dirty talk. But ultimately, what's the point of it? Almost all the people who are updating their status boxes with bra colors are doing only that. They're not saying a word about cancer. This isn't awareness or education; it's titillation."

"Sall" over at Feministing.com went a step further, saying the trend "created a new platform to objectify millions of women and reduced them to their body parts."

One of my own (male) friends' updates on Friday read: "weirdest day ever on FB—beige, purple, leopard, polka dots, blue, black. TMI [too much information]." While I tend to agree ...

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