I was going to wait until the day to post this, but after seeing some posts already on Facebook about it feel it may be better served beforehand to educate.
This is a day that I dread, one that makes me cringe. As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And October 13 has been deemed national No Bra Day or Free the TaTas.
I am the daughter of a woman who not only fought breast cancer but won that fight. And not only one fight, but multiple times. Her fight spanned across many years, each one being tough in it's own way. From 1981 through 1989 she battled and fought. And throughout it all, she only asked God for one thing...to allow her to live long enough to raise her daughter.
From her perspective, those years had to be frightening. The first surgery she had in 1981, she nearly lost her life. The cancer was more advanced than they first anticipated, and a partial mastectomy had to be performed. The next battle resulted in a complete mastectomy. And the last battle included chemo and radiation.
When she first found out she had cancer, I was only six years old. I can remember playing with the neighbor kids and waving to her as my Grandpa took her to the hospital for her first surgery. I can remember hearing whispers of her condition when I was around. I can remember crying, because I just wanted my Mama home. I can remember the look on her face the first time she showed me her changed body riddled with staples. I can remember the nights she spent sick from chemo and radiation. The days her stomach would only allow her to eat rice. And the morning I found her passed out on the floor because her white blood cell count had dropped.
The intent of this post isn't to gain sympathy, but rather to give you a glimpse of what the reality of breast cancer is.
Her and I have had many, many discussions about No Bra Day and Free the Tatas. And to a breast cancer survivor, to a woman who fought to live so she could raise her daughter, to a woman that spent many days sick from radiation and chemo these campaigns are completely offensive. Not only offensive but also belittling and demeaning to the pain and suffering she endured.
This is a great post from a survivor and I think sums up most of their thoughts on this:
The thought of seeing bra-less women flaunting two body parts that I have lost to cancer — more than I already see this on a regular day — does not feel all that supportive. In fact, it feels quite the opposite
I don't understand how on earth could a day where girls and women are encouraged to post and share photos of their braless breasts is to be “supportive” for women who are living with or who have died from breast cancer, or who have managed to ‘complete’ the arduous treatments and disfiguring surgeries required to put them into remission?
And as my Mama said:
It's as much as them saying "Look, I have them and you don't."
This day, which many buy into, is nothing more than sexualizing breast cancer. It's sexualized by social media users who use the campaign as an excuse to post pictures of themselves topless with no intention of promoting breast cancer awareness or donating to research charities. And that, my friends, is sad. Breast cancer isn't sexy, it's devastating.
I suggest we change October 13 to National Check For Lumps Day, or perhaps National Get Yourself To The Doctor Before It’s Too Late Day. Cancer patients don’t have time for cuteness when it comes to the potentially fatal disease they’re faced with. They do, on the other hand, have an appreciation for realism and action.
Ask a real survivor what you can do to promote breast cancer awareness or how you can honor her fight. Their answers would include get a mammogram, run a race, donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation or simply be there for someone fighting a battle.
Taking your bra off isn't the answer.