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 pain and often considerable 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.

81 thoughts on “Unbelievable.

  1. I couldn’t agree more! My heart sank when this started doing the rounds on FB earlier today; one more stupid thing that does nothing really to support those with breast cancer. Thanks very much but I’ll be keeping my bra on and my prosthesis in it!

  2. You and me both. I saw this a few days ago and was basically appalled. What does going braless have to do with metastatic breast cancer awareness? Very insensitive to say the least. One of the worst things about pinktober to date.

  3. Philippa:

    I go without a bra more often than not because of my TRAM flap reconstructive surgery, which makes wearing a bra uncomfortable to downright painful. I’d like to know who is sponsoring this “event.” It’s tacky, insensitive and incredibly stupid. Shame on them.


    • I am still shaking my head in disbelief. It was posted on instagram (though I could not reach the link – maybe it has been removed) and gone viral on Facebook, with a few sensible comments but masses of cheap ones. It is shocking and sad. And as you say, takes absolutely no thought into the repercussions of surgery on bra-wearing 😦 Thanks for your comment, Debbie

  4. With the pain in my side EVERYDAY is no bra day . . . it’s also no right breast day . . . and take my meds day . . . and fight back cancer day . . .and wait for a cure day. Plus, this doesn’t even mention mets at all. I suspect the fellow who passed this around has now been put in his place. I’m hoping it was a misinformed, not-thought-out, why-did-i-do-that mistake.

  5. I ask anyone who has gotten this incredibly insensitive Facebook posting to share the following: Oct 13 is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Please note that Oct 13 is the ONE day of the WHOLE Breast Cancer Awareness Month that calls attention to those who have died (40,000 annually) and the 150,000 LIVING with this incurable disease. Know the facts: http://mbcn.org/developing-awareness/category/13-things-everyone-should-know-about-metastatic-breast-cancer/

    • Thank you so much for sharing this K – I am about to post right now on my FBG Facebook page and repeat regularly, and you have kindly provided me what I expect will be my blog post on 13th. Big hugs to you xox

    • Thank you! I am one of the 150,000. I’m getting sick, tired and angry with being objectified in popular media, and used as a marketing tool by business and industry. When will these people get it? Sharing on FB and wherever else I can think of.

  6. This ad is so offensive. And yes Oct 13th is supposed to be Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. 108 women die a day in the US alone of Metastatic Breast Cancer. This is so frustrating.

  7. Um, how about “support a breast-cancer CURE,” not “support breast cancer”. Breast cancer doesn’t need any support. It kills enough people already. Also how is not wearing a bra supposed to fight breast cancer or raise awareness? Totally asinine.

  8. It may only be the 7th of the month but I can’t imagine there will be anything to beat this for offensiveness and tackiness. I don’t know who is worse, the person who thought of this in the first place or those who think it is in any way appropriate. Come to think of it, even the strap line “Support Breast Cancer” is more than a little ill-conceived – but then again, that probably sums it up.

  9. When I saw this, my first thought was Support breast cancer? Hell no, I don’t support breast cancer. I support breast cancer awareness, and I support breast cancer research. And I support breast cancer survivors. But, no, I don’t support breast cancer. Poor choice of words. And my second thought was that a man created this. Who else would want women to go around bra-less except a man. Or an idiotic boy.

  10. Oh my goodness – I have just woken up to such a swathe of support and agreement on this, feeling quite overwhelmed. Thank you!

    Also, I have just corrected the missing “13th” in the first bullet point in this post – now hopefully it makes more sense. An example of the haste and angst writing this.

  11. I’m going to make a list of everything I hate about this image:
    – the poor choice of words “support breast cancer”, as others have mentioned
    – weird capitalization of the word breast
    – use of the baby word “ta-ta”
    – encouraging women to believe that if you don’t wear a bra you’re somehow supporting cancer patients or research or anything meaningful

  12. I have not commented on a blog before but you ladies have said everything I have been thinking and feeling since I first saw this on Facebook. Maybe it is something that only those of us that have had or have breast cancer can understand the anger and disgust with it.

  13. This ad is insulting. I don’t wear a bra because I have nothing left to put in one. My “tatas” were set free by a bilateral mastectomy. I haven’t even been able to get prosthetics yet so that I can look normal even WITH a bra and clothes. Once I finish chemo and start radiation therapy, I probably won’t be able to wear a bra for a while either because of the skin damage. Seeing a bunch of women “setting their tatas free” on October 13 won’t do squat to help me or keep somebody else from ending up like me. Thank you for your post which was right on.

    • Thanks for your comment and highlighting the reality. When you say “seeing a bunch of women …won’t do squat to help me or keep somebody else from ending up like me” says it in a nutshell. At a push, it might prompt some to check or follow up a concern but it will neither prevent nor cure. And that is really what is needed.

  14. OK, so done a bit of research (tough job, but someone has to, etc…). Unless there is more than one Anastasia Metlenko in Sacramento or she has had her identity stolen, it seems that http://nationalnobraday.webs.com/apps/profile/76919758/ was launched on 9th July 2011 by an 18-year-old Sacramento City College student, actress and police volunteer of that name who was probably well-intentioned:


    Since then, it seems (unsurprisingly) to have become a bit of a perv-fest. Maybe the move to 13th October was a misguided attempt to get some seriousness back. Moral of the story ? A teenager ‘freeing her boobies’ as an act of empowerment shouldn’t be surprised if the world can’t see the empowerment for the embonpoint…

  15. Honestly, I saw this and thought someone was pulling a fast one on us. I truly thought it was a pathetic joke. They can’t be serious..can they???

    • That was my first thought too, but whether it is a joke or not it is being taken seriously by those who think it is “cool” as well as those of us who think it is appalling! Oh my goodness!!

  16. This makes me snap! I have been quiet so far about pinktober but as my symptoms of brain mets return only 1 month after whole brain radiation, and I am forced to do my will, and end of life arrangements by myself plus the 1 year anniversary of my stage IV diagnosis coming up next week, this just makes me want to physically attack the girl who created this monstrosity and yell at her why? Why did she had to do this?!? Last night on Facebook, I saw an even more offensive post about this no bra day and went to bed so mad, then woke up to your post about it, I’m so upset ugggggggggh, really what is wrong with people? They had to pick October 13th out of the whole month for their stupid idea!

    • This is exactly why it upset me too, even though I am not stage 4 – I am so sorry to hear it has caused you such grief at such poor timing too. I still cannot believe this – is it a sick joke or the utmost in juvenile insensitivity? I don’t honestly know 😦

      I do know how much I appreciate your comment, and am thinking of you. (((hugs)))

  17. Well, maybe we ought to raise their “awareness” and show them what breast cancer really looks like – not just braless, but topless, scars, misshaped and missing boobs, and all! Don’t worry, I’m keeping the bra and foob on. But this is just plain sick.

    • I’m thinking something real on 13th would be a good way to challenge this…..Yes I keep the afters of breast cancer treatment well under wraps, it is not pretty.

      This is just so disrespectful and inappropriate.

  18. Anything short of peoples dollars going to research is inadequate. This “support campaign” not only doesn’t make ANY sense, it’s just stupid.

  19. This is just disgusting. I am fed up with media sexualizing breast cancer, and these idiotic facebook “campaigns” for “awareness”.. Yet, I think people would be shocked if women who had survived breast cancer did indeed post topless pictures of themselves. It certainly wouldn’t put such a ridiculous face on a serious, deadly disease.

  20. I shared this to Facebook and it touched a nerve with a lot of my friends who have been sharing the link all over the place. I am going to talk about it in my next blog post in the hope of spreading the word at how this kind of trash does nothing to help anyone affected by breast cancer at all. Thank you again for posting it! x

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  22. This ad came along at the right time for a lot women that have faught a long and courageous battle.Unfortunatley some are not here today but on the same token we have a lot of survivors that are still here by the grace of god.I think its safe to say that most if not all the women that fell victims of this horrible cancer were here today would have a totally different opinion than alot of the negative post related to this topic.Im guessing that less than 5% of the negative post here have never sat in a waiting room waiting to hear if the surgeons got all the cancer.Have to sit with a loved one having biopsy after byopsy.Even sometimes hearing your wife or mother scream in pain from having 9 lymph nodes removed at one time.Getting up every 4 hours giving pain meds due to having a full mastectomy,emptying drain tubes everyday,writing down how many cc’s every single time.Not having your wife sleep in the same bed with you for over 3 months because she is in too much pain to lay flat.After all wounds have healed then comes the reconstructive surgery.You have been to the doctors so much by this point you just think its the norm.Then the stretching of the skin begins every week to try and give this courageous women back some kind of purpose,dignity and sense of pride.After they have gone through weeks of stretching the skin, its surgery again to insert the implants .Then come more doctor apps. and not sleeping in the same bed with your husband for another 4 to 5 weeks.You know what,I couid go on and on and on but its getting late and I have a date with a whitetail buck in the morning.So ladies,what im trying to say is be proud of the breast that god gave you because tonight you could be doing a self check tonight and feel something that doesnt feel just right and that washed over feeling could be the begining of a long journey for you.I hope and pray nobody ever gets cancer again forever ! Cancer Sucks !
    God Bless Everyone !
    Husband of double mastectomy cancer survivor.
    I love you Ann

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and heartfelt comment, and understanding of what the reality of breast cancer and the major surgery and treatment involved. I am sorry to hear that your wife has had such a rough ride, I am warmed though by the love and support you show 🙂

      The greatest majority of comments here are from people who have themselves been diagnosed and either going through or been through treatment. From my perspective the criticism stems from the inappropriateness of this ad and not the lack of importance of checking. At a push, this ad might prompt some women to check or follow up a concern but it will neither prevent nor cure. And that is really what is needed. Not wearing a bra for the day is neither appropriate or helpful in my view.

      I wish you both well and your wife continued recovery.

  23. Full disclaimer: I am not a survivor nor did I ever have anyone close to me go through the ordeal of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. I was reluctant about commenting, as I truly do believe that you cannot know what it is like to be a bat, unless you are a bat. I am still going to speak up hoping my words will be understood as well intentioned, as they are. I do agree with most of what was said about the amount of insensitivity to the issues survivors face daily that is present in the ad. I too feel disgust at numerous campaigns sexualizing breast cancer. That said, I see a valid point this one might be trying to make.
    Bras are one way women conform to western standards of beauty. *Most* women actually look “better” (closer to those standards) when wearing a bra. When we do wear bras, we are in a way setting those standards. Which is why I don’t wear one. Ever. And I do know it is easy for me to do so, because my body does look typical, symmetrical. But I still do it, and for the same reason I buzz my hear off. Average is normal. And we can change what average is, by changing who we are. So I’ve made a conscious decision to make my self less “beautiful”. Realizing the shame cancer survivors feel about their appearance is what prompted me to do this. I might be giving the authors of the campaign too much credit, but I think it has potential if this is what they were trying to get at. Not wearing a bra for most women would mean excepting their body as is, not feeling any shame about it, nor the need to match an arbitrary social norm of what it is supposed to look like. I feel that we would *all* feel better about ourselves if we could do this, cancer survivors or not.

    • Thank you for your comment, and I do appreciate it in the spirit in which you intended it. You brought a perspective which I had not specifically thought of, about body image and whether that might have been the key message behind this ad. I am still not clear what the intent is to be absolutely honest.

      Your comment did give me a lot to think about, and I will try and put across that those thoughts came up with……

      I hear what you say about conforming and that looking different can push boundaries of comfort and make people stop and think. Also the importance of not feeling that we have to hide our bodies either for our own discomfort or that of others. I personally do not feel ashamed of my shape and the significant changes which cancer treatment has brought me, but I would be dishonest to say I was happy with what I am left with. The issue for me though, having thought about your comment is less about hiding the fact that I have had radical surgery, but more about the private and personal nature of the surgery. I go to great pains to try to make my surgery look less obvious, not out of shame but out of modesty and privacy. It is a very different thing walking about with no hair, or a prosthetic limb perhaps, which in themselves would push the boundaries of comfort for others, to exposing a part of the body which is more private. It would not make me feel better about myself if I were to spend a day without my breast prosthesis and bra, and furthermore would be extremely uncomfortable as well as embarressed.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective so respectfully.

  24. I cannot believe this so called Ad – beyond insensitive – especially to the ‘well endowed’ – I have not experienced Breast Cancer, but I too am offended by this!

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