Take Two on The Facebook Bra Status Meme


Drinking and/or working.

Image by parislemon via Flickr


Do you recall the cutesy coy Breast Cancer Awareness meme that swept Facebook last October during the annual “save the boobies” month that the Pink People Awareness brigade foist on us year after year?

The idea was that only women (‘cuz we have 3D breasts is my understanding and men don’t) would know the meaning of the mysterious status updates that ran along the lines of “mine is polka-dotted and lacy” or “I have a sea-foam green one”.

Though the women who participated were referring to the colors of their bras, the updates were meant to titillate and confuse men. Because that’s what women do best, right and why God bothered to create us (as an afterthought, I might add) in the first place.

I didn’t participate for two reasons. The first is that I don’t wear a bra. I didn’t burn it or anything, and it’s got nothing to do with any of my feminist tendencies. I just don’t like them. The other reason is that it was stupid.

Why does breast cancer awareness have to be titillating (well aware of the pun – move along)? Or pink-tinged? Or based in lament about the loss of diseased flesh that happens to fit inside the totally male invention of the bra?

And while I am here, why are my breasts more important than my lungs or my ovaries or my colon?

I ranted a bit about it at the time. Was dismissed as an old lady feminist killjoy and moved on … to this year when I received this message:

Really? This is the path to female domination of the world? Facebook meme’s that are the social media equivalent of those grade school “girls’ only” clubs we once thought would secure us a little control in a boys’ only world?

Power and influence. Dare to dream.

Maybe someone will blog it for the Huff’po and it will become a trending topic in the Twitsphere. If that happens then Jon Stewart is sure to make snide comments about it in his opening and Fox news will toss it to those morons on their morning show, which means that the ladies on The View will have to cackle over it for a few minutes, pondering the social influence and reach of women today.

Because as we all know conquering web space is … exactly nothing.

Will it give us parity in Congress? Abolish the double standard? Free us from the tyranny of photo-shopped female images or frozen foreheads?

I think not. Though I could be wrong even as I doubt that highly.

The reason this type of schoolgirl nonsense isn’t power is best illustrated by the fact that men don’t similarly engage in fluffy social media attention-drawing antics – unless they are Ashton Kutcher.

Would men pass around a super double-secret FB message instructing each other to leave a cryptic status update?

Hey Guyfriends! We’re going to play a girls’ not allowed status update meme where we name our favorite place to ogle women (or men if you orient that way). Just update your status with something like: I only do it at the grocery store. And don’t add anything more.  It will drive those out of the loop (the loop being men and really, does anyone else truly need to be “in the loop”?) crazy. Most importantly – don’t tell. We’ll wait until the MSM picks up on this and then only our most important members of the brotherhood (not you Ashton Kutcher!) can stand spokesmen for us all.

This is a way to demonstrate what a force to be acknowledged even more than the force we are. So get that update active!

And then it would sweep the Internet until President Obama updated with “I only do it in The White House” and Glenn Beck – who only does it in the sanctity of his own married bed – outs the meme by wondering which intern Obama was referring to and then it’s a blue dress hunt circa 1997 all over again.

If women wanted to flex a rusty muscle, why don’t they simply stop shopping for a week? Or even a day.  Say the day after Thanksgiving. They could just stay home.

Or they could declare October to be a ladies’ holiday.  No work.  No parenting.   No transporting, laundry or sex*.  Every day we’d met up for coffee and head off to free yoga classes before having dinner out with friends and coming home to nestle in our snuggies and watch whatever reality horror is masquerading as television.

Maybe we should refuse to vote for male candidates. We will only vote for the woman on the ballot and if there isn’t one, we’ll write one in.

That’s power.

But instead, we’re going to “tease” men with not so vague sexual innuendo, give ourselves a collective pat (on the head) and call ourselves “clever”.

The women of Stepford couldn’t have been trained any better than we are.

*The sex strike thing is an old idea that dates back to a play from Ancient Greece called the Lysistrata. In it, women stage a martial bed boycott to try and force their husbands to give up on a war they have been waging. Though they initially stand together and nearly succeed, in the end, one of them breaks ranks and the rest soon follow and the men go back to being “men”. It’s interesting in that the men at first don’t take the women seriously and believe that they will give up their strike because – being women – they aren’t single-minded and focused enough and that they ultimately can’t put aside their individual wants for the good of the group – which proves to be true.

12 thoughts on “Take Two on The Facebook Bra Status Meme

  1. I agree that the whole facebook bra-thing was/is completely stupid. It seems like facebook is the source of the laziest excuses for “activism” that any activist could ever dream up.

    But I’m also concerned about your claims on an October ladies’ holiday and/or writing in female candidates on the ballot by virtue of their being female. I mean, depriving myself of sex with my girlfriend for a month sounds more like Lent than “liberation,” and if I were going to take off a month from work, I’d certainly want to spend a lot of that time hanging out with my kids who, let’s face it, do not get enough of my time.

    A dialogue around “XX” solidarity inevitably begs the question, “WHICH women? Who counts?” What about those of us who are XXY?

    Rallying around anti-shopping politics only includes women who have enough money to shop in the first place. In one of your comments you claim, “We spend our formative years being cowed by this queen bee or that as though we should all see female-ness the same.” Here it seems like you are erring on the side of a multiplicity of perspectives and a critique on identity politics that would take difference into account as something substantive. Yet in the next comment you remark, “what’s the most frustrating is we encourage the notion that we can’t unite on simply the XX – that our differences are too important to allow for that. WTF? Until we put aside the details (because that’s all these differences really are) we will NEVER be equal nor will our daughters, theirs and the ones that aren’t even twinkles in the eye of the universe yet.”

    So my questions for you are:
    1.) Is it feminism if it seeks to designate race, class, gender identification, and citizenship status as minutiae?
    2.) Sex equality with whom? With men? Equality means sameness. Insofar as sex presupposes difference and the difference, sex, is what makes us not equal to men, then it seems as though equality on the basis of sex is a conundrum. See: Catharine MacKinnon, “Difference and Dominance” On Sex Discrimination.”

    3.) If refusing to have sex with men, for instance, is somehow a key to liberation, then why even mention “our daughters” and “our daughter’s daughters?” Isn’t there “no future” for a politics that seeks liberation through non-reproductive activity?

    Your Thoughts?

    1. Which women? And that’s our problem in one of a couple of nutshells. We immediately fly to the exceptions and the reason why we can’t simply shoulder together.

      The sex? Is just a reference to the Lysistrata – which I have linked and asterick’e to prevent further misunderstanding.

      Writing in or voting for woman is not an inane idea – though male media pundits have long pounced on the idea of women voting for women as the reason why we shouldn’t have been given the vote in the first place. All things being equal – and they usually are- why not vote for the woman? Until we have parity in Congress and at the state legislative level we are subject to laws that don’t take our needs as “not men” into account. Our voices need to be actually heard on the floors of legislative bodies as voting participants. But even when there is a female candidate, women don’t vote for her, and Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell aside, most female candidates would make find legislaturers. In many cases better ones than the male (usually incumbent) choices who often have proven track records as bought and paid for P.O.S’s.

      I am not sure what you are asking with your first question.

      Equality means what I said previously, equal say in the laws of the land (and in defining society/community). After all, we are more than half the work force, hold the majority of degrees (and PhD’s now too) and we still are judged by our looks, our parenting or not, and a host of other things that men are never held to account for.

      And as I only mention “sex” once, I wonder why you seized on it? Or linked it to “the our daughters” reply I made to someone with whom I have a long standing discussion with on the topic? I think perhaps you are projecting.

  2. Word for word, what Ember said ^^
    What’s more annoying for me is the number of women who I really love and respect who are going along with it. I may have to take a break from FB until it tides over.
    Also this meme was suggested to me almost a year ago, by a particularly dimwitted schoolmate. I have to wonder whether she actually is responsible for it…. oy.

    1. I am hiding people on my feed who play to cut down on the temptation to out them with “Oh, so that’s where you put your purse.”

      Meme’s are fine as long as delusions of grandeur aren’t attached.

  3. I’m glad I googled this meme and chose your link. I have nothing constructive to add, just a huge “Amen, sister.”

  4. You nailed it with the day of no shopping. Not until we realize the power we have when we use our pocketbook, and it matters not a flying flip where we keep it, will we begin to make a difference in a world dominated by men, their priorities and values. Now if we could just turn that into a meme….

    1. We are too diverse. Femaleness is divvied up among single vs. married, mothers vs. non-mothers (and don’t even get me started on the sub-categories within each of those groups). Straight vs. lesbian, Red state/blue state, rich/medium/poor/ ecetera and so on. And what’s the most frustrating is we encourage the notion that we can’t unite on simply the XX – that our differences are too important to allow for that. WTF? Until we put aside the details (because that’s all these differences really are) we will NEVER be equal nor will our daughters, theirs and the ones that aren’t even twinkles in the eye of the universe yet. We quit before we get to the race track. Women suck like that.

  5. looking to facebook, twitter or the like for anything of substance is only going to end in frustration, if not outright disgust. i fart around out there. trying to get more out of it, use it as a bully pulpit, or even get someone else to think? probably not…

    where and how to have an impact? you raise the far tougher question. There’s Emily’s List (http://emilyslist.org/) which primarily collects cash for female democratic candidates in the US. i’ve thrown some money that way, but it feels a bit like pissing on a forest fire.

    boycotts? strikes? in previous posts, you’ve mentioned that women are pretty effective at shooting themselves in the feet – as we can’t seem to agree on what it is we’re trying to achieve. The “right” to stay home. The “right” to work and use daycare without guilt. The “right” to “Choose Life” or “Choose Choice”. What’s the unifying theme? How can we possibly all get it together when we seek seemingly different outcomes?

    1. That’s just it. We don’t have the same one size outlooks and it’s one of the reasons we are still struggling on the equality front. We talk a great game on choice – but when in your life did you ever not have pressure to conform to one female vision only? We spend our formative years being cowed by this queen bee or that as though we should all see female-ness the same.

      There is another irritating book out by yet another feminist writer pushing the crap idea that women need to stay in the male paradigm of work for the good of other women. When are we going to simply stop trying to join a game that wasn’t designed with us in mind and simply force our own visions on the system?

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