his weekend, Facebook newsfeeds exploded with a rainbow of terse but colorful updates — "blue," "pink," "black and lacy" — mystifying social networkers. The culprit: A message chain urging women to post their bra colors in the name of breast cancer awareness: "Write the color, nothing else," the anonymous call-to-action read. "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." Did the stunt, unsupported by the Breast Cancer Association, do any good — or was it just flirty "slacktivism"?
This isn't advocacy — it's flirtation: I have no doubt that the women who "virtually flashed" their Facebook friends were well-intentioned, says Mary Carmichael at Newsweek, but "this isn't awareness or education; it's titillation." This "pointless" meme didn't educate or inform. It only provided sexual fodder for fellow male Facebookers.
"What color is your bra? Facebook's pointless underwear protest"
How… briefly exciting: I've been "noticing context-free posts like 'Black' or 'Misty Boysenberry'" on Facebook, says Adam Church at Manolith, and wondering, "Why are all the sexy, hip girls...talking about colors?" How deflating to discover that "just like every other time a cute girl approaches you," they're trying to sell you something, "in this case breast cancer awareness."
"Bra color status in Facebook is hot"
Bizarrely, the chain was effective: No one knows who originally posted the call to action, but this "full-blown fad" created real results, says Brigid Schute at The Washingon Post. After the chain went viral, it triggered an "unprecedented" spike in traffic for breast-cancer advocacy websites, and inspired some survivors to blog about their own "heart-wrenching" experiences, sparking an outpouring of sympathy.
"Solving the bra color Facebook puzzle"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA:
• 7 criminals who use Facebook shamelessly
• Meghan McCain: Twitter quitter
• 8 Facebook misfires that ruined lives
• Video: Miley Cyrus' Twitter rap
- How does chocolate milk stack up as a sports drink?
- Cul-de-sacs are killing America
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How did Love Actually become so controversial? A theory
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2013
- This is the twistiest tongue twister ever, says science
- Step away from the ruler: Penis size studies are pretty worthless
- Was the sign-language interpreter at the Mandela memorial faking it?
Subscribe to the Week