A company in Greece created a bra that sends a tweet every time you remove it. No, it’s not a sexy thing, but it’s for a good cause: a reminder of how important it is to check for cancer with monthly breast self-exams.
But from the way it’s presented—with a sexy shot of a woman undoing her silky bra—the ad comes off as a cutesy, infantilizing, misguided attempt to sexualize a serious disease.
The bra was created by a Greek company and is being promoted by Nestle Fitness’s Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. Celebrities like Greek TV presenter Maria Bacodimou are promoting the bra by wearing it for two weeks, promising fans that a tweet will send every time Bacodimou removes it.
According the bra’s website, a mechanism under the hook of the bra sends a signal to a cellphone, which alerts a server; the server generates a tweet.
Cool stuff. But the idea doesn’t seem like it was fully thought through.
There are so many ways this could backfire. Pervs following the account would know when you’re getting undressed. The bra could be used as evidence in adultery allegations. Bra bots could spam your @-replies. There’s a server full of data that knows when you remove your bra every day—at home, vulnerable to a home invasion.
The other problem is how ads like this one turn breast cancer into a sexualized plea to appeal to men: the “Save the Tatas” shirts, the influx of pink to “show support,” the YouTube videos of men motorboating women to raise money for the cause, the uproar over sex symbol Angelina Jolie undergoing a mastectomy. It says, “Hey, don’t care about breast cancer because women are dying. Care about it because we need to the save the boobies—the sexy, disembodied, objectified parts we love.”
On the opposite end of this spectrum is a stark photo series making the rounds on Tumblr. It shows women who have undergone mastectomies. It shows real scars, real faces, real tattoos. Compared to the reality of breast cancer, a bra that tweets seems frivolous.