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Bra Status Updates is an online survey game that spread through Facebook in early January of 2010 via private messages among female Facebook users. The updates were posted under the guise of spreading awareness about breast cancer.
The origin of the message is unclear, but one of the earliest postings of the copypasta status update was submitted to Yahoo! Answers Canada on December 29th, 2009. In this instance, there was no mention of breast cancer and the message was seemingly intended to confuse male friends on Facebook.
right girls let’s have some fun. write the color of the bra you’re wearing right now as your status on fb and dont tell the boys. they will be wondering what all the girls are doing with colors as their status. forward this to all the girls online
By January 6th, 2011, the message had spread to the U.S. and France, often including the additional line “spreading the wings of cancer awareness.” On that day, the messages were shared on the parenting-oriented CafeMom and Babycenter forums. Both threads were posted by forum members who had previously seen the messages shared by others on Facebook. Similar to chain letters, the text of the messages evolved into derivative copies as they spread.
“We are playing a game…… silly, but fun! Write the color of your bra as your status, just the color & texture, nothing else!! Copy this and pass it on to all girls/Females …… NO MEN!! This will be fun to see how it spreads, and we are leaving the men wondering why all females just have a color as their status!! Let’s have fun!!
Pass this on LADIES”
“List the color of your bra in your FB status, just the color, nothing more. Then send this mssg to your girlfriends’ inboxes, too … no men.
The point is to see how far we can spread breast cancer awareness … and make the men wonder what’s up :) "
On January 7th, the Facebook trend began receiving coverage from various news sites, including Mashable, Urlesque, Associated Content and the NY Daily News. All of the articles touched upon the fact that, though the status messages were loosely tied to outreach efforts in breast cancer awareness, there was no direct tie to an organization or group. Over the next two days, the story spread further to the Huffington Post, ABC News, MSNBC, Telegraph and Jezebel. Many of the articles noted that, while most of the status updates were being posted by women, some male trolls on Facebook tried to stir confusion by posting colors as their status updates as well (shown below).
On January 8th, “color status on Facebook” ranked #11 on Google Trends search queries and despite the absence of central organizers behind the trend, the Susan G. Komen foundation saw their Facebook likes grow exponentially from 135 to 135,000 in less than 24 hours. On April 26th, 2012, the pop culture blog A Pop Culture Addict’s Guide to Life published a post titled “The Facebook Memes I Never Want to See Again”, which ranked bra status updates as the second most annoying Facebook meme on the list.
Since many users crosspost their Facebook statuses to Twitter, the fad spread through tweets as well. According to the now-defunct Twitter analytics site Trendistic, there was a large boost in tweets containing the keyword “bra” observed in January of 2011.
Similar to the way Bill Gates / Microsoft Chain Letter e-mails began referencing other companies, the Facebook statuses began referencing shoe sizes (shown below, left) and handbags (shown below, right), which began as early as March but didn’t see news coverage until October 2010.
Search query volume for “bra status updates” peaked in January 2010, and fell into relative obscurity until October of that year coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Associated Content – Why Are Women Posting Bra Colors in Their Facebook Status Page?
Huffington Post – Bra Color Facebook Status Updates Go Viral: Here’s Why
Boundless Treasures Christian Blog –
Huffington Post – ‘I Like It On’ Facebook Status Update Goes Viral: What It Means
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