It's entirely possible you shed your bra every opportunity you get, but No Bra Day is actually a real "holiday" — and an important one at that. On Oct. 13, women all over America and the U.K. are ditching their bras and posting photos as part of a campaign to raise breast cancer awareness and to encourage others to get screened for the disease that will have been responsible for 40,450 deaths by the end of 2016, according to The American Cancer Society. The premise is simple — all you have to do is post a braless photo with the hashtag #NoBraDay.
Of course, as you probably know the entire month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. American Cancer Society statistics estimate that one in eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, making it one of the most commonly occurring cancers among women in this country. No Bra Day has been around since at least 2011, and as the campaign explains on its website, sends a "message of raising awareness for the importance of breast cancer screening, recognising the symptoms of breast cancer and regular self-examinations in the fight against breast cancer, by encouraging women to leave their bras at home on October 13th."
To be clear, merely posting a picture of yourself parading the streets minus your chest cage with the hashtag #NoBraDay isn't going to eradicate breast cancer on its own. If you truly want to help, there are a number of fundraisers and organizations that seek to assist breast cancer patients, survivors, and researchers, and they can all use your money, talents, and time (the National Breast Cancer Foundation is a great place to start your research). But, raising awareness is a solid first step. And if one way to direct people's attention to the importance of screening for breast cancer is to go braless for the day, so be it.
As part of No Bra Day, here are 11 women who are sharing photos of themselves sans bras to raise awareness — and their important reasons why.
"I have Stage IV breast cancer, and I don't want any woman to be afraid of advocating for their health."
"I’m participating in No Bra Day for the women in my family. My Grammy was 59 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After it was clear that chemo wasn’t going to help, she ended up having a single mastectomy. Breast cancer runs in my family and also runs in the family of some of my friends. Bringing attention to just how essential screening and breast self-exams are is important to me for all women, not just the women in my family. Because of that, I’m going braless today."
"I'm participating in No Bra Day to honor my mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. Thanks to screenings, it was caught early and my mother is still with us today. But I always wonder what if. It's imperative that everyone — not just women — get annual screenings and learn how to self-examine themselves. But it's just as important for health care providers to provide screenings for all."
"Because boobs are the tits."
"I hardly wear bras because I don't trust them. I want to raise awareness because breast cancer has affected so many people I know. One of my closest friends tested positive for the BRCA gene and bravely got a double mastectomy last year!"
"I'm taking part in No Bra Day as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month for a few reasons. First, as someone with a chronic illness, I've learned that it's absolutely crucial to be an advocate for your own health — which for breast cancer means finding a doctor you're comfortable with, seeing them regularly for check-ups, learning to check your own breasts monthly, and making sure your friends and family do the same. Additionally, I believe that it's empowering for females to be comfortable with their bodies, including the parts we're taught to hide — our breasts being the prime example. So happy #NoBraDay to all, and here's to healthy living, breast cancer prevention, and baring it all, regardless of society's standards."
"I'm participating because we're so often told to cover up our boobs and forget about them! Wearing no bra is a good reminder that your breasts deserve love and attention just like the rest of your body."
Lisa Marie, 30
"Women spend their lives being taught to question, hate, and change their bodies. I used to think I wasn't good enough. I recognize the suffering, loss and identity issues (and the resilience) that comes with breast cancer — having seen it up close with a family friend — and if we could spend our time alive and healthy loving our bodies, rather than hating them, we could be more appreciative of what we do have. If we're not sick, we're lucky. I want to remind all the women out there who have suffered that they're beautiful, worthy and powerful."
"I'm participating in No Bra Day because annual screenings save lives — plain and simple."
"I wanted to participate in No Bra Day because breast cancer claimed my namesake's life before I got the chance to meet her. My paternal grandmother, Liz Enochs, died of breast cancer at 50 years old."
"In high school, my best friend's mother found out she had breast cancer because she was adamant about having regular screenings. While she did need treatment, it was minimal because her cancer was found in its early stages. When I was in college, my grandmother found out she had breast cancer and had to undergo numerous rounds of invasive treatments, because she wasn't checking herself regularly or getting regular screenings. I know how important it is to be vigilant about your health and have seen the effects of doing so and failing to do, so first hand.
Plus, bras are uncomfortable."
And remember, breast cancer isn't a problem that goes away after October. Get involved with the cause, and find out what fundraising events are happening in your community — not just this month, but all year long.