“I like it on the kitchen counter,” wrote some. “I like it on the floor,” wrote others. You may recall these suggestive status updates from past years of where women liked to put their purse. You may also recall the color game where women posted the color of their bra as their Facebook status. These were all in attempt to allegedly raise breast cancer awareness.

This year the women set out to do it again with “National No-Bra Day,” which took place on Oct. 13. While this is a step up from a Facebook game, it was just another stunt in which women could gain attention for themselves rather than focusing on the real issue at hand.

National No-Bra Day, like many other so-called breast cancer awareness attempts, does anything but raise awareness. Posting a provocative picture of yourself without a bra in no way, shape or form helps those who don’t have breasts due to breast cancer.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Large companies for years have participated in promotions during the month of October to raise funds for breast cancer. Many companies entice buyers with pink packaging and promises of donations toward various foundations. While many think they are being helpful and charitable while gaining a cute product, they are in actuality just taking part in a fad that has become known as “Pinktober” or “pinkwashing.”

While it is good that breast cancer is being addressed, it is being addressed in the wrong light. What needs to be talked about is education, prevention and diagnosis. A pink can of soup does not do this. It is a merely a pink can of soup, and that’s as far as it goes.

The commercialization of breast cancer products is not helping the cause. Many products do not even donate, and if they do, the small donations are lost toward the cost of advertising and large salaries.

What is a true tragedy is that many people who are buying these products aren’t buying them for the pink label; they’re buying them because they genuinely want to help. The money being spent on these products could be so much better spent, but people don’t know that.

There are organizations out there that aren’t looking for the profit. There are ways you can help; it’s just a matter of research. So, before you decide to buy that $30 pink coffee mug, read the label and see how much is genuinely being donated toward breast cancer.

Now, owning pink trash bags and key chains does not make you a terrible person. My grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer, and ever since that day I made an effort to pick up every pink product there was in support of her. I am guilty of posting the Facebook statuses and buying the $30 pink coffee mug, and, along with many of you, I truly thought I was helping.

National No-Bra Day took it a little too far for me. I stumbled across the blog “Cancer in My Thirties.” The author had a blog post titled “National No Bra Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month — OR — Please Put That Pink Can of Soup Down & Put Your Bra Back On.” It was this blog post that opened my eyes up and made me realize that the only tried-and-true way of helping is to do your research, and that is what I encourage of you.

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