No Bra Day is an annual observance on October 13 on which women are encouraged to forgo wearing a bra as a means to encourage breast cancer awareness. No Bra Day was initially observed on July 9, 2011, but within three years it had moved to October 13, the month of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Users on social media are encouraged to post using the hashtag #nobraday to promote awareness of breast cancer symptoms and to encourage gender equality.
Some users on social media sites also encourage women to post pictures of themselves not wearing a bra. Some women embrace No Bra Day as a political statement while others prefer the comfort of discarding what they view as a restrictive, uncomfortable garment.
The observance has spread worldwide. The event was spun off a medical event in Toronto, Canada, that encourages breast cancer survivors to consider reconstructive surgery. First held on October 19, 2011, the medical event was named BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day. It was adapted by an anonymous individual who conceived of No Bra Day as a way to encourage women to enjoy being braless and to become knowledgeable about breast cancer symptoms.
The day is controversial as some see it as sexualizing and exploiting women’s bodies while at the same time belittling a serious disease.
The original event known as “BRA Day” was started by Toronto plastic surgeon Dr. Mitchell Brown. The first BRA Day event, titled “Breast Reconstruction – An Evening of Learning and Sharing”, was held in Toronto, Canada at Women’s College Hospital and Toronto General Hospital on October 19, 2011.
Brown found that many Canadian women who underwent a mastectomy due to breast cancer resisted undergoing reconstructive surgery. He founded “Breast Reconstruction Awareness” (BRA) Day to increase women’s awareness of the availability of reconstructive breast surgery.BRA day is intended to raise awareness of breast cancer screening, alert women to breast cancer symptoms, and to encourage women to conduct regular self examinations. The event was adopted in the U.S. in 2012.
As of September 2018, the BRA Day event devoted to educating women about reconstructive surgery, and hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society, continued to be held across Canada. BRA day is observed on different dates in different provinces of Canada during the month of October.
The origin of No Bra Day can be traced back to the first BRA Day held in Toronto, in 2011. In July that year, an anonymous individual using the name Anastasia Doughnuts conceived of No Bra Day and published the first website promoting the event.
The first No Bra Day event was created by an anonymous internet user self-named “Anastasia Doughnuts” for July 9, 2011 and was observed on that date through 2013.In 2013 and 2014, social media posts announced both July 9 and October 13 as No Bra Day. Since 2015, the event has only been promoted on October 13. The event was initially described, in part, as:
Boobies are Fantastic… We all think so. And what better way to express the way we feel than to support a full day of boobie freedom?? …
Women are magnificent creatures, and so are their breasts. Let us spend the day unleashing boobies from their boobie zoos.
**Breast Cancer is something you should take seriously and be checked for.**
The announcement was later reposted on a Facebook page promoting the event. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and by 2014 the official day of the event was moved to October 13, during which women are urged to forgo wearing a bra. An increasing number of women, especially millennials, have expressed opposition to and are giving up wearing bras.
Going braless during the current decade has according to some been politicized by No Bra Day,and the association between going braless and breast cancer screening has drawn criticism.