Dear Macy's And Victoria's Secret: Why Don't You Carry Mastectomy Bras?

Some of us chose not to have reconstructive surgery. Some of us had reconstructive surgery, got horrible infections, and needed to have the reconstructive hardware removed. It’s hard enough facing life with one breast –– and the fear of recurrence — but it’s even tougher without the proper underwear.

Dear Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, and other Corporate Bra Sellers:

It has come to my attention that you don’t carry mastectomy bras. Why not? Don’t you know that one in eight women will get breast cancer? Do you realize that you’re turning away more than 47,753 potential customers each year?  (Yes, I did the math. Of the 231,840 women who will get breast cancer in 2015, 35.5% will get mastectomies, and of those, 58% won’t opt to get reconstructive surgery.)

And those “one in eight…” could be your sister, your best friend, or — gasp! — you.

Maybe you don’t care about cancer survivors like me, but I’m sure you care about the bottom line. Dollars and cents.

News flash: lots of women like nice undies, even if they’ve lost their left breast. Especially if they’ve lost a breast. Ladies who’ve lost a boob — or two — are still sexy, just by the sheer virtue of still being alive. They're also feisty. And pissed off. At you.

Everybody deserves pretty bras. Especially breast cancer warriors.

I do and I am.

Some of us chose not to have reconstructive surgery. Some of us had reconstructive surgery, got horrible infections, and needed to have the reconstructive hardware removed. It’s hard enough facing life with one breast — and the fear of recurrence — but it’s even tougher without the proper underwear.

Victoria’s Secret, you have the boobs to name your “frequent flyers” club Pink, which, as you should know, is also the official color of breast cancer awareness. Yet, BC survivors like me are forced to pass your frilly store windows with a shred of dread, knowing we can never again wear your bitchin’ push-up bras and sassy strapless numbers. Why not live up to your Pink name and provide bras for suvivors to wear your trademark color with pride?

Better yet, how about having one of your “Angels” models be a breast cancer survivor, sporting a visible lumpectomy scar or a peek of a mastectomy tattoo as a brazen badge? Now that would be groundbreaking. (P.S. I’m available.)

I know you’ll probably counter with a well-thought-out retort about how carrying mastectomy bras isn’t profitable. After all, “forms” — that’s the name for those inserts Mastectomy Gals slip into their bras — come in all shapes and sizes, like breasts do. There are tear-drop ones and round ones, for example. But couldn’t you just carry a few, say, in the most popular models? Just to show that you care? Assuming that you do care.

My friend Meg works in the lingerie department of a large, national department store. Meg says that at least once a day, a woman comes in looking for a mastectomy bra, and she has to turn them away. A breast cancer survivor herself, it embarrasses the hell out of Meg to send them packing! Meg apologizes to these women (even though it’s not her fault — it’s yours), then tells them to check out Park Mastectomy Supply online. Not only are they super nice and knowledgeable, but they also offer free shipping.

And, if by some miracle, you do start carrying mastectomy bras, could you imagine the corner you'd have on such an underserved market? Maybe Walmart and Kohl’s would follow suit. But because you’d be the first, I’m sure you’d score brownie points with consumers who have breasts everywhere, mastectomy or not.

I’m boycotting you until you start recognizing breast cancer survivors like me by carrying mastectomy bras. Women are not just breasts, you know. We wear thongs, hispsters, cheeksters, and boyshorts —  whether we have breasts or not. We wear sweats, T-shirts, and yoga pants. We wear backpacks and socks. We buy housewares, linens, and everything else department stores like Macy’s carry. And I’m not shopping at any of your stores (or online) until you start carrying mastectomy bras. (Bathing suits would be nice, too.) I don’t care how many coupons you send me.

Can you imagine what would happen if other women joined me? Other breast cancer survivors? Or women who loved women who were breast cancer survivors? Or women who simply knew women who were breast cancer survivors? We would hit you right where it hurts: your profit margin.

I just thought you should know that you’ve lost a once-loyal customer. Hopefully more.

Tough Love,

Lefty

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