Back in January, 27-year-old Allana Maiden started a Change.org petition for Victoria’s Secret to carry a line of mastectomy bras, inspired by the struggle her mom Debbie Barrett faced finding bras after her own surgery.
The petition gained steam fast–over 120,000 signatures in under a month–and Victoria’s Secret agreed to meet with Maiden and her mother. By all accounts, the meeting went well; the most consumer-recognized American brand agreed to fly the pair to its Columbus, Ohio headquarters and start research on producing mastectomy bra.
Now that the research has been completed, the decision has come down: Victoria’s Secret will not be going ahead with a mastectomy line.
“Through our research, we have learned that fitting and selling mastectomy bras…in the right way…a way that is beneficial to women is complicated and truly a science. As a result, we believe that the best way for us to make an impact for our customers is to continue funding cancer research,” Victoria’s Secret said in a release.
The lingerie brand added that it has donated “nearly $2 million to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment,” and close to $10 million for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
A representative for Victoria’s Secret called Maiden two weeks ago to break the news; for her part, Maiden is disappointed in the decision.
“My mom and I have always said how much we appreciate Victoria’s Secret research efforts,” Maiden said in a statement. “But cancer research doesn’t help survivors feel beautiful after the battle is over–mastectomy bras do.”
Maiden went on to say that she understood that mastectomy bras are more complicated than regular ones, but expressed surprise that Victoria’s Secret couldn’t tackle the task. “I felt that if anyone could do it, they could,” she explained to ABC News. “They have everything in place.”
“My mom and I had an amazing experience at Nordstrom–a store that’s already figured out the ‘science’ of helping breast cancer survivors,” Maiden finished. “But with more than 1000 stores in 49 states, Victoria’s Secret is in a position to help empower so many more women to feel beautiful after their battles with cancer.”
Mastectomies, of course, have experienced a recent boost in public attention after last week’s stunning New York Times op-ed in which Angelina Jolie revealed she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy of her own.
“[Jolie] put the news out there that you can still be attractive after having breast cancer and mastectomy,” Maiden said to ABC News.
“But a beautiful bra would have been a great thing to have, and now these bras are very limited.”