It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and people on the internet are doing way too much (as usual)
I feel the need to start this post by saying that I know many breast cancer survivors and I value legitimate efforts to raise money for breast cancer research and to educate people about such an awful disease. With that said, social media (namely Facebook) has made so-called ‘breast cancer awareness’ into a complete farce.
It all started about four years ago when women began posting colors as status updates. The colors were code for the color (or pattern) of the bra the poster was wearing. A message circulated among women on Facebook saying that this game was for Breast Cancer Awareness. The fad was even reported in the mainstream media.
The following year brought the purse game where women posted the phrase “I like it on the ____” filling in the blank with the location of their purse or handbag.
For the past few years, similar games (or the same ones) have been circulating among women on Facebook all in the name of raising awareness for breast cancer. When I get such messages, I just ignore them because ain’t nobody got time for that.
I haven’t seen or received a message about any game (perhaps because of Facebook’s Messenger snafu), but I have seen the following image circling around since this summer:
What the heck?
I will ignore the fact that this says “Support Breast cancer” (considering that we actually want to support awareness, prevention, education, and research and not the disease) and go right for the…um…meat of this image: What in the world will walking around with no bra for one day do for anything regarding breast cancer?
I admit that I highly doubt that women are lining up to walk around with no bra all day. Depending on how your day is spent and the type of attire you’re wearing, that can actually become quite uncomfortable.
My problem isn’t with thinking that masses of women will be participating. I know they likely wont be. My problem is with the stupidity of it. Why not just donate money or volunteer time to things that are actually helping people? Why do we have to do stupid, nonconstructive junk to call attention to worthy causes (I’m looking at you Ice Bucket Challenge)? Why not simply do charitable work (like helping at an event) or raise money and tell people about it?
We can argue about the efficacy of buying pink products marketed for this month (I bought a pink Swiffer Sweeper once), the various 5k walk/runs that will take place, and the many other things that people pay for that goes to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and other similar organizations. At least those things are raising actual money that is being used to fund actual things that will help research, education, and prevention.
What does some ignorant game on Facebook do?
If you answered: “But it raises AWARENESS!!” I’m sorry to tell you that you’re wrong.
First of all, the idea of ‘raising awareness’ for cancer in general doesn’t make sense. People know what cancer is. They may not know about specific types of rarer cancers (for which it is absolutely necessary to educate people), but people know what cancer is and they know that it’s awful. We are all connected to at least one person who has had or is currently fighting some form of cancer.
Instead of ‘raising awareness,’ people should direct their efforts and their money toward research for a cure, education, and prevention. It’s not raising awareness when 9 in 10 people know what you’re talking about.
Furthermore, participating in annoying social media fads and fake Facebook holidays does very little if nothing at all. I’d like to think that perhaps one of those silly games reminded someone to get a lifesaving mammogram. It makes the cause about our personal lot and not about helping people.
Pretty much, what I’m trying to say is this: Keep your bra on. Donate money. Participate in a 5k. Volunteer. DO SOMETHING.
1 thought on “It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and people on the internet are doing way too much (as usual)”
I have a similar feeling about raising awareness vs. calling to action. I’m guilty of it myself- considering myself “aware,” but not taking the necessary steps to make a difference. True awareness leads to empathy, I suppose, and that’s what I think was so successful with the ice bucket challenge, where a call to action really appealed to the masses (even if it was for attention rather than the good of the cause). Good thoughts, and an interesting read!
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