How about real Breast Cancer Awareness?

standard October 11, 2010 10 responses

I’m not playing the “I like it…” game on Facebook this year. I didn’t play the bra color game last October either. Not because I don’t believe in Breast Cancer Awareness, quite the opposite in fact.

I believe in doing it the right way.

Last year the game seemed silly to me even before reading Susan Nieber ‘s– aka Why Mommy – post on the subject. Then it seemed downright cruel.

People were trying to raise awareness for a cause by flaunting the very thing that women who were in the thick of that issue could no longer use – bras.

Most women who have had mastectomies no longer wear bras, so, as a whole, they felt shut out of this viral campaign. Ironic? Right?

This year the campaign tries to be more inclusive by focusing on purses instead of bras. But at the end of the day the issue is a bit the same.

Breast cancer isn’t funny.

Susan Nieber once again wrote a post decrying the point of this campaign, this time she posted it at Salon.com. She wants to know why people are joking around while women are dying.

Here’s the thing as I see it. You slap up a pink banner on your site, you buy a pink t-shirt, you post a quippy “I like it in the backseat!” post on Facebook. And then you walk away. You feel like you did your part and you can give yourself a nice pat on the back.

But really? What have you done to further the cause of Breast Cancer Awareness? Did you share some stats and information with someone? Do you really think that the 10c from the proceeds of that shirt are going to make an impact on Breast Cancer research? Do you really think that funny Facebook post did any good?

Breast Cancer is becoming that thing. The “oh yeah! Breast Cancer, it’s a problem, right?” thing. All the pink t-shirts and ribbons are having the opposite effect. Instead of raising true awareness they’re raising acceptance.

And you know what? Acceptance is BAD. We don’t WANT people to become jaded and accepting of this disease that’s killing women right and left. Women YOU know. Women YOU see every day.

So instead of posting a funny post to my Facebook page I’m posting this post and sharing Susan’s letter. And I’m not going to tell you not to play, but I am going to beg you to ALSO post a link to a place where people can get information or where they can make a real difference.

Visit the American Cancer Society to learn about Breast Cancer and all sorts of other cancers, find out what you can do to help raise awareness and money for research.

Buy a Tiny Prints Breast Cancer Awareness Greeting Cardhttp://www.tinyprints.com/greeting/promo/bca.htm. The entire proceed for the cards go to The Pink Agenda for Breast Cancer research.(Sorry, I work there, but I also happen to be really excited about this campaign which helps people on every end.)

Join the Army of Women and do your part to further the research.Whether or not you have had breast cancer or are high risk, you might have the information someone conducting a study could use. Sign up. You never know.

And before you buy something with a pink ribbon on it, do a little research about how much of your money is actually being donated. Lots of companies are taking advantage of the pink to make a lot of extra bucks. 

So? How about it? Are you participating in the Facebook “game?”

(FYI: This post was cross posted to Yahoo! Shine and received interesting comments over there.)

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10 responses

  • I did not play the game this year, but I was “invited” last year to play by a woman whose mom (a friend of mine) had breast cancer. My friend’s daughters live with the threat of that due to heredity issues everyday.

    At the same time, another younger woman I know, 24, was diagnosed with breast cancer the same week the game hit facebook last year. She was angry about the game. (Obviously not 5-years-cured, but after a year of medical rigor, she’s clear right now.)

    I don’t know that there’s an absolutely right or wrong side here.

    Any time one talks about an issue it raises awareness in ways we cannot measure.

    If one man saw that and encouraged his wife to do a self-examine or go for a mammogram, it might have changed one life, and right there it’s worth it. Game or not.

    And you’re right, we need to decide what to do with our dollars and look into how much money goes where. I irritated the first friend I mentioned above when I opted out of donating to a breast cancer walk she was in because the organizers where making big bucks off the walkers.

    My mom died of heart disease at 59, more women die of that than breast cancer, so I tend to send my dollars in that direction–but I don’t wear red on given days. I guess I’m not a joiner…

    Truly though? This post doesn’t sit well with me. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the Tiny Prints mention. Maybe it’s the preachy tone. Maybe it’s the jumping on the bandwagon when you see it as a high horse that needed mounting.

    But it’s raising awareness too, so I can’t argue much even if I don’t fully agree.

  • I see no harm in “like it” game and I don’t think it’s a substitute for real awareness campaign. It’s a way for people to get talking and there’s nothing wrong with that. I agree with what Ellen said – any time one talks about an issue it raises awareness. (Of course I can see why the bra game was offensive.)

    I do have a big problem with every Tom Dick and Harry retailer throwing a pink ribbon on their products. It’s exploitative in a real way – getting people to think that they are helping with their pocketbooks when most times it is minimal.

    Later this week on my site we will have an interview with a young mom who has been battling breast cancer for three years. Her message is that young women DO get breast cancer. I look forward to sharing her story.

  • Interesting points made. I can definitely see the threat of people opting out of real advocacy and financial support v. a simple “like” or “share.” But at the same time, you never know when something viral makes a difference in someone’s life.

    Breast cancer has altered the lives of two dear friends this year and it is no longer just “another ribbon cause” for me. But because of them, the pink ribbon means vastly more than it did before.

    I probably won’t flood my Facebook stream with a status update but I will post about it on My Mommy Manual. 🙂

  • I didn’t do either because for some reason the idea didn’t sit well with me. I can see what people are saying about the game getting people to talk, but last year I didn’t know what it was for and it felt silly, trivial and exclusive…the opposite of breast cancer.

    I guess we each need to honor people we love in our own ways. And for me this game wasn’t honoring people, it was just to make people laugh.

  • I did participate, without really thinking about it in this way.

    Your post and the Salon article had me thinking.

    I’m not sure-I do think there is something to be said for raising awareness, especially since not everyone can afford to donate money.

    I am glad you offered some other ways to get involved. That’s what was missing from Salon.com for me.

    I do think the whole buy pink for BC thing, and the pairing of some of the bigger foundations with companies who produce cancer causing products is just a way to line people’s pockets.

    I struggle with what the best way is to help, and am always looking at opportunities with a cynical eye.

    As far as sharing the Tiny Prints link-I appreciate it, and now that you would share it regardless of your employment. 😉

  • I wrote a post on this right after your tweet it is supposed to hit tonight. It def opens your eyes to something that we need to more cautious of

  • If you were in front of me, I’d give you a belly-bump for that one. Hubby and I talked about that EXACT point, too.

  • Here’s a good one, posted on fb by the young woman I mentioned in the first comment here.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/11/pink-ribbon-fatigue/

  • I appreciate this thought-provoking post! Your perspective really helped to change mine, and it will be something I ponder for a bit. I never play the “like” game, but only because I think the connotations are juvenile. I’m off to re-read this post and think some more (and then act upon it!) 🙂

  • Anonymous

    hi my name is angel raya my moms diying and theres nothing i can do i feel so darn ,helpless i kn its not breast cancer but its her heart shes not good plesae pray thanks

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