"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Don't You Just TALK About It?!

If you've been on Facebook recently, you probably noticed a lot of women are updating their statuses with something along the lines of "I like it _______."

"I like it on the table." "I like it in the closet." "I like it on my desk."

Okay, you probably think, (if you even noticed it) That's weird. What's going on? Then you probably get a note from one of your friends with this:
Remember the game last year about what color bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news. This year's game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example "I like it on the couch", "I like it on the kitchen counter", "I like it on the dresser" well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let's see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER - DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE- PUT IT IN YOUR STATUS!!! PASS THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!!
So what we have here is some of the most moronic marketing ever for a really, really important topic.

Here's the thing: If the men read your statuses and the statuses are all alluding to where you like to have sex (cause face it, that's exactly what we're doing) you know what you have? Men TRYING TO JOIN IN with "I like it from behind." "I like it on acid." "I like it with your mom." Cause they think they're finally in on the game. Of course, that's ONLY if they noticed. Most of the time, if you don't understand something, you don't pay attention to it. It's just like a word that's not in your vocabulary - you don't even hear it.

And what does where you like your purse have to do with BREAST CANCER?!?!

This fills me with rage, you guys. I don't know why, but it does. The idea is that SOMEONE COULD POSSIBLY, EVENTUALLY ask what the hell is going on and then SOMEONE MIGHT POSSIBLY tell him, "It's for breast cancer awareness month! We're all saying where we like to put our PURSE!! Isn't it BRILLIANT?!?!!?"

And the guy is going to think, "No, that's incredibly stupid."

Because it is. You have someone thinking, "Why would they do THAT?" when what we wanted was someone thinking, "Yeah, breast cancer is something I should be aware of and find a way to help cure."

You want to know what is more powerful than alluding to sex with where you put your purse?

Actually talking about Breast Cancer.

Every single woman a man has ever loved, could die of breast cancer. Every single one. His mother, his sister, his wife, his daughter, could all find a lump in their breast and die from it.

That's more effective, don't you think?

My grandmother, at only 41, had breast cancer. My father was only in 9th grade, and back in the 50s, if you had breast cancer, you were pretty much told to start preparing for your funeral. My dad, at only 14, thought he was going to bury his mother that year. She had her breast completely removed and celebrated her 88th birthday three days ago. My grandmother survived.

But a lot of other women don't.

Our grandmothers, our mothers, our aunts, our sisters, our daughters, ourselves. We can all get it.

There are 207,090 Estimated new cases from breast cancer in the United States in 2010. There are 39,840 estimated deaths. 

Almost 40,000 women are expected to die from it this year alone. That's an entire city of women. Women you know. Women who are your friends. Women who are your family. A woman, who could be you.

So here, click on this image and print it out, laminate it, and stick it in your shower.

If you're in a relationship, ask your partner to examine you. If you're in a relationship with a guy, offer to check him for Testicular Cancer. Titty for Tat. (And then reward yourselves together for being so health conscious)

And if you REALLY want to help make people Aware:

You can visit the Susan G Komen website and donate money to help discover a cure. (It's also a great resource for information on breast cancer and what to do if you, or a family member [God forbid] have been diagnosed).

You can honor someone who survived by posting how many years they are cancer free on your Facebook status, plus a link to the Komen site, or commemorate someone who passed away by how much you miss them. Show our friends how they can donate, because ONE IN EIGHT women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and that's just ridiculous, sad, and terrifying.

You can even buy 144 pink rubber bracelets off amazon, sell them to your friends and co-workers and send all that money to the Komen Foundation.

If we want to make people aware of something, we TALK about it. We make it easy to find the information on how to help. We provide facts and statistics. We don't play stupid mysterious mind games on a social networking site and think that's enough.


  1. Yup. I posted my response to this thoughtless campaign on FB yesterday and now I'm re-posting this blog on there. It's extremely disrespectful to men, to survivors, and to people who are still struggling with it. Did you know that about 1,000 men per year are diagnosed with Breast Cancer? But hey, if we act like we're still in high school and treat the disease like a giggly secret and it's guys versus girls, then it'll be talked about more!

    Barf. Not cool.

  2. 100% agreement with the sentiment above.

    As an aside, the benefit of screening and especially of self-examination is highly controversial—there’s a benefit to screening, but there are also costs, and it is perhaps overdone; I even gather that studies suggest that self-examination has no measurable clinical benefit at all.

    The [United States Preventative Services Task Force]’s recommendation not to teach breast self-examination (BSE) is another point of controversy. Despite a lot of enthusiasm for the practice, Cochrane Reviews and other evidence have failed to find convincing evidence that routine regular BSE saves lives. I wish it were otherwise, but it appears not to be, even though there are compelling anecdotes out there of women who did find a lump on BSE and it turned out to be cancer. Unfortunately, overall, the evidence to support BSE is weak.


    It’s counterintuitive—how could more screening not help? The issue is a bit subtle and can’t be understood without a grasp of lead time and length biases. Basically, spotting a cancer earlier may not help a patient live longer; sometimes it just means that they live longer with the knowledge of having cancer, which is depressing on several levels.

    Of course—this is sometimes missed in the furor of debate—we must keep in mind that criticisms leveraged against screening do not apply, and are not intended to apply, to diagnostic examination, to people with a family history or known mutations predisposing to cancer, &c. The USPSTF were talking about large-scale screening programs and what’s best for the average individual.

    Some references, articles by breast cancer surgeon and researcher Dr. David Gorski: This one was cited above; here on mammography; and here on breast cancer overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

  3. Reposted on my facebook profile and on my blog!

  4. P.S.: My mum is a breast cancer survivor. I still find it hard to talk about it, so I am very grateful that you did. X

  5. Oh Lira. Thank you for being an intelligent woman who has better uses for her gray matter than promoting "purse fun on facebook." I'm always so scared that someone's going to tell me that I just don't get it because I'm a lesbian, thereby missing the magic entertainment (reserved for straight girls) that comes from writing about one's purse, and where they "like it."

    Like I said last night on the ol' FB:

    "In honor of breast cancer awareness, I spent the last two hours live-drafting my third fantasy hockey team. You're welcome."

    I do like it when hockey players wear their breast cancer jerseys though. Hockey teams should wear pink ALL the time!

  6. I haven't don't it because I am a geek and don't know how, but some people are tinting their pictures pink to honor the cause. They are also saying that they have tinted their picture pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Others go on to say if they have had breast cancer or know someone who did, has, and if they are a survivor or not. I think that is pretty cool. But the purse thing is just dumb.

  7. To play devil's advocate (because I also think the headline thing is stupid), it did get you to talk about breast cancer, did it not? You did find the information and share it, and everyone that reads this post is now better informed. The headlines did make the news, and the news articles did include more information on breast cancer.

    So stupid? Yes. But it wasn't a total waste and it got people talking.

  8. Today I promoted Breast Cancer Awareness Month to 700+ men and women at my college. Next Tuesday we are handing out information, holding a raffle that includes a $500 donation to the American Breast Cancer Foundation, and partnering this event with a blood and bone marrow donation drive. I hope more schools, businesses, churches, political groups, etc. will do something like this - and not just for BCA Month.

  9. Good Job, Pam! And it feels great!

    And Diane, I understand and appreciate where your going with that, but if this was a viral facebook thing where all women felt motivated to share their stories, it would have a bigger effect. Just saying where you prefer to have your purse makes some people believe that they're doing something proactive about something very serious, when they're not doing anything.
    I found the info and shared it, but what if every one did that?

  10. my new status is "Mariel Kathryn Hunter says i don't carry the purse and see no benefit to anyone in telling you where i'd like it if i did. one in eight women WILL develop breast cancer- it could be, and at some point probably will be, someone you love. get involved with helping to find a cure during breast cancer awareness month and don't lose sight of that goal once october ends." (and yeah, i don't use capitals when i type... i used to capitalize every word i typed in elementary school... i guess my teachers went too far in breaking the habit and now i just won't do it. )

    an excellent post lira :)

  11. Well said Lira! :) What an intelligent post!

  12. Moronic is exactly what it is. My sarcastic anti-purse meme status is being replaced with a link to this post. Excellently said -q.

  13. agree, it might help raise awareness but it's way too stupid.

  14. I actually agree with Diane. It definitely gets both men and women talking about breast cancer. Let's just be real: when you post about something as scary as cancer, people tend to avoid...seriously. But I think there's nothing wrong with having a little fun and making people aware about the importance of getting checked.

    However, I can see what you're talking about Lira. Some people think that they are doing something profound with the status when it really does nothing, but with the proper follow-up of info, I think it's okay.

  15. I still have to disagree, Blaqbird. THIS POST is spreading more info and getting more people talking about it than those status updates were. And while I do think that, okay, maybe it would make people wary of it for the first two or three posts, if we had as many people sharing who they loved and lost due to breast cancer, more people would feel comfortable opening up and starting a dialogue. You see a coworker you're friendly with who posted that his mother also died of breast cancer when he was 13 - you now have a bond. And a Walk for the Cure buddy.

    Susan G Komen didn't start the foundation. HER SISTER did. She didn't get supporters and donations through cryptic messages. She got them by reaching out to others who also lost loved ones, to those suffering through the disease, and survivors.

    When you sign up for the walk, each person gets a shirt to wear. On the back are the words "You Can Make a Difference," and a large pink square with "In Memory of" where you write the name of your family member or friend who lost the battle. You walk behind hundreds of people honoring their missed and loved ones and you can't help but become overwhelmed by emotion. We can fight this. We can win this. We can make. a. difference.

    That's how you get people involved. Show us how we're all connected and can band together to find a cure.

  16. Thanks for this post. I do understand the argument that every little effort to get the word out helps, even if it's weird Facebook status updates.. but the problem with that method is that a lot of people stop there. That's not enough by a looooong stretch.


Play nice.