Thursday, October 7, 2010

You like what where?

It's really the most ridiculous thing.

One year ago, women were falling all over themselves on Facebook to post what colour their bras were. And it was a big secret what the colour statuses were about ... let's not tell the boys ... tee hee hee.

Today, we're faced with the same stupid meme, although this time we're supposed to tell the boys where we like to put our purses, but only referring to the items as 'it,' inferring that we like 'it' in the bathroom or we like 'it' in the kitchen.

'It' being my purse but intending where I like 'it.'

Believe me, I was tempted to post Angela likes 'it' in the ass, just to see what everyone would say. I still may.

The clincher? This is supposed to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Let's be clear about one thing first. I'm not all that big on donating to any cancer foundation except the Canadian Cancer Society, which is working to eliminate ALL cancer. I don't see any one type of cancer as being more important or more tragic or more deserving of attention than any other kind of cancer.

My father died of throat cancer in 1996. His father died of stomach cancer in 1988. His mother died of lung cancer — I think — in 1969.

At least one of us, I suspect, in my family will carry on this brutal tradition.

So I prefer to ensure that all cancers are treated with the same weight. But I 'get' how breast cancer is an attention draw.

It's about boobs. And, as I wrote for Fashionwest earlier this week, breasts are quite often at the root of our identification as women, as feminine beings, as sexual beings.

What I don't get are the Facebook memes.

Where you put your purse ... what colour your bra is ... where you like to have sex.

Oh but, you protest, it gets women talking about breast cancer.

No, it doesn't. It gets women giggling and being deceitful. It gets men rolling their eyes at us and thinking 'here they go again.'

See? This guy, a link I got through my friend, Michelle Butterfield, doesn't get it either. He doesn't find it clever and he doesn't find amusing.

"Women, if you want our partnership with something all you have to do is request it," he writes. "What you need to understand is that men (most of them anyway) really love women and want to do whatever we can to make you happy, help you, take care of you, shelter you from harm, etc., etc., etc.

"If you want us to give our money to a particular organization in order to advance cancer research, or fund breast exams, we will, just tell us which organization and how much to give. Men are that simple. All it takes is (drum roll) COMMUNICATION!"

Robyn Urback of the National Post got on board the meme today, too.

It's unfortunate, she writes, because what these women think is raising awareness for breast cancer is really just trivializing the whole issue.

"The movement sexualizes a disease that is, as many can attest, not in the least bit sexy," Urback writes. "Campaigns such as 'Save the Ta-Tas,' which emerged in 2004 with svelte, good-looking models sporting skin-tights tees, have been similarly criticized for cheapening a very serious issue, but its mission, at least, centred around awareness and fundraising. The innuendo-laced 'I like it' Facebook trend simply sexualizes an unsexy issue, to no favourable end."

We've fought so hard as women for acceptance as equals in every level of our lives. We've fought so hard for sexual harassment rules, so hard for proper treatment in the workplace, so hard to keep our male superiors hands off our asses ...

Yet it's so easy for us to tear it all down and say 'hee hee, look at me, I'm really talking about my purse but you think I'm being all sexy, hee hee.'

And at the very core, we completely distract from the real point: women need to self-examine on a monthly basis starting yesterday and get annual mammograms after the age of 50.

How do we properly promote breast health awareness among ourselves? We encourage our mothers, sisters and friends to self-examine or get mammograms, we post links to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation or Canadian Cancer Society, we attend events that really help raise funds and awareness (like For the Love of Shoes at the Okotoks Art Gallery) and we pull out our pocketbooks — you know, the ones where you like it — and we donate real, hard cash to research.

That way, we're not alienating half the population from joining us in our quest to cure cancer.

That way, we're not taking hundreds of steps backwards with our status as equals.

That way, we're doing real work in raising awareness and funds to cure cancer.

But it's fun, you'll whine.

Hey, I had a great time going out to the Okotoks Art Gallery last weekend and learning about the artists and the women who donated the shoes.

Whether I enjoyed myself or not, I intended to make a donation to the exhibit but because it was wonderful, I put twice as much in the box as I initially intended.

So I challenge you to find ways to make raising awareness and money fun, interesting and clever.

But not in ways that distract from the real issue.

Do something real. Donate here.

2 comments:

  1. a-freaking-men!

    i actually posted a status on facebook during the bra thing last year, something along the lines of putting your energy into actually making a difference ... at least post a link to donate instead of "pink and in need of a wash".

    i believe the term that's been adopted is "slactivism" ... whatever it is, as someone who has also been touched by cancer (sadly, who hasn't?) as well as someone who has spent years working her ass off to raise real awareness for important causes, it just makes me cringe.

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  2. Slactivism - genius. I flat out refuse to participate in these memes, even the ones that seem to be on topic, for the simple fact that they don't DO anything. Not a damn thing. I cannot imagine that people will suddenly have an epiphany and run to get a mammogram because their purse...wtf? But a larger point is how stupid some members of our species really are.

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