I love social change campaigns, but only the ones that make sense. The recent breast cancer awareness Facebook campaign is downright confusing, if not sexist and insulting. Who came up with this, I’d love to know? Here are the rules, as explained from a Facebook message I received as a mass email:
Ok pretty ladies, it’s that time of year again, in support of breast cancer awareness!! So we all remember last years game of writing your bra color as your status?…..or the way we like to have our handbag handy? Remember last year so many people took part that it made national news and, the constant updating of status reminded everyone why we’re doing this and helped raise awareness!! Do NOT tell any males what the status’ mean, keep them guessing!! And please copy and paste (in a message )this to all your female friends to see if we can make a bigger fuss this year than last year!!! I did my part… now YOUR turn ! Go on ladies…and let’s have all the males guessing! .. It’s time to confuse the men again (not that its really that hard to do :)) Everyone knows it makes their brains work wonders on what we’re talkin about!! The idea is to choose the month you were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the girls only and lets see how far it reaches around. The last one about the bra went round allovr the world. So you’ll write… I’m (your birth month) weeks and I’m craving (your birth date)!!! as your status. Example: Feb 14th= I’m 2 weeks and craving Choclolate mints!!
The email then gives an elaborate list of how you calculate how many “weeks” you are and what you are craving, all based on your birthday. So here are my questions:
Breast cancer awareness as a goal…hmmm, okay. Are people not aware of breast cancer? Are there any families out there that have NOT been affected by it? (mine has) Is the goal awareness? Cuz I’m thinking, maybe the goal should be self-exams. Or friend/family accountability for mammograms. Or a cure. That would be cool.
Don’t tell the guys? Why not? Who likes breasts more than a straight man? Personally, I think we should get men involved in breast cancer detection. Maybe they should have a bigger role than women. I mean, I know a lot of them who like touching boobs. They could really come in handy. (literally) Seriously, there are great opportunities for humor + action here. And PS: Dudes can get breast cancer too.
You want us to “make a fuss”? Why? I don’t get it. And neither do the other billion people on Facebook, who just so happen to think everyone they know is pregnant right now…and they’re really, really hungry.
What is the ideal outcome here? Making noise? Getting media attention? Getting a million people to tell their networks they are “10 weeks and craving meatballs?”
Sometimes it’s easy to think we’re making change, by simply making noise…and that’s just not true. First we gotta make sense, and set a measurable, actionable goal. Imagine if we are to get a million people to post something as their Facebook status for one day, what would a good status be that could really help people? Words that could truly inspire change? I challenge you out of love, because I’m fairly sure we can do better than “13 weeks and craving chicken wings.”