Don’t get us wrong: We’re all for raising awareness of breast cancer (we just wish other forms of cancer had such good publicity reps), but we think sometimes all this supposed “awareness” can lull people into thinking they’ve actually contributed something worthwhile and concrete. At their best, these online awareness memes usually do nothing at all, and at their worst they trivialize breast cancer and can be incredibly offensive to women actually suffering from breast cancer (…or any kind of cancer…or women, period). Plus, they can overshadow campaigns that actually have a chance of helping. Whatever you think of the role of “awareness” in the fight against cancer, we’re pretty sure that the following campaigns didn’t even increase awareness (except a kind of meta awareness of the memes themselves). They’re just pretty in pink.
Women everywhere hate squashing their boobs for a mammogram, so these Instagram pics of clothed breasts presented on various objects (a shelf, a planking friend, whatever — see pic above) are supposed to give women warm fuzzy feelings and remind them that everyone has to go through with this procedure. Or maybe it’s just an excuse for people to ogle pics of boobs. Like many breast cancer awareness memes, this one seems to have been thought up by a horny fourteen-year-old boy.
2. What Color Is Your Bra?
A few years back, women listed a color on Twitter or Facebook with no explanation — it was supposed to be the color of the bra they were wearing, and the whole “fun” of it was to leave men guessing what was going on. Breasts live in bras, geddit? So thinking about bras makes you makes you think about breasts which makes you think about breast cancer?! Couldn’t you say the same for watching Pamela Anderson jog along a beach?
3. So Fruity!
Along the same lines, women started posting random fruits as their Facebook status updates. The instructions that got passed around depress us immeasurably: “We are playing a game. Someone proposed that we WOMEN do something special on Facebook to help with Breast Cancer Awareness. It’s easy and I’d like you to join us to help it spread. Last year it was about writing the color of the bra that your were wearing in your FB status and it left men wondering for days why the women had random colors as their status. This year it has to do with your relationship status. You will state where you are, by posting one of the codes below. Blueberry: I’m single / Pineapple: It’s complicated / Raspberry: I’m a touch and go woman / Apple: Engaged / Cherry: In a relationship / Banana: I’m married / Avocado: I’m the “other one” / Strawberry: Can’t find the right one / Lemon: Wish I was single / Grape: Wants to get married. The bra game reached TV. Let’s get this one to do the same and show everyone how powerful women are.” Yeah! Act like seventh graders online — that’ll teach ’em!
4. I Like It on the Kitchen Counter
In this one, women suddenly started posting things like “I like it on the kitchen counter” or “I like it on the dresser” or “I like it on the couch.” Except they weren’t really talking about sex, they were talking about where they like to place their purse when they come home at night. It’s sexual innuendo, geddit? This one is straight-up inexplicable.
5. Bra-Free Day
Remember that horny fourteen-year-old boy we mentioned earlier? Yeah, he’s been at it again. Apparently someone decided that a national day to “set the tatas free” would make us all think more seriously about breast cancer. Clearly that someone, if not a fourteen-year-old horndog, is a 34A cup who never has to think twice about jogging past a construction site.
6. Dying Shit Pink
While we do kind of love the image of NFL football players in pink — taking back what was once considered a boy color (it’s true!) — there is also a kind of automatic infantalizing that often goes hand-in-hand with the hot-pinkification of products. Kansas City actually dyed its water fountain pink one year, which is not only silly and trivializing, it’s reminiscent of those bloody ocean scenes in Jaws.
7. “I Love Boobies”; “Save Second Base”; etc (on shirts, bracelets, etc.)
Isn’t it hilarious and inspiring when we all talk like those horny fourteen-year-old boys?
8. “I’m X weeks pregnant and craving X!”
Another inane social media meme. In this one, women were supposed to match the month of their birth with a corresponding number of weeks, and the date of their birth with a type of candy or sweet, to get the “I’m X weeks pregnant and craving X!” status update. Because it wasn’t enough to be trivial or provocative in a misguided attempt to raise awareness — now you get to trivialize pregnancy and fertility, too! (Infertility can be a side effect of breast cancer, did they forget that?)
9. “8.5. inches and 45 minutes.”
We’ll let the memers attempt to explain: “Ok ladies it’s that time of year again, in support of breast cancer awareness!! So we all remember last years agame of writing a color as your status?…..or the way we like to have our handbag handy? Well this year, it’s slightly different. You need to write your shoe size,( just the number) followed by the word ‘inches’ and how long it takes to do your hair… Remember last year so many people took part 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 !” Would you all just please S.T.F.U. and go do something useful like donating money to cancer research, please? Somehow these memes have managed to trivialize not just breast cancer but the very essence of being a woman — in the world of breast cancer awareness, women are obsessed with their hair and their handbags and the color….
10. DID WE MENTION PINK PINK PINK PINK PINK PINK?
It’s like someone vomited Pepto Bismol over the entire breast cancer awareness month.