As I’m sure all of you Facebook users noticed over the past couple days, a silly bra-color-themed status wildfire ignited annoyances all over the internet. Being more curmudgeonly than usual, this got on my nerves to no end. “Why,” you ask? Because it started as a chain letter and had a label slapped onto it when people questioned the motives. The men may not be particularly aware of it, since it was a “women only” thing, but it got started by way of mass Facebook messages like the following:
We’re playing a little game where every woman on Facebook will type the colour of the bra she is wearing today, (on your status) just the actual colour, nothing else. Forward this to women ONLY and let’s see if the men can work out what our game is.
How delightfully devious and titillating! Except that it’s stupid. And I received this same message multiple times from multiple sets of friends for multiple days. Take my pregnancy hormones and multiply them by that, and it turned into me getting yelled at by people who took it seriously because I voiced how lame and pointless I thought it was.
“Why? It’s a breast cancer awareness thing.” Is it? Because it doesn’t seem to actually have any affiliation at all. First of all, the mention of breast cancer awareness was not offered until the second day of messaging/posting. Secondly, nobody knows who started it or where, and nobody is taking credit. If you came up with a “brilliant” networking plan wouldn’t you want to say “hey, that was me”? Nobody is that big of an altruist.
Tracy said exactly what I’m trying to get at when I linked to this article (which I got from Heidi Anderson) on my profile, so I’ll let her do the talking: [emphases mine]
Tracy King With no link, website, campaign etc to back it up then it is pointless, but that is, as Elyse points out, because it wasn’t originally anything to do with breast cancer at all, it was a chain letter. Which raises questions:
1) How and why did it become associated with breast cancer? Chain letters are older than the hills, and often have a pretend altruistic cause attached in order to spread. Is this a case of the same thing?
2) How was this meant to help raise awareness of breast cancer? Are there any Facebook users anywhere in the world who aren’t aware that you can get cancer in your breasts? Assuming that the objective wasn’t just a chain letter, but a genuine attempt to do *something* for breast cancer, then what’s the *something*?3) Where are the campaign spokespersons? If this was a genuine awareness campaign then those behind would/should have come forward by now to say “and here’s what we are getting at: breast cancer research needs money, go get screened, etc” or whatever the objective is.
In her first point she mentions how chain letters often have altruistic causes attached to them to help spread the letter further. Snopes has this to say about chain letters, including those with altruistic messages. In this case, the altruism approach wasn’t even to raise money – it was to cover up the stupidity of the action. Basically this started happening:
Sally: But… what about breast cancer?
Far be it for me to ruin your idea of a good time, but if I say something about it, don’t throw a cause in my face when that wasn’t the original intention of the action. Now, the reverse effect isn’t possible… you can’t become UNaware of breast cancer. So had this actually been the initial intention of the activity, they would have had success. Whomever it was that labeled it as such might as well take the credit, because they got what they wanted: an excuse to annoy the piss out of everyone AND get attention.
Yes, breast cancer awareness is important. Yes, I would like to aid in spreading the word about regular breast self-exams, as well as exams performed by your doctor. No, posting your bra color and not telling anyone WHY is not a constructive means by which to spread a positive message. It would do more good to randomly ask, “Hey ladies, have you felt yourself up yet this month?”
In fact, have you felt yourself up yet? No? Go do that now. I’ll wait here.
In the meanwhile, here’s a picture of some boobies:
Back? All squared away? Good. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be aware of the look and feel of your boobs. And seriously, it’s an excuse to grab those lovely bits up front and remind yourself of what all the fuss is about. Boobs are awesome!
The moral of the story: chain letters are stupid and make me yell at people. Also, be aware of and friends with your boobs. Any woman who’s ever had breast cancer, known someone with breast cancer or had a breast cancer scare can tell you how earth shatteringly devastating that news is. Please please please grope yourself and, if you find a problem, make an appointment immediately for a screening. Whether you check yourself or not, see your doctor regularly for an exam. It makes a huge difference.
Anyone who’s interested in donating to Breast Cancer Awareness, here’s a link to a Facebook group supporting multiple donation sites. Please go visit them and help make a difference. I’ll thank you for that kind of awareness raising!