I like it when you pick up your purse and do something.

man in suit with pink purse around neckSarah likes it on the floor. Maya likes in on the banister.

Apparently my mom likes it on the kitchen counter.

I really like it when you don’t put down your purse at all. I like it when you donate directly to research.Or when you run a 5K for the cure or when you tell me about the amazing survivors you know.

Awareness is great; action is best.

I find this whole vague viral awareness campaign genuinely problematic. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go check your Facebook feed.  Last year an anonymous Facebook user sent out a message attempting to raise awareness about Breast Cancer by asking women to volunteer the color of their bra on their Facebook status. This year women are encouraged to post where they like to put their hand bag.

Okay first off, what a mundane idea? Where do I like to put my purse? What if I don’t carry a purse everyday? I’m a student and I generally carry a backpack. Second what does this have to do with breast cancer awareness, at all?

This is totally exclusive to women who don’t carry a purse and men. Most men don’t carry purses, most men don’t get breast cacner. But some do! Either way they are surely just as interested in generating awareness since their wives, daughter or mother might be has battled against this awful disease.

My biggest issue is that this meme encourages women to make provocative statements or innuendos about an otherwise totally innocuous action. I fear that people are not thinking when they post and they are likely to receive unwanted comments that could potentially lead to sexual harassment. Most of the people are doing this because it fun or funny but they aren’t doing anything more. They’re not thinking about the implications of their statement. They’re not doing a self-exam which is likely to lead to early breast cancer detection. They’re not funding research which can lead to a cure.

What are they doing? Objectifying themselves, being mindless, sheepish and ignoring reality all in the name of “awareness”.

Pink washing at its worse this of year. So just take second and ask yourself is this really raising awareness, is it doing anything?

I propose that instead you post where you like to do you breast self-exam and how often.

I like to do it in the shower, at least once a month.

Where do you like to do it? How often?

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/alynn/ aLynn

    I. Agree.

    Oh, do I ever agree.

    Last year it was post your status as the color of your bra. I saw a slight…SLIGHT connection to breast cancer, however…this one? The connection here is nonexistent.

    I don’t get it. And I didn’t participate. My mom battled breast cancer for the better part of 2009 and 2010 (now cancer free!) When I do things to help awareness/action surrounding breast cancer, I actually DO something.

    • http://feministing.com/members/alynn/ aLynn

      Here’s my “I like it” statement from my FB:

      “Ok…I’ve kept silent about this whole “I like it…” status thing. But someone please tell me how it relates to breast cancer awareness! I think I’d be more tolerant of it, if it was just for fun and NOT pretending to be meaningful. Here are my “I like it…” statements. I like it when women preform regular self exams. I like it when older women get regular mammograms. I like it when women with family history and other risk factors are especially vigilant. I like it that my mom fought and overcame breast cancer like a champ!”

      • http://feministing.com/members/alwaysanswerb/ A

        This is great! Mine was a bit snarkier:

        “If it’s the month of October and your facebook ladyfriends are posting innuendos as their statuses, it’s probably this year’s misguided attempt to raise breast cancer awareness”

  • jrwittenberg

    Is it really bad that I performed my resistance by allowing a friend to tag me in a post that made NO sense and made some what of a mockery of the whole thing? She wrote “I like it with J on Sunday morning in the Church parking lot.” We both had a laugh because it made no sense and kind of screwed with the people who were “raising awareness.”

    BTW – Can I say how much it infuriates me that we “raise awareness?” Fuck awareness. Breast cancer isn’t some giant secret – EVERYONE KNOWS about it. Let’s raise funds for research and and teach women how to do self exams. I donate money whenever I can. How about we make a facebook meme about something people DON’T know about, like the women dying from childbirth in 3rd world countries or the illiteracy rate in the developing world? Anything that people could get me to believe other people might have actually not heard of.

  • http://feministing.com/members/mlemac28/ Emily

    I totally agree. These memes are for attention as opposed to doing anything for breast cancer. If there was a viral status update posting your bra color, or where you like to put your purse for fun, it wouldn’t bother me as much. But doing it under the guise of “raising awareness” for breast cancer, I get annoyed. First of all, I think we’re all aware of breast cancer. Aside from the 5Ks and pink ribbons, most of us have either had breast cancer, or known someone who has. I really would like to see a viral campaign where we all (men and women) list the people in our lives who have had breast cancer, then provide a link for donations.

  • http://twitter.com/ariellecohen ariellecohen
  • http://feministing.com/members/wastelock/ Jen

    Oh….so THAT’S what those “I like it” statuses are all about!
    I had no idea that it had anything at all to do with breast cancer awareness. I thought it was just a stupid meme about where you like to get it on.
    How effective.

  • http://feministing.com/members/orgostrich/ Orgostrich

    From my friend’s facebook:

    Nobody cares about your bra or handbag or where you like getting laid in your house or whatever. If you care about cancer:

    1. Get a PhD, do research
    2. Donate money to cancer research
    3. See your doctor
    4. Realize that no amount of antagonism or childish games aimed at men has ever stopped a cancer cell from dividing.

    Number 4 is my favorite. :)

  • http://feministing.com/members/musicisfreedom/ Lana

    Having put up with many postings of this pseudo-activist drivel on Facebook, I find this campaign counteractive and annoying. Do something or leave well enough alone; don’t post for the “fun” of it.

  • http://feministing.com/members/polkadotjunkie/ Ariana

    I myself have spent the better part of the day blogging, fuming, and ranting about this particular issue.


    Thanks for sharing!I love it. I updated my fb status with your comment <3

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    I posted it, knowing full well it does nothing for cancer but feeling idle. About all that ensued was a brief discussion of the book “1984”. Guess I keep more literary friends. And guess that no matter what else I do regarding cancer or any other cause I happen to feel passionate about, I’m “mindless, sheepish and ignorant” because I wrote about a purse on Facebook.

  • http://feministing.com/members/minandstormy/ Jenny

    Is it truly this big of a deal? I don’t think it’s “mindless, sheepish, and ignorant” to re-post a silly little internet meme on a silly mindless website. Stupid? Pointless? O.K. But “mindless, sheepish, and ignorant”? That’s a little much, a bit harsh.
    This whole blog could have said, “Breast cancer awareness month ‘I like it….’ internet meme=Stupid.” And that would have been better than blowing it out of proportion and crazily pwning a group of people who, though in a stupid and pointless way, were just trying to be nice.

  • http://feministing.com/members/dark_morgaine_le_fey/ dark_morgaine_le_fey

    Everyone’s basically said this already, but I also thought this was a pointless meme. I wasn’t sent this chain letter, I only learned about it when one of my friends explained the meme in her status because she thought it was a useless trend. When I saw the explanatory status, I realized that another friend had posted something about liking it under her bed. I had commented in ignorance, not even getting the sexual innuendo, I just assumed she meant she liked to be under her bed (she has a leaky ceiling, and I thought maybe it got so bad she sought cover).

    Once I found out, I felt rather left out of some sort of women’s activity, that no one thought to tell me. I wouldn’t have done it, but still, I hate when people intentionally come up with something to confuse other people for no good reason. Inside jokes are one thing, but this is just moronic. As Orgostrich already put it, “Realize that no amount of antagonism or childish games aimed at men has ever stopped a cancer cell from dividing.” This is the point: to end a disease that kills women in droves every year. As someone else mentioned, there is a small percentage of men who are affected by breast cancer, and they need to be included in the fight for the cure. We all need to be helping in any way we can, even if all we can offer is money, to make sure treatments are sought, not just for breast cancer, but all deadly diseases. I gave money to prostate cancer research this summer, because men shouldn’t have to die from that disease either. The men didn’t have to get together and have secret man-memes to motivate me either.

  • http://feministing.com/members/mighty-ponygirl/ Mighty Ponygirl

    Wait, what is this “breast cancer” of which you speak? I am completely unaware of it. If only there were a completely oblique way for me to become aware, to have my awareness raised, then I might understand what this is about. Evidently, breast cancer is some sort of lady’s accessory crisis.

  • http://feministing.com/members/katyg/ Katharine Griffith

    I am a busy law student who works part time and volunteers, and it is easy for me to develop tunnel vision. I was on Facebook the other night and I saw that three of my friends had these weird posts up. I googled “I like it on the” and discovered that they were posts for breast cancer awareness. I had completely forgotten that October was Breast Cancer awareness month, and I went straight to the Making Strides site to make a donation. People are busy, and if their lives haven’t been affected by breast cancer they might simply be oblivious. I think the phrase popping up on Facebook is a good thing because it will cause people to look up the movement or ask their friends about it. The provocative aspect of the campaign makes it more likely that people will ask about it. I don’t like there is a reason to get huffy about anything (no matter how silly) that might cause a few more people to get online and make a donation. It worked for me!

    • http://feministing.com/members/myfashionista/ Anita

      I agree with KGirl, at the end of the day, it got everyone talking and/or remembering that it is breast cancer awareness month. Thanks KGirl, for being positive about a harmless way to get the word out.

  • ktncro

    i love that people are trying to raise awareness about breast cancer, but i have to agree with most everyone on here that a) this meme has pretty much nothing to do with breast cancer, and b) i don’t know many people who are NOT aware of breast cancer at this point. research is probably more important. october is also domestic violence awareness month, so while you’re posting where you like to do your self-exams, which is an idea i love and am shamelessly going to spread around, how about posting how you like your relationships (with respect? dignity? consent?), or how you’d like to see the community (or the justice system!!) respond to victims/survivors of DV (with compassion instead of shame?)?

  • http://feministing.com/members/colleendolores/ Colleen

    I received an idiotic group message on facebook immediately after reading this that requested me to post my answer to that ridiculous question. I responded by asking how purses are relevant to breast cancer, and politely suggesting we answer the “Where/when do you self-exam” question. Here’s hoping I get an intelligent response from someone.

  • http://feministing.com/members/alwaysanswerb/ A

    All of the comments in this thread are golden. I’m lol’ing all over the place, AND! Now I know what breast cancer is.