No, posting a fruit in your status does not raise awareness for breast cancer.

Last year a whole bunch of people decided that to raise awareness for breast cancer by having women would post the color of bra they were wearing as their status. Then women were asked to post where the “liked it” – “it” being their hand bag. So “I like it on the floor” or “I like it on the couch” – these status supposedly were raising awareness about breast cancer, or showing that you supported this cause. However, the whole time the thing that was constantly repeated was similar to what you might expect 13 year olds to sound like at a slumber party: “HEHEHEHE! *giggle* don’t tell the boys! Haha, the boys are going to be so confused!”

So I had to wonder, was this really about raising awareness for a deadly disease that one in three women can expect to get in their lifetime? Or was this about confusing the boys? I got invited to another event purporting to be about raising awareness. This time you were supposed to post your status as a fruit that best explains your relationship status. I commented thusly on the wall of the event:

Is this really for breast cancer awareness? Or is it to “confuse the guys” – that is all I keep seeing, is “don’t tell the guys!” or “we need to leave the guys wondering!” – if you really want to help with breast cancer awareness, donate to a research center or hospital. Volunteer at a center. Also, why do people need to know relationship status? How does that help promote breast cancer awareness? I sort of got the bra thing, because women with breast cancer usually cannot wear a bra. However, I am baffled by how relationship status is related to breast cancer awareness.

Also, why can’t men be involved? I feel like men are just as allowed to be involved in breast cancer awareness as women. After all, there are men who are married to women with breast cancer. There are men who are fathers to women with breast cancer. There are men who are sons to women with breast cancer. There are men who are brothers to women with breast cancer, and there are actually men with breast cancer.

If you really care about spreading awareness about breast cancer, donate, volunteer. Don’t just post some facebook status so you can “confuse the men”

This form of slacktivism really gets under my skins. A few people wrote angry responses saying that “men don’t go through what women go through, they might be family, but they don’t have all the worry. So don’t come on here yelling at people who are trying to make a difference. Shame on you.”  This person has never spent a day volunteering for anything, and I am the one trying to prevent people from making a difference? I march. I volunteer. I escort. I donate. I spent the last three months organizing and volunteering and letter writing and protesting to save Planned Parenthood. How is PP related to breast cancer? They provide screenings and affordable mammograms. They are helping women detect breast cancer early on so it can be treated.   And I am supposed to feel bad about pointing out the fact that posting a fruit in your status does nothing?

I was thoroughly disappointed in the fact that these people kept talking about how breast cancer does not affect men. Some of them flat out denying that men do not get breast cancer (they do), and usually it is detected too late to do anything, if it is ever detected at all.

Yes, the majority of people who get breast cancer are women.   Yes, this is a disease that must have people who support research and treatment. Yes, more people should be aware of it.  But posting a silly facebook status and then giggling about how “it leaves men wondering what is going on for days!” does not raise awareness. If men don’t understand you are raising awareness, than 49% of the population has no clue what is going on.  That man you might have told could have a mother dying of breast cancer. But because you want to be silly and “confuse” the boys, he will never know you also support the cause.

Posting a facebook status is easy, it is a quick way to make yourself feel better about yourself. Oh, yeah, I helped raise awareness for breast cancer today by putting in “cherry” as my facebook status! But it does nothing to actually help a cause. If you care about breast cancer, you should care about Title X, Planned Parenthood, and funding for the sciences, ALL of which are on the Republican chopping block. I think you should probably be doing more than writing a silly facebook status. You should be writing letters, writing blog posts, writing checks.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

College student, activist, planning on going to graduate school for public policy and women's health. I want to make sure women have access to reproductive health care, to affordable options for labor and delivery, and that women who choose to have children are able to provide for those children. On the side I want to fight for affordable higher education, and quality public schools. I also want to fight for LGBTQA rights. I want to fight for an America and a world that transcends RCG stratification and end classism and rasism. In short, I want to break the world in half and remake it in a feminist, womanist, humanist image. I am a bisexual woman, a feminist, a student, an activist, and a human. Not always in that order.

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