Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness is so much more than a Facebook Status

This morning my husband's cousin sent me (and 67) of her closest female friends a message on Facebook stating that there was a new Breast Cancer awareness meme going around. 
I'm all for Breast Cancer awareness, as someone with the BRCA 2 mutation I have an 84% chance of developing Breast Cancer by the time I'm 70.  However the message I got made me want to burn my bra. Women are supposed to put the number of their shoe size, followed by the word inches and a frowny face.  Truthfully I was about to roll my eyes and ignore it until I saw the next part "don't tell the men", yeah, I have some big issues with this practice.

1: Saying you are raising awareness by NOT ACTUALLY saying anything about Breast Cancer isn't raising awareness. Especially when you leave out a key section of the population.  Despite what people think men can get Breast Cancer, they also have mothers, daughters, sisters and friends who are affected by breast cancer.  Men shouldn't be kept in the dark about breast cancer anymore than women should be kept in the dark about testicular cancer. Awareness leads to support.

2: Why does it have to be something sexual.  My shoe size is 7, so my post would be "7 inches :(" 
Even Ben said that comes off as a little insulting of your significant other. My bigger issue is how often we sexual breasts.  Don't get me wrong, Ben is a breast man, but it's still hard when thinking about the mastectomy I plan to have. They are part of our bodies and there are many women (my mother's birth mother) who would rather ignore the problem instead of lose their breasts.  Breast Cancer is NOT sexual and shouldn't be made in to something sexual.

3: what the hell does your shoe size have to do with cancer?  How does writing that help with awareness? I hate the false sense that people are helping when they could have easily done so much more.  Post information on where to get more information about Breast Cancer and where you can donate either money or even time helping people out.  When was their last breast exam? Wouldn't it be better to let people know the importance of getting checked early.

4: Early detection is key for treating any type of cancer. Support of friends and family is so important to those battling cancer.  So why would you make a post that excludes so many people from being able to properly get information?

Cancer awareness is of any type is important. I hope everyone will retweet, reblog and generally share this message with everyone they know and love.
If you want to raise Breast Cancer Awareness here are some sites to check out:
Susan G Komen for the Cure
National Breast Cancer Foundation
For more information on the BRCA 1 and 2 mutation check out:
Bright Pink
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)


Sarah Rice said...

You articulated my exact thoughts/ feelings on the facebook status "awareness" BS... in a much kinder way than I would! This is serious business... and having lost several friends to breast cancer, the foolishness associated with the stupid games aspect seriously ticks me off.

teawithfrodo said...

Sarah, I'm so sorry you've lost loved ones to cancer. I do hope you share this with others so people don't feel ashamed if they have any type of cancer. I want to make sure we include men in the awareness because I don't know how much I could get through without the support of my husband.

TheAngelForever said...

Ugh, not into those and think they keep getting more and more tacky with time. I support putting a pink ribbon on my photo and other items like that, along with blog posts to help people get educated. My friend Debra (A Frugal Friend) lost her mother to breast cancer. For at least the last two years she has done a month long Breast Cancer awareness theme during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She hooks up with companies to sponsor giveaways and tells people stories to let them know how it touches so many lives.

I have written a few posts about getting screened thanks to breast cancer being in my family. My aunt was diagnosed weeks before my almost 8 year old son was born. She tried to hide it from me since I was so very pregnant. As I learned to be a mother, she became a proud survivor. The hardest part was she was unable to hold my little guy because of all of her surgeries. This coming year I will have my first mammogram and know I will be blogging about it. My GYN said she wanted me to research more about the ages of breast cancer in my family. My great-grandmother was diagnosed around 32 and passed away before she was my age.

teawithfrodo said...

I've been through multiple mammograms and Breast MRIs. They aren't fun, I'd suggest not having caffeine the days before so your breasts aren't as sensitive.  
There are so many more things to do to promote awareness. But the biggest thing you need to do it SAY SOMETHING about it.  Without saying "I am doing this to raise awareness for Breast Cancer" people just see another stupid annoying meme.
I know you have a large following and I hope you will share this with them.  If your friend would like me to make something for your friend for a Breast Cancer awareness giveaway let me know.  It's so much a part of my life and I want to keep other women informed so they can protect themselves.

eastshorescribe said...

Here's something to consider:  If it hadn't been for the current facebook status campaign, would this blog have been written?  Probably not, right?  So then -- it worked -- because anything that creates a buzz and gets people talking about the issue is effective toward the public awareness of that issue.  Just something to think about.

lida said...

I have lost a lot of relatives to cancer and some of these cancers are preventable but, very few decided not to take the action to do so. I would love to raise money for the breast cancer awareness but, right now I am trying to get homeless women off of the streets. 

teawithfrodo said...

You obviously aren't a regular reader and haven't even looked at my profile.  I talk about Breast Cancer awareness on a regular basis.
And the Facebook status doesn't work for other people, you are still leaving part of the population out of the loop. 

A secret is not an effective way to create a buzz.  You need to talk about it openly.

teawithfrodo said...

You can do a lot to raise awareness without donating money.  But work on making sure you are off the streets first.

teawithfrodo said...

You missed the entire point of the post, which was that it would have been much better for all these people to put up links about breast cancer.  Not everyone is going to go on a web search because of some silly status update.  Nor is it effective or even helpful to leave men out of the loop on this. 

People who don't care either way aren't going to care about a shoe size update.  But people who do care will want to look at the links.  And again, doing anything like this with a "don't tell the men" direction added to it is just sick.  There are better ways to generate interest that don't involve keeping secrets from men about breast cancer.

eastshorescribe said...

Your blog was very well written and didn't fail to explain your point, so yes -- I did get it.  You're right -- not "everyone" will do a web search because of a status update ... but some will, and that is my point.  I am proof of that.

Is the FB status campaign the most effective way to generate interest?  Obviously not.  Is it silly?  Absolutely.  But that it is not the "most" effective way does not negate that it can be very useful in creating some interest in the cause -- and I think you would agree that some interest where there may not have been any at all can hardly be considered a bad thing.

In any event, I seem to have failed in my attempt to share a broader perspective with you, so I will leave you and your blog in peace.

Much luck to you in the future.

strugglinghappiness said...

I never thought of those chain mail letters as anything other then something super silly. I love your view. Can I borrow this idea for my blog?

teawithfrodo said...

Of course you can. This post was all about getting the message of awareness out.  I would appreciate if you can link back to this post and give me credit.
But I'm glad it is inspiring people to write about the subject.

Uttam Thapa said...

liked ur view

Christine Ward said...

you said it perfectly. Had they posted something like... haha.. just getting your attention.... I'm not pregnant but I AM trying to raise breast cancer awareness! Then it wouldn't seem so childish. I took wrote a blog about how I feel about it and am glad to see that someone else did too! <3

Jimplus4 said...

I've been wondering where this email is coming from because I would like to email them personally and see where they get their reasoning that this supports breast cancer awareness. 
1. Why would you exclude half the population.  You say its to confuse men.  Well, guess what.  Since this is the third time you've done this people don't really care anymore.  In fact it just irritates people.  Way to go!
2. Last year 5% of the people diagnosed with breast cancer are men.  As if men were not already embarrassed enough with having a cancer that strikes mostly women they have to be confronted with the thought that they are only around to be messed with.  Way to go!
3. As everyone knows that when people start talking about cravings it usually has to do with pregnancy. Having had fertility issues and with my sister going through problems having a baby it is quite disheartening to see all these posts of "pregnancies".  Then its just a "joke".  So then you're saying infertility is a joke. Way to go!
4. Last but not least you have scores of people having to explain that they are not pregnant. In all this explaining there is no real talk about awareness.  It is just seen as a stupid ploy .  And apparently by the email " It's time to confuse the men again " . Way to go!

teawithfrodo said...

I admit I've missed the most recent pregnancy one...and as a woman who was told that I'd never have a child it would piss me off.  My son was IVF and we were lucky to have him.
None of these things are joking matters.  And as you and I have both stated this doesn't just affect women.

Modjeskagirl24 said...

The thing is, when we post this as our Facebook status it draws attention. When no one knows what it is it creates a buzz and makes people interested. I have an aunt with stage 3b breast cancer because she didn't think she needed to get checked. I support this because any little thing, that helps even one more person get checked is a step in the right direction. It's one status out the millions you post each year, and it let's the girls have a little bit of fun.

teawithfrodo said...

"let's the girls have a little bit of fun."
Really?  Because Breast Cancer is fun?
Because awareness should exclude 50% of the population?
I haven't seen it make people more than annoyed. It makes Breast Cancer sexual. It's hard enough to think about having a breast removed without people making you feel like less of a woman without people making sexual games.

But hey, I guess it's ok to make a game that comes off as insulting of man's penis size because it's for Breast Cancer awareness!
Yeah, that sounded like a dumb statement because that's pretty much what the game is doing.  You aren't raising awareness by excluding husbands, sons, fathers and people who are a support system to those of us battling the disease.

The status has NOTHING to do with Breast Cancer. You can raise awareness without posting a back handed game that excludes men and is actually insulting. 

And...if you're posting millions of status updates maybe you need to learn what it really is to raise awareness. Just because you have someone suffering from Breast Cancer doesn't give you an excuse to make a "game" out of it.  It only goes to show what you really think of Breast Cancer. 

When I chose awareness I chose to make 100% of the people aware.