Oh Facebook. You’ve done it again.
Ladies, have you seen this new Facebook meme, floating around our little Facebook inboxes?
It’s that time of year again in support of Breast Cancer Awareness! We all remember last years game of writing your bra color as your status? or the way we like to have our handbag handy?
Remember last year so many people took part that 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 Broadcast this to all ur female friends to see if we can make a bigger fuss this year than last year
I did my part… So now its YOUR turn!
The idea is to choose the month You were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the girls only and lets see how far it reaches around. The last one about the bra went round the world.
So you’ll write… I’m (your birth month) weeks and I’m craving (your birth date) !!! as your status
Example: Feb 14th= I’m 2 weeks and craving Choclolate mints!!
You want me to fake a pregnancy announcement on Facebook… to raise awareness… about breast cancer?
That makes about as much sense as offering a free vasectomy in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. (Yeah… remember when that happened?)
I had seen the mass mailing in my Facebook inbox myself but ignored the message as soon as I saw the first sentence. Chain letter emails aren’t exactly my thing. It wasn’t until I saw this post from Rachel Gurevich that I took a second look at what was sitting in my Facebook inbox and was appalled at the 71 replies all blindly replying their various “weeks along” and “cravings.”
In Rachel’s post, she writes about asking her husband how he would feel if she had posted that meme as her own Facebook status. She writes:
I asked my husband what he’d have thought, if I had been crazy enough to participate in this new meme, implying I was expecting and then said “just kidding.” He made clear he would have been very hurt. As would all my family and friends, thinking they should be thrilled for me, when in fact, it was just a “joke.”
After reading her post, I stopped and asked my own husband.
“So that’s it? Just post the status and no link to any kind of breast cancer website?”
“Yeah… that doesn’t make any sense.”
Larry hit the nail right on its ugly little head.
What could have been a perfectly good opportunity to link to a targeted awareness-raising website, a donation call to action, even just a simple breast cancer FAQ, instead became a confounding pile of shit that stinks of insensitivity and pandering.
And now, your moment of irony.
By using a fake pregnancy status to raise awareness for breast cancer (without any supporting context acknowledging that the status is supposed to in fact, raise awareness for breast cancer), it completely misses the boat that infertility is a very real side effect of any cancer.
I have written before about how Facebook is a dangerous, unforgiving territory for folks dealing with infertility. This meme, in all its pandering cutesy glory, has only made it an even crueler landscape, as, in the run up to Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we’ll have to see lots of silly “I’m 16 weeks and craving beans!” statuses flooding our Facebook feeds.
Which could be particularly awkward if say, you’d just seen the person the day before that status, like what happened to Mel at Stirrup Queens this week.
In replying to the growing comment thread on Rachel’s original post about this, I mused about posting the following:
“I’m 0 weeks and craving a baby. Infertility affects 7.3 million people in the United States alone, affecting as many as 1 in 8 couples. Like me. Learn more about raising awareness for infertility.”
So, to make this truly educational, let me clean it up a bit.
“I’m 0 weeks and craving a baby. What does this have to do with breast cancer? Infertility affects 7.3 million people in the US alone – like me – and it’s a very real side effect for cancer patients. If you or someone you love has been touched by cancer or infertility – or both – check out Fertile Hope and make a real difference by contributing today: http://bit.ly/odomMY“
Edited to add: Fertile Hope, for the record, is an initiative of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and its mission is “dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.” So by linking to them, you’ll help increase awareness about both cancer AND infertility at the same time. Woohoo for double-whammy awareness raising!
So… who’s with me? Who wants to post this as their Facebook status over the next few weeks and days?
Let’s flood our friends’ Facebook feed with actual education and awareness-raising, with a genuine call to action that asserts us as empowered, compassionate individuals rather than another mindless sheep posting pointless statuses in the Facebook meme herd.
If you’re in, let me know in the comments. Share how this status has landed with others once you posted. Have a more clever, empowered, or educational status that you would or have posted about this? Share in the comments!
Let’s reclaim sensitivity, let’s raise awareness for an amazing organization, and let’s inspire actual action instead of just passively hiding it in a pointless, cruel Facebook meme.
Let’s take back Facebook.