I like it to actually have a point

There’s been a new meme running around Facebook recently. If you haven’t heard about it, or if you’ve been confused by it, allow me to post the original message to explain what it is:

Remember the game last year about what colour bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news. This year’s game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER – DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE- PUT IT IN YOUR STATUS!!! PASS THIS TO EVERY WOMAN YOU KNOW

How is this raising awareness? Or more importantly, who the fuck isn’t aware of breast cancer by now? We don’t need to be raising awareness that it exists. We need to raise awareness about self examinations, mammograms, or places where we can donate money. That will actually save lives. How is posting a cryptic facebook status update that’s purposefully meant to confuse people saving the lives of people who suffer from breast cancer?

Because it isn’t meant to raise awareness or save lives. The point of this is to titillate. Now, I’m not going to pretend I’m above juvenile humor – I just made a post giggling at naughty sounding scientific words. But this is even bellow all of the “I Heart Boobies” t-shirts – even though those reduce survivors to their breasts, at least they actually raise money for research, treatment, and prevention.

But this is just sad. I think this redditor sums up how I feel quite nicely:

I’m a dude. I thought some of my facebook friends were just horny and proud of it, so when I read things like “I like it on the table / couch / car,” I thought, “Good for you! You’re owning your sexuality, even if it’s some awkward public declaration of it! Go do your thing!” To find out it’s about breast cancer ruins both the campaign and my friends’ false sexual declarations.

Our society needs to stop treating women’s sexuality like it’s only acceptable when used as a tool or in jest. It’s just as sad that women are perpetuating it. They’re effectively saying “This is funny because I would never actually talk openly about my sexual preferences, or even admit to being sexual, and I like confusing guys so they’ll give me attention by posting a bunch of comments to my status!” Cut it out, ladies.

I like my purse on my floor. And I like having sex wherever I goddamn want.

Now go here to actually do something worthwhile – one click has a sponsor fund a free mammogram.


  1. says

    I really hate secrets, and having this secret meme outed like this is really satisfying. As satisfying as eating something fried or dropping an empty 20 gallon aquarium from a two or three story window.

  2. nickelking says

    What upsets me the most about this “awareness” meme is that it completely ignores the fact that males can get breast cancer too. If you’re going to have a campaign to raise awareness don’t hide it from those potential victims that are least aware.

  3. says

    A friend of mine posted this:I like it IN THE BANK, WHERE POTENTIAL BURGLARS who read facebook statuses to decide where they are hitting next, CAN’T get it!!!

  4. LS says

    Bravo, Jen. In far too many ways, October is “Make yourself feel better about Breast Cancer” month.

  5. ICD F-something says

    “We need to raise awareness about self examinations, mammograms, or places where we can donate money.”Mammograms, yes. Money donations, absolutely. Self-examinations? Not so much.Please correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of the current consensus is that in the general female population, “formal” breast self-exams aren’t stressed as the prevention method of choice: for many women, that time is better spent exercising, or building a relationship of trust to your doctor so that if and when something is out of the ordinary, you’ll notice and talk to them about it.The best strategy, in my personal opinion, is to make preventive health care available to everyone who needs it – and that is everybody. Cancer scares are horrible, and having to worry about how to pay for them doesn’t help in the least.

  6. mcbender says

    As somebody who *gasp* does not use Facebook, I would never have heard about this (idiotic) meme if you hadn’t written this post, so thank you. It’s a nice bonus to be able to hear about it in the same place as seeing it thoroughly shredded, as well.

  7. Annie says

    Actually, the bra color status last year attracted a lot of media attention. Articles were written, and in some of those articles were links to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website. So, the bra color status did generate information. Did I respond to the purse request in my FB status? Hell yes, as the request came from my friend who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. I did it as a wink to her. Awareness often takes a meandering path, and if ridiculous FB statuses will help a few people get some information that may be helpful to them, I don’t see it as so silly.

  8. theinsomniakid says

    Wow, dumbest secret meme ever. I’ve been wondering what that was about, thanks for outing it. And I agree with the above poster: not all women carry handbags. I like it nonexistent. Everything I need fits in my wallet and my pockets.

  9. says

    I hate hearing about breast cancer charity pink ribbon BS. My wife is in the health care industry, and she’s furious about all the “breast cancer awareness” nonsense, when there’s basically zero money to actually treat breast cancer for women without insurance. Who gives a damn if a woman can get a free mammogram if she can’t afford the treatment if a tumor is detected.Add that to my political views about charity organizations existing to raise money to grow the organization instead of actually solving any problem, and you have a recipe for Joe wanting to punch people in the head when they ask for donations… I don’t mind donating to my local clinic, that takes my money and does real good. The pink ribbon stuff is a waste and an insult.

  10. URdumb says

    Oh my God, get over it. It’s a fucking game on Facebook and you have to take it all serious. Jesus.

  11. says

    A couple of thoughts: First, that website does NOT fund a mammogram for every click. Clicks add up and THEN they fund one mammogram per X clicks. Who knows how many clicks it takes? They don’t even say. I salute your efforts to do something real, though; I really do.As for this meme: it makes me as nuts as the last one did. Coy and meaningless.Finally, yes, we need to spread the word that men get breast cancer too, and yes, self-exam has recently been shown not to be terribly effective for prevention, but I think the “boobies” slant is misleading in a dangerous way: This is about SAVING LIVES. We need women to survive breast cancer… not to save their breasts. While I mourn each and every woman’s breast that must be removed, I value their lives being saved more. In the same vein, let’s do something about attaching femininity to the breast-cancer campaign: pink colors? Saving breasts? Enforced femininity when trying just to SURVIVE?Wow, that turned into a rant.

  12. says

    Now that comment I liked for “I like it on a table” makes sense. You’re right, the point is definitely missed. It’s a little upsetting to think that sexuality has to be politicized and utilized in this manner.

  13. Laura says

    I like this meme. I think it’s lighthearted but still serves some purpose (last year’s game showed up in the media). Not everyone can be a full time activist. Playing this game to show that you do support breast cancer research may inspire others who may think that they are alone. After all, I KNOW breast cancer exists, especially because both of my aunts had it, but that doesn’t make me feel comfortable talking about it or showing my support. But this little game did. If it reaches just one person, it’s enough, but if it reached one person, chances are it reached more.

  14. says

    I dunno, I think taking a day out to participate in an activity, even a one-day thing like the Terry Fox Run (not sure what they have as an equivalent in the states) might be more effective.. standing up loudly with your support rather than posting a not-terribly-enigmatic status update.Frankly, I even think the total inundation of pink crap every where cheapens the cause as well. I’m so sick of pink that it actually makes me NOT want to think about breast cancer.

  15. says

    My favourite part is “…we had men wondering for days what was with the colors.”Because the most fun part of ‘breast cancer awareness’ is adversarial relationships between men and women! Men never get breast cancer (false) and aren’t affected by it (false), so they don’t need to be aware of anything! Ha ha ha, cute coy girls’-club time!

  16. Scaramouche says

    I’m with you in thinking that the meme does absolutely nothing for any real cause – but I don’t see that as a reason to get angry at those participating in it (I did too). I barely noticed the mention of breast cancer in the message I got, but imho the meme was too fun to pass up on. Cancer awareness or not, at least I liked it a LOT better than the empty “Omg pray for cnacer victeims” -type messages some people post.

  17. says

    In the past year, my wife went from biopsy to chemotherapy to a double mastectomy to radiation to (thankfully) remission. At this point, I’m comfortable saying I’m a lot more aware of breast cancer than I would want anyone to have to be. While I appreciate people’s good intentions, I think the fact that “awareness” is being promoted through a sex joke which makes “that’s what she said!” sound witty and sophisticated is a good indication that maybe, perhaps, we’ve got enough of it. Maybe it’s time to start raising awareness for other serious diseases, or maybe even trying to shift some more resources to, you know, saving more lives. Anywho, good post Jen.

  18. says

    Thank you for this. A lot of the bullshit associated with breast cancer awareness drives me kind of crazy because it totally misses the point and distracts people. Your post pretty much covers exactly what I’ve been thinking.

  19. I like it says

    Is it cheesy? Of course. But did it inspire blog posts and various other rants to bring up all the reasons why it’s cheesy and how awareness could better be served? Hmmmm…Maybe it’s cheesy in that like a fox sorta way?

  20. says

    You know, art comes in two basic categories (in my opinion): the “it’s pretty” and the transformative. This is not saying that there can’t be a melding of the two, but much like you can’t like the Beatles and Elvis equally simply pretty art and transformative are different poles on a continium. It would be nice that all art be transformative in some positive way, but the zeitgeist is the zeitgeist. Meh? What are ya gonna? Sometimes people just want to have fun.By the way, the best place where “I liked it” was on the grounds of Versailles. Not talking about my man-bag either.http://www.laughinginpurgatory

  21. says

    Is this meme supposed to be specific to the US then? Because over here on the civilised side of the planet we don’t just let people die because they can’t fund cancer treatment out of their own pockets.

  22. says

    Here in the U.S. we pay for all of the cancer awareness you can handle and then some, and for treatment you’re on your own. You can get a dozen free mammograms, but not a single dose of free chemotherapy.

  23. Jeanette says

    I find it hilarious that the bra colour thing was to “increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month”.

  24. sunnybook3 says

    Here’s a good way to *do* something for breast cancer survivors who’ve had mastectomies: Knitted Knockers (http://theknittingexperience.c…. I heard about this through Regretsy.com, where they raised money for knitters and crocheters to make the knockers. Knitted breast prosthetics are often more comfortable than the standard variety, plus they are far less expensive–and they are customizable, too! I hope the word gets passed around about this unique way to provide assistance for breast cancer survivors.

  25. says

    Not sure if you read her, but Cleolinda made a post about exactly the same thing… Her’s was a bit more excited though. http://cleolinda.livejournal.c…I love the way both of you present the situation. I had to link you both on my FB. :DI get so annoyed at these memes. They aren’t clever or witty and it annoys me when everyone jumps on the bandwagon.Instead of being made aware of breast cancer and testing and treatments, we’re all annoyed and irked at the innuendo taking away from the seriousness of the issue. This meme and the bra one fail on so many levels.

  26. says

    Your playing along with the purse thing reinforces my view of these memes: I see them as less about “awareness” and more about solidarity. It may not have any practical effect, but I don’t think that’s really the point. For some reason, we humans feel the need to express solidarity and support even in ways that have no practical impact whatsoever. Religious people say, “I’ll pray for you,” even when nine times out of ten they then forget to do the actual praying (as I know well from my days as a religious person.) Non-religious people occasionally say even more senseless things like, “Sending positive thoughts your way.” I think these silly little memes are in the same spirit; they’re meant to help people who are going through something hard feel like there are people behind them, rooting for them, caring about them.That said, I liked the “bra color” meme much better than the “I like it…” meme, for the reason you mentioned. The bra color meme didn’t rely on a double-entendre; it was only titillating once you were in on the secret, and thus was honestly titillating, not deceptively.

  27. hippiefemme says

    I bring breast cancer awareness with me everywhere I go; I have a pink ribbon tattoo on my ankle. My grandmother is a survivor of 17 years, and I did it to honor her strength. It starts conversations and is meaningful to me. One commenter doesn’t like the “pink ribbon stuff,” yet I like to think that maybe it’ll inspire at least one woman to schedule a breast exam or do a self-check at home.I’ve also found that it has a way of connecting people. Someone will ask if it’s for someone I know, and he or she normally ends up telling me about how a friend or family member (or the person) dealt with cancer. Sure, it may not cure the cancer, but it can be a release and a way to show support.

  28. Azkyroth says

    I’m curious; you have trouble finding clothes with pockets that comfortably fit it? I’ve noticed pockets on women’s pants tend to be small or cosmetic.

  29. ~m says

    precisely!!!and even if only women got breast cancer, why would leaving men out be helpful? i’m concerned about testicular cancer, just not for myself.annoying.

  30. says

    I did’t know what the heck was going on, but I thought something was strange when my mom said she liked it on the floor. Seriously, wtf? I probably never would have realized what was going on if I hadn’t read this. There was no way I was asking my mom.

  31. Angela says

    Thanks for the link! I personally don’t know how to knit, but I have several avid knitters on my friends list, so I included the link along with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in my pointedly non-cryptic post. Hopefully, someone will think it makes an awesome project.

  32. says

    I only hope people stop giving themselves self-congratulatory pats on the back long enough to donate money to the cancer research charities. In NZ, they will be doing a donation drive, and I will certainly be contributing. Y’know, actual money, instead of a stupid ‘mysterious’ FB status. Those x% won’t repost FB statuses drive me nuts too. Annie, get me mah gun!

  33. n0b0dy says

    Thank you! I was immediately livid the minute I got the forwarded message. And how nice to have the first message in my reader after I have ignored blogs for several days to be critical of the campaign. Breast cancer awareness bothers me on multiple levels. As previous commenters have pointed out, it is really disempowering to men who can get it and are least likely to know anything about it. I honestly didn’t mind the bra color thing so much because of the bra/breast connection. It at least had something to do with the issue. It seemed like a bit of harmless fun. But I find purses themselves to be a disempowering tool of oppression. I just want to be able to go out and buy some fucking women’s clothes with pockets. Is that so wrong?And I’ve really had it with the pink thing. Are men’s issues color coded with powder blue? No. So stop with the pink already!

  34. says

    I just had to write my own blog post about this blog post to ask why breast cancer isn’t scary. People are terrified of murderers and nobody needs to be reminded to lock their door and be afraid of strangers, but from the statistics I found, breast cancer kills more than twice as many people as murders in the United States.http://kalinbooks.com/breast-c

  35. says

    I preferred it when I thought people were talking about sex. I have posted references to several “x% won’t repost this, will you”, with “I’m not reposting the current meme about blah because it’s a pointless waste of electricity, so I did something useful and donated £y to a relevant charity instead. And I bet an even smaller percentage will actually do something useful”.

  36. Camilla Curtis says

    I am having 2nd thoughts about my earlier posts … and sincerely apologise to anyone I have offended or for making light of the battle so many have made or are making against this disease.

  37. says

    Gah, or the ‘daughter/mother/father/aunt/grandma/mailman/cable provider etc’ week ones.When I want to show how much I love and appreciate people, I go to them directly and say “Hey daughter/mother/father/aunt/grandma/mailman/cable provider etc, I love and appreciate you.”Friggin’ hate that shit.

  38. Lorri says

    life is too short to take these things personally. Sure people feel upset about these posts, but isn’t it more effective to be proactive and do something positive about it. The link to sponsorship is great. Why not use FB and other communication tools to promote them and other supportive strategies.

  39. says

    I’m going to post a link to this post to every “I like it …” status message I see, and post a link to it as my own status message as well. That will do a hell of a lot more for the cause than this little “awareness” game will do!

  40. tisworthwhile says

    Now, see… I don’t know about this. Maybe I live under a rock, but until I got that email about the secret meme I didn’t know it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In that regard, it did its job: I’m aware. What I do with that is up to me, like seeking out a link to donate or support free-mammograms, or thinking about my mom who’s a survivor, or whatever. And it’s gotten a lot of people talking about breast cancer and everyone it affects, this blog included.

  41. Vanessa says

    It takes five seconds to make a facebook post. It’s not like it’s wasting your whole day.

  42. maoquai says

    Also, women (and men, i should add) are expected, by law, to use their retirement savings, if they haven’t any other money, to pay for treatment. Breast cancer, and, well, many serious illnesses, have left people homeless, broke, and broken.

  43. says

    Male depression is coded blue. But you’re right: we should all stop using pink to promote and identify a largely female disease simply because it offends so many people.

  44. Screamer77 says

    My mom had breast cancer 4 years ago, she had a mastectomy and was ok for a couple of years. Last year it came back, it spread to her bones and liver. She’s not gonna make it, she already lasted longer than we were originally told. Yet, I agree with Jen and her post.However, I’m gonna play devil’s advocate for a minute here. This all Facebook thing my not be so pointless if it reminds a woman to go get a mammogram. Of course the problem is much more complicated, and as someone else said, many women can’t afford to be treated…. but some do. So, while we try to find a solution for the bigger problem, it’s good to remind women to call their doc and book an appointment.

  45. Zces30 says

    Jen, I just wanted to let you know that I put your post on a “note” in facebook so that friends of mine who don’t read your blog can see this. You summed up my feelings on this game exactly, and much more eloquently than I could have. Thank you for your continued awesomeness!

  46. cfmilner says

    I’m with you on the handbag/purse and pocket things. From years of commuting on public transport, I use a small backpack as handbags just get in the way. But would it kill designers to make jean’s pockets bigger or put inside pockets in jackets? And don’t even get me started on the pinkification of everything. As a geek I get terribly agitated seeing perfectly good tech covered with awful plastic pinkiness.

  47. Lozzie17 says

    This is about awareness and is doing a great job of making women aware of breast cancer. 99.9% of people with breasts AKA women all have hand bags, nappie bags etc. Why not use something that most women can relate to. I think this has been taken out of context and I say keep the status updates coming and let’s make more women and men for that matter aware.

  48. says

    I didn’t realize you’d posted this opinion, Jen. I wrote my own short thoughts on it on my blog today as well. I’m just fed up with memes anyway, and the ones about breast cancer have bugged me more than any other. I take it personally since my father died of breast cancer, and all this “awareness” seems like an over-sexualized game to me.

  49. says

    EXACTLY. One of the women I work for sells those ‘Save the TATA’s’ T-shirts and It makes me sick. Why must we be reduced to our boobs? She tried to sell me one once and I just told her that I’m not trying to save TATA’s I’m looking for something that will defeat cancer and save lives. Not make a serious issue into a sexualized joke. GodlessGirl and Jen – Thanks for you being you. We need more women like you two in the world.

  50. shasha says

    my sentiments exactly!! thanks for putting it much better than i did in my status update: “I like it when ppl don’t bother sharing where they put their handbagcause who cares. I like it when people just say i like to fuck on the kitchen bench, if that’s the case & they really must share. I like it when breast cancer isn’t the only social issue that people get active for. I like being forgiven by friends reading this who think I’m too cynical :P”

  51. Jenna Marie says

    I find this very lame as well. I place the effectiveness in the same realm as the “green screens” for Iran and whatever ribbon people want to plaster to the back of their vehicle. I do find it very ironic to see this post on this blog, as this was the place where “Boobquake” was created, which I feel is another event summed up succinctly by this:”Our society needs to stop treating women’s sexuality like it’s only acceptable when used as a tool or in jest. It’s just as sad that women are perpetuating it.”Am I the only one that finds the level of irony here completely off the charts?

  52. says

    I never intended for boobquake to go viral or for it to be some big awareness raising thing – it was just a joke on my blog that got out of control. I think that’s a big difference.

  53. says

    I got that message, but oddly enough haven’t seen one person’s status change as a result. I thought about it, but “I like it out of reach of my children” didn’t sound very titillating to me. Say, are you saying we should start talking about sex in our facebook status?

  54. Michelle Galo says

    Not to mention the fact that Boobquake (at least, to my understanding) was specifically about women owning our sexuality and our bodies, and having the freedom to dress as we choose without condemnation and scapegoating.

  55. biscuit says

    Just my two bits: I think the Ta-ta’s merchanising is tacky, but at least it DOES donate a portion of the proceeds to research, while making it very clear what they are supporting. No pun intended.

  56. One is allowed to have fun! says

    Oh come on. It does raise awareness, how many people had not heard about October being the breast cancer awareness month? I bet a LOT.Yes we all know about rbeastcancer but oh how we tend to forget, burry our head in the sand, it will not affect me, let’s not think about it, easier that way.These staus updates makes women think and hopefully also think about how they can prevent/ detct it early IF it should happen to them.it is a serious topic buit to go all bananas about female sexuality (feminists and especially americans, europeans are not so uptight..)come on.Talk about spinning it waaaaay out of context

  57. Kate says

    A bit cheesy? Yes. I am very aware of Breast cancer but this little games did bring in into the front of my mind! Very good point from others though regarding men and Breast Cancer.

  58. godzillaeyes says

    Indeed, woman. You summed up all the reasons I hated that meme much more eloquently than my brain could.By the way I’m apparently having dinner with you on Wednesday. Hi.Nicole (Jason’s friend)

  59. Ana says

    You know what I hate? That it’s so random. I mean, your bag? really? If you want a fb meme to raise awareness, why not “Where and when do you do your auto-exam?” The status would be similar (like “At night in bed” or “after the bath in front of the mirror”), but it would actually make women think about when was the last time they did it…because way too many don’t.

  60. Pippi Langstrumpf says

    First: Congratulations, I like the article! Mean, witty, straight to the point:)I just would like to add something to this part : “Our society needs to stop treating women’s sexuality like it’s only acceptable when used as a tool or in jest. It’s just as sad that women are perpetuating it. They’re effectively saying “This is funny because I would never actually talk openly about my sexual preferences, or even admit to being sexual, and I like confusing guys so they’ll give me attention by posting a bunch of comments to my status!” Cut it out, ladies.”Although it’s right that this meme plays with the social reality that talking openly about sexual preferences as a woman is considered weird, I wonder weather a facebook status can be considered as “public talking about myself”. The personality I choose to be on the facebook doesn’t necessarily show my real personality, it is one I design myself. And I apart from the discussion about awareness or not – I consider it an interesting psychological experiment to see the reactions of both male and female friends of mine… ;-P

  61. says

    I’m a bit late to the party here but THANK YOU! I’ve been trying to explain to my (female) friends that thinking this is stupid doesn’t mean ‘like, you don’t care about cancer and want women to die!!!1!!’ etc etc. I don’t know whether I just explained badly but they just really didn’t get it – I shall direct them here where you’ve done a much better job than I could. It is SO stupid and stuff like this, along with the prevalence of horoscopes/psychics/general supernatural shit in women’s magazines makes me quite depressed! Why do women buy into this crap?!

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