I Am Going to X for Y Months!
This just may be the first post I’ve ever written knowing exactly how the comments will go before I have even written the first word. There will be some who say, “oh shit, now I get it. I saw that and didn’t know what the hell my friend was talking about.” And there will be some who will say, “that is so fucking stupid that I can’t believe grown women believe this is raising breast cancer awareness.” And there will be about four people — most of whom comment anonymously — who say that it’s just a fun game and it raises awareness and if I don’t like it click away and if I’m writing a post about this, I must be a loser.
I am a loser.
Today I encountered the latest breast cancer awareness meme on Facebook. You write, “I am going to X for Y months!” and fill in the X and Y with a country that reflects your birth month and the day of your birth. For instance, if your birthday was today, it would read, “I am going to Mexico for thirteen months!”
And somehow, from that, we are supposed to learn something about breast cancer. Even though breast cancer itself isn’t mentioned. Even though this meme assumes that the reader somehow forgets that breast cancer exists until they are reminded once again with a meme. As if I’m eating my Cheerios and reading Facebook and suddenly shout out, “oh crap! I totally forgot all about breast cancer! Now I remember that breast cancer exists… wheeeew.” And somehow, that saves a life.
I am all for education — I will forever be grateful for Toddler Planet’s viral post about inflammatory breast cancer. That bit of social media potentially saved lives. It made me aware of something I didn’t know existed. It gave me concrete steps to take if I saw any of the symptoms listed in the post.
What I do have a problem with is slacktavism because it’s lazy. Because I think it does more harm than good when it makes people roll their eyes rather than listen. I wrote about this a while back with the fake pregnancy meme that went around and how it had the potential to hurt. And while moving somewhere may not evoke the same emotional reaction as a pregnancy announcement, I find the whole thing to be equally as annoying — and yes, I will write this type of post every time I see it because it bothers me in the same way that I feel an internal rage building when someone describes themselves as “really nice” when we all know that they’re a total bitch.
Because unless you are the type of person who calls your friends and coyly tries to confuse them, I don’t see why you’d engage in that same behaviour on Facebook. And if you are the type of person who calls your friends and says, “I’m moving to Mexico. Just kidding! Think about breast cancer!” well.. I truly don’t understand why people think that the very same social rules that we use to comport ourselves in the face-to-face world aren’t applicable to the online world.
I know I’m going to be told to lighten up. That it’s just a game. It’s just Facebook. It’s just for fun. But breast cancer isn’t for fun. Breast cancer isn’t a joke. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. And frankly, I think it sucks that I have to live in a world where people hear that someone is offended and their response is lighten up, just as much as people who tell me to lighten up probably think it sucks to live in a world with someone as un-fun as me.