Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My undergarments and handbag do not help cancer patients

Last year, there was a game on Facebook that had a message circulating urging women to post the colour of their bra. It was touted as raising awareness of breast cancer and said by participants to have been a tremendous success and kept the men guessing for days.

The bra game did not start as anything to do with cancer awareness. It was circulating for at least four days as "Tee hee, let's be coy with the boys and keep them guessing." Someone tacked on the cancer awareness thing later. It made the news, sure, but it did very little for cancer awareness because of the complete lack of information and ideas. It was essentially "Hey, breast cancer exists!" Yeah. No kidding. What good does that do?

Now there is the purse game:

'This year's game has to do with your handbag/purse, and 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", you 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!!!


This is just as silly and ineffective as the bra game.

One of my aunts died after a long and painful battle with breast cancer. Posting about the colour of my undergarments or where I leave my handbag masked in faux sexual innuendo, and pretending it's to help the cause of women like my aunt would be frivolous, disrespectful, and merely make light of that very difficult time.

I don't understand the logic behind being coy and mysterious being an awareness campaign, when these viral campaigns don't even include any links or idea for how to do things that will actually help people. If people want to help and raise awareness, they need to do something real. Donate money, donate time, knit caps for women who have lost their hair after chemo, give a donation of food to Compassion House, share the stories of loved ones who have been touched by cancer, send people information on real, tangible ways that they can help.

Be coyly naughty and mysterious if you must, but please don't cheapen cancer and what families continue to go through by pretending it's for a good cause.


  1. Last year, I participated in this, thinking it was a fun way to raise awareness (I had an aunt who died of breast cancer, too). But this year, I thought it was already too silly and the innuendos that arose were not amusing. Men even came up with equally irritating FB status messages.

    I tried to raise awareness this year by posting the pink ribbon on my status, along with its meaning. It may not do much (I only have a few hundred contacts), but at least these few people would become more aware.

  2. But if it helps just one "aunt", isn't it a success?

  3. Totally get where you're coming from. I participated in the bra game too last year only to realise later on that it did nothing significant to raise awareness to breast cancer.

  4. "Anonymous said...

    But if it helps just one "aunt", isn't it a success?"

    No it ISN'T a success- posting whatever on your FaceBook status is not helping a grandmother, mother, sister, aunt, friend. If there was a link to say a donation site or an informational site then yes it might help- but coyly posting inane comments does not help anyone except make it an "inside joke". Many of my friends do this. I have TWO on my list who DID post requests for donations for their walk for breast cancer. I donated last year to another Walk for Pink (or whatever it was called I don't remember) because this friend SURVIVED breast cancer.

    But ugh... these statuses are just plain silly- excluding men is not helping "the cause" either. It just makes it look like one big inside joke.

    Oh- I am a male.