Last year about this time, lots of women found this message in their Facebook mailboxes: “Help spread the wings of breast cancer awareness by putting the color of your bra as your status. Just the color, nothing else. It will be fun to see how long it takes before the men will wonder why all the girls have a color in their status.”
My colleague Frances Tobin was not amused. Neither was I.
In “My Bra? Color Me Furious,” I objected “not for myself, but for friends I’ve watched face this beast. Many of them aren’t wearing bras of any color because their breasts are long gone. Instead they might be wearing a lymphedema sleeve on their arms, in some cases for the rest of their lives.”
As for the breast cancer awareness this meme claimed to promote, Matthew Zachary of I’m Too Young for This! Cancer Foundation had this to say: “Awareness is the same as rhetoric. Like propaganda without the marketing. It’s air. I welcome any cultural anthropologist to demonstrate successful awareness without action.”
I figured my post would generate hate mail (every post does) but nothing prepared me for the sheer volume. I got so many replies that I wrote a follow-up.
And now the Facebook minions are at it again, with a new meme:
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 (i.e. don’t respond to this message, but put it on your status) — 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 get the purse in as well and see how powerful we women really are!!!
Powerful. Women so powerful they can change their Facebook status lines.
Ah, and sure as the sun rises in the east, today the first purse-meme thang appeared on my Facebook wall. One of my friends “likes it in the car.” Nothing like imagining your middle-aged friends doing it to start the day off right!
More purse locations will be coming, I’m sure, as October grinds on. Purses on the floor, on the table, on a chair. Inside a basket. Hanging on a hook.
Oh, ha ha. Ha ha. Ha. And this helps cancer patients how???
Hey, I’ve got an idea for a game. How about all you coy, adorable gals pry yourselves away from your computers, grab your purses and plunk them down on the floor next to a friend who is suffering from cancer. Then you take her hand, and you tell her that you love her, and you’re going to be there for her no matter what comes. Then you ask her how you can help.
I know this game won’t be as much fun as the bra and purse online frolics. But since when is a disfiguring, often fatal disease supposed to be a source of fun for others? I must have missed the memo.
[originally published by Politics Daily in 2010]