…wait, I think I did that wrong.
Have you all been seeing that whole thing with Facebook statuses? “I like it on the floor”, “I like it in a closet”, blah blah, very mysterious, CLEVER GIRL. Well, guess what, folks: it’s purses. People are talking about their purses. According to the Washington Post, women are putting up these cryptic statuses that are secretly about purses in order to raise awareness for breast cancer. Well, okay, whatever. I don’t have any problems with the individual people who are doing this. I think it’s great to try and use Facebook to get a message out, and I understand being excited about spreading awareness. But this whole thing really sums up to me one of my biggest problems I have with breast cancer activism, or specifically, sums up MANY of my problems with breast cancer activism. This meme is exclusively put out by women. Obviously it’s impossible to clearly define the spirit of each individual participating this, it was undoubtedly started out as a way to playfully keep men in the dark (“WHOA TMI what are you TALKING about even?”, the silly men ask). This bothers me so much. Of course, breast cancer is rightfully placed in the category of women’s health (though men CAN get it as well). But why does activism surrounding breast cancer necessarily have to exclude men? Men lose loved ones to breast cancer just as often as women do. The whole thing smacks of a silly, casual girls club–with an emphasis on the girl. Purses are unrelated to breast cancer. There are women who do not carry purses, and there are people who carry purses who are not women. Although activism like this is clearly well-intentioned, I can’t help but feel that it continues to ghettoize breast cancer, placing it firmly in the category of feminine-disease-for-the-ladies. Instead of teasing men (and women who didn’t get the purse-y memo) with deliberate vagueness, maybe everyone should try and have a more straightforward dialogue to promote awareness. At the very least, if we must use silly Facebook statuses to mask the deep tragedy and hurt caused by cancer, we should make sure people know what we’re doing. “Derpaderp lol lol blah blah BREAST CANCER IS TRAGIC.” See what I did there? I got to be silly AND use the words “breast cancer”!