Thanks to the wide reach of Facebook, I know what color bra a lot of my female friends were wearing late last week. It was one of these viral crazes that pop up on social media fairly regularly. Women were supposed to post a Facebook status update with the color of their bra, under the guise of “raising awareness of breast cancer”.
I’m not amused. And I AM aware.
My wife had a breast cancer scare a couple summers ago that was not one bit amusing for several stressful weeks. My sister is a breast cancer survivor, who spent the greater part of two years undergoing a number of very uncomfortable drug regimens and surgical procedures. And I have a friend and former colleague who spent her late summer and fall driving from the Fox Valley to the UW Carbone Cancer Center, undergoing chemo and radiation, to beat breast cancer.
She bravely underwent the rigorous treatment and courageously posted some pictures on her Facebook page showing what chemo does to you. You have to be very centered, grounded, confident, intrepid, and undaunted to show the whole world what you look like without hair.
That’s breast-cancer awareness. Posting what color your bra is: not so much.
As so many women have written in blogs and other online publications this past weekend, there can’t be one person in the world who is not aware of breast cancer. So many of us have been touched by it; most of us personally know someone who is (or was) a victim. Mary Carmichael, posting on the Newsweek blog, said we don’t need a context-free reminder about it, we need a cure, and some scientific clarity about best ways to prevent the disease, not a pointless Facebook exercise.
I have no doubt that the hundreds of thousands of women who posted their bra color last week had the best intentions, and I happen to know many of my Facebook friends in Madison who did it are tireless fund-raisers for breast cancer research, running marathons, donating money, proudly wearing pink merchandise, which they purchased because proceeds go to breast cancer research and treatment.
The thing is - if I have to spell it out even further - posting an update about what color your bra is a pointless exercise. It’s not awareness; it’s not education; it doesn’t raise one cent to help the victims of breast cancer.
I don’t think anyone was harmed by it, but obviously I have no sense of humor about such a deadly disease, when it’s touched people so close to me.
Next time one of these viral crazes goes around, instead of posting your bra color, go to Komen.org or cancer.org or your favorite breast cancer charity site and make a donation.
Then, instead of posting your bra color, just post the dollar amount you contributed.