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A Purse is just a…

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

“I like it on the floor.”
“I like it on the kitchen counter.”
“I like it on the bar stool, nice and high.”

All day, I noticed an odd trend. The Facebook statuses of many of my female friends seemed to suggest their favourite location. For what? Couldn’t quite figure that out.

“I like it on the fur rug.” “…on the floor, under my desk.” “…next to my bed.”

The innuendos were clear; the meaning, however, was not.

The “I Like it On” Facebook Status Update, according to several news sources, is meant to bring attention to breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. The “it,” for those still in the dark, is a purse. As in, where do you like to put your purse. [Don’t worry, I had to look it up too.]

Several flaws in this ‘viral‘ campaign:

  1. Purposeful Obfuscation — the statement was worded in such a way as to draw attention while simultaneously leaving men, and anyone else who didn’t get the memo, in the dark. Hint: if you are trying to get folks to join the cause, don’t tick them off.
  2. Deliberate Titillation — the overt sexual suggestion cheapens the message.
  3. Inevitable Inaction — once people are told that it has to do with breast cancer, then what??

You want to do something meaningful? Make a donation. Spend time visiting a cancer patient. Urge Congress to ensure prompt and affordable treatment for every woman AND man fighting breast cancer. But don’t play some “game” and think that you’ve made any significant difference.

As for me, I scheduled my first mammogram. That’s how Frume Sarah is marking National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

What about you?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Elisa permalink
    Wednesday, 6 October 2010 3:39 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I was wondering the same thing and I can’t believe it has to do with breast cancer. Can I repost to my FB site? One of our secretaries has inflammatory breast cancer. She is the epitomy of that “warm and welcoming” feeling you want answering your phones and the door at the synagogue. She is struggling through chemo. She has no tastebuds. She has lost a ton of weight. It is a struggle for her to get to work which is the only place she wants to be where she can take her mind off of cancer for a while.

    I am making a donation and wearing pink this Friday in support of Pam’s Pals. I hope others make donations too. An FB status is not a statement.

    • Elisa permalink
      Wednesday, 6 October 2010 7:25 am

      I just got an email from someone who said that the reason for the status is to try and bring humor to the breast cancer patients. But, if you don’t let anyone in the joke – it just doesn’t make any sense. But, I won’t post to FB for fear of hurt feelings. Sadly, it is tough to be a frequent FB poster and blogger and have a thick skin about things you believe to be true.

      • Frume Sarah permalink*
        Wednesday, 6 October 2010 11:27 pm

        That is ridiculous. As you say, if it hasn’t been explained in advance, it can’t reach that goal.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 6 October 2010 11:26 pm

      Absolutely you can repost 😉 I will keep your friend in my prayers as she struggles to maintain normalcy in the midst of treatment.

  2. Wednesday, 6 October 2010 7:31 am

    THANK YOU.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 6 October 2010 11:30 pm

      You’re welcome. And thanks for finding me! I hope that you are well. Are you taking Abby’s next class??

  3. Former Reform Jew permalink
    Wednesday, 6 October 2010 12:07 pm

    I don’t remember if it was last year, or a few years back – but one year, women were simply posting various color names as their Facebook status updates. They were supposedly broadcasting to the world what color bra they were wearing that day.

    I share the same concerns you do, Rabbi Frume Sarah. However, if all of the innuendo and gimmickry gets even one more woman to get a mammogram, and as a result she finds cancer early and is able to recover completely…. ….then it might all be worth it. If you save one life, you save the world.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 6 October 2010 11:35 pm

      Yes, the colour game was for the same cause.

      And while I am a strong believer in that particular dictum from Sanhedrin 4:5, I fail to see how a bunch of sexually-suggestive statuses (without any explanation) will inspire anyone to do anything that will lead to early detection.

      My favourite status was this one from my friend, Sara:

      How about this: I picked my purse up off the floor and made a $100 donation to the American Cancer Society last night.

      • orieyenta permalink
        Thursday, 7 October 2010 5:23 am

        Yay for Sara…now there’s something that should go viral.

  4. Crys permalink
    Wednesday, 6 October 2010 12:45 pm

    If it gets people talking about it then it’s a good thing. I don’t think that posting the status is making a significant difference, but hopefully it brings the subject to the front of people minds and leads to people making significant differences. All the blogs that have been written about those statuses (like yours) and the questions between friends about what their status meant have brought awareness that it is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Now the next steps.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 6 October 2010 11:37 pm

      It would have been far more effective to have women change their status and give info about early detection. Or to cite the number of friends/relatives who have/had breast cancer. But most of the comments I saw in reaction to the suggestive statuses were suggestive in return.

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