A few weeks ago a message was forwarded to me on Facebook. It encouraged me to update my status with where I like to set my purse. The result would be “I like it on my kitchen table” or “I like it on the dresser.” Suggestive. But why would I do it? To put dirty thoughts into the heads of all my Facebook friends? Duh, to raise breast cancer awareness! Of course!
Straight up, this meme sucks. It’s bullshit and impractical because one’s purse and where one likes it have nothing to do with breast cancer. Equally problematic is the fact that suggestiveness and sexuality are being equated with breast cancer awareness (which is, uh, never mentioned) rather than some kind of pro-sex movement. If we’re going to be pro-sex, I’d prefer it be appropriate. As Allison Martell pointedly wrote on Twitter: “If we want to be pro-sex, why not actually post where we like to have sex? Why is coy sexier?”
To that point, an anonymous commenter on my original post claimed I was discouraging female sexuality by opposing this meme, when I just think it’s too unrelated and ineffective. You may also remember last year’s meme for the same cause about posting one’s bra colour, which, the more I thought about it, became less offensive because it actually concerned breasts.
I mean, I get it – it’s a fun game that we girls can all get in on to fool our clueless man friends, get people to ask questions, et cetera. I think this approach is poor, and again, too far removed from the cause it claims to support. As Shannon Whibbs wrote on Facebook: “I’m all for being united, but why does it have to invoke images of people fucking all over their houses?”
It doesn’t make any sense to me, and for more reasons than the meme not being conspicuously related to breast cancer awareness:
1. I think it’s safe to say that most people know about breast cancer. In the past few years the disease has received an incredible amount of research and fundraising. In fact, Run for the Cure 2010 just raised a record-breaking $33 million.
I say this not to diminish the importance of breast cancer education and awareness, but to highlight the fact that breast cancer research and funding has increased dramatically. This “I like it” business doesn’t give enough information to change much of anything, especially regarding breast exams. And so I think memes like this are incredibly ineffective on the awareness side and that our focus should instead be on practical ways to battle and screen for the disease.
2. If you want to help, and, you know, actually make a difference, donate to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation or another breast-cancer specific charity. Encourage your friends to do the same. Examine your breasts (you’re never too young to get it) and encourage other girls to examine theirs.
3. This meme perpetuates various female stereotypes and assumes that all women embody a certain kind of “femininity,” if at all. (Speaking of breast cancer awareness and super-pink femininity, I actually participated in Run for the Cure this year as part of a somewhat controversial team [Booty Camp Fitness], donning its pink camo, which is totally not my style. But that’s a blog post for another day.) For example: what if you’re not the kind of girl who carries a purse? Would you substitute the status update with where you like your wallet? “I like it in my pocket” doesn’t really work the way the creators want it to, does it?
What do you think? Do you like the “I like it” meme and if so, why?