Breast Cancer AWAREness?


Every year around this time, I receive an inordinate number of private messages from Facebook friends about Breast Cancer Awareness.  So many apparently see this as a fun way to promote a worthy cause, the elimination of breast cancer which affects many women, so why do I have such a problem with it? 1. It does NOT promote awareness. A few years ago I was asked to post the color of my bra.  Another year I was asked to post where I like to keep my purse.  This year I was asked to post a tiny heart symbol.  You are ONLY supposed to post the answer, but not explain what it means--even when someone asks. Most people have no idea it has anything to do with breast cancer and those who already know because they got the insider personal message from one of their Facebook friends, already know.  If they don't know, they are afraid to ask, so...how does this benefit breast cancer awareness? 2. What it so often DOES promote is frustration, embarrassment and inappropriate comments. The first year I was exposed to this, I had no idea what it was.  I saw a bunch of my friends posting, "red," "blue," "yellow with pink polka dots."  So naturally, I posted a comment, "What is yellow with pink polka dots?"  I received a PM a few hours later explaining what it was and asking me to post what color my bra was.  I'm sorry, but the color of my bra is between me, my husband and God.  I really don't feel comfortable sharing that with the general public. The year they asked you to post where you like to keep your purse, I saw an increase in the number of mutual male friends who had one of two responses to, "I like it on the counter!" or "I like it on the kitchen table!"  One was utter embarrassment either to the mere image it conjured up or to the response they received if they innocently asked what it meant. The other response men typically have to sexual innuendo is lewd comments.  I'm not going to post any of them here, but I'm sure you know what I mean.  Men are visual creatures when it comes to this subject.  The mere mention of something that smacks of a sexual image, is enough to illicit (or should that be elicit) comments that shouldn't be repeated in mixed company.  As Christians, isn't it our duty not to tempt men to stumble? Breast cancer is a serious disease affecting not only thousands of women, but their families as well.  A friend recently told me that she wondered if people whose lives were affected by breast cancer felt as if these "Green", "On the counter,"  and cutsie heart symbols were making light of their loss.  If you've been a reader of Communication FUNdamentals for any length of time, you know how much I love to joke, but there are times when it just seems wrong.  In my mind, these postings do not serve to inform or educate and have an incredible potential for miscommunication, embarrassment and to promote inappropriate comments. So this season, why not just post a pink ribbon and say, "This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month." Then post a link to Breast Cancer.org where you can get more information. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com.  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com   If you liked this article, please subscribe to our RSS feed and share the link…

8 comments


  • Mary Joy @Learning to Live a Surrendered Life

    JoJo,

    This is excellent! Thank you so much for stepping out and writing on this subject. I participated the first year not realizing what it was leading to. I could not figure out what it had to do with breast cancer but was afraid that if I didn’t participate I would offend people. My grand mother passed away from breast cancer. I take it very seriously. Thank you for getting folks back on track and finding a way to promote a very important cause while still giving those people suffering from it and their families their dignity…as well as the dignity of the organizations trying to help so many hurting individuals and families.

    I am going to share your article on my facebook page. God bless you, Jo Jo!

    Blessings!

    Mary Joy


  • JoJo

    Thanks so much for your comments, Bobbi and Joan. I felt very strongly about writing on this topic for some time.


  • Joan

    Yes… I have to agree with you JoJo. I received the requests and I’ve just ignored them. As you said, they don’t do anything to promote breast cancer awareness, and for me personally, the one asking where you put your purse, doesn’t bode well with having a Christian witness. I have to remember that I am reflecting the Lord and I don’t feel he would be pleased with me doing that. Glad you spoke up on the topic. It’s important how we communicate with things like this as well.


  • Bobbi

    I also agree wholeheartedly with this post. Unfortunately, Breast Cancer Awareness has turned into a marketing ploy which I believe helps feed such questionable posting approaches. Think about it. Does turning the front page of the Sunday paper pink for a month make a difference? I suspect that the extra red ink being put into the environment might actually increase breast cancer more than it increases awareness. Does buying a pink high heeled tape dispenser and pink clipboard at your local office supply place really make anyone more aware of such a devastating disease? I lost an uncle to breast cancer after his family spent years fighting. An aunt survived her treatment but with lingering chronic fatigue as a result. One of my grandmothers had a double mastectomy as a result of breast cancer. I don’t find the posts cute of humorous. I do see one of my sisters get paranoid about her risks every time these things go around. If all of the people who pass these around would instead write letters urging open cancer research between companies and between nations we might actually raise awareness in places that matter. I’m sure many mean well. I just hate the way that the desire is directed right off track.


  • JoJo

    Thanks Carla. I feel the same way. I know it is meant for a good cause, but I don’t feel it accomplishes its mission well. Thanks for the trackback to my Breast Cancer Nutritionist friend.


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