Sunday, September 4, 2011

"It's Just A Game"...except when it's not.

For the last week or so, Facebook has been brimming with a new "game" that's "for women only" that asks you to support breast cancer awareness by posting a status that suggests you're pregnant and craving a certain type of food.  It concludes by "making it a secret" from all the men.  This bothers me.  On many levels.  So I'm going to explain.

First of all, I know that for some of you, this seems like making a mountain out of a molehill.  But once again, this is my blog, my opinions, my space to vent about how things make me feel.  Sooooo....if you think I'm over-reacting, then stop reading.  There is no reason to trash-talk someone for expressing her personal opinion on her personal blog.

Here's what bothers me about this "game":

1.  It has, every year that I've seen it, used a double entendre to show "support"
for something serious.  The first year was your bra color, then it was the size of
your shoe, in inches, (which sounded like the length of a certain body part)  then
last year was the location of your purse (worded to sound like locations for sex),
and this year it is a fake pregnancy announcement.  The purpose of a double
entendre is to sound suggestive while saying something completely innocent.
I personally thought the whole point of breast cancer awareness was to
"de-sexualize" the breast so that people would take this type of cancer as
seriously as we do lung and brain cancer.  This "game" seems to be in direct
opposition to that goal.

2.  It's supposed to be kept "secret" from the guys.  Why????  Men get breast
cancer, too.  I don't like portraying anyone as being dumb or  imply that they are
"not smart enough" to get jokes.  I get that breast cancer is mainly a women's
disease, but I'm not cool with this "anti-men" thing.

3.  Anyone who takes offense at this "joke" is told, "It's just a game.  You just
need to get over it."  Really?  There are a lot of things I put up with, but put-downs
are not one of them.  We tell our children that bullying is bad, but where do
they learn it?  From the adults .  I get that most women just kind of giggle about
"being in the know" , and just play along, especially as this is supposed to
promote breast cancer awareness.  But some people, me included, really think
that this is hurtful--especially the fake pregnancy announcement joke this time. 
I don't find the humor in it.  That's because of my prior experience and the fact
that I don't treat pregnancy as a joke.  It's hurtful to the many women that have
gone through infertility, infant loss, miscarriage, and those who have lost the
chance to become birth moms due to cancer treatments and hysterectomies. 
But then to belittle their hurt by telling them to "suck it up" because they took
offense?  That's bullying.  No, we don't have  to participate in the game, but
don't put us down for being upset about something that cuts us deeply.

4.  This "game" doesn't actually help breast cancer victims, survivors, or
research in any way.  It just makes suggestive statuses the rage for a couple
of weeks.  Wanna help out the cause?   Perform monthy breast self checks. 
This is important for everyone, but especially for those of us who are
"well-endowed" because our breast size makes it hard for a mammogram to
detect the early stages of cancer.  Check your husband out as well.
(This can definitely be more fun than your own check!)
Donate to the American Cancer Society.  Visit someone going through chemo. 
Lend a hand in the cancer treatment center.  Pray for those going through
treatments, mourn with those who have lost the fight.  But don't make light of a
serious issue---because behind every issue there is a real person going through
a real fight for his/her life.  Don't trivialize the fight.  Stand and fight alongside
them, helping them to fight, to endure, to win, or to die with dignity against
an enemy that seeks to rob them of both their humanity and their dignity.

In the end, I guess this "game" has increased breast cancer awareness, but mainly because we infertility bloggers have really gotten livid about the vehicle used this year to promote it.  I, like many of my fellow bloggers, find it offensive to "fake" a pregnancy in any way.  More than some, I know what it's like to both be pregnant and then have that ripped away in a heartbeat.  It's not fun, it's not a game, and it's making light of the great miracle that pregnancy and birth is.  As far as for it being all in good fun, I don't find any humor in double entendres in general.  In the privacy of my home, I will occasionally use one when joking with my husband, but never in public.  It's just crass.  I find more honest humor in the funny things that happen at church, in my classroom, and that come from the lips of my nephews and nieces.  I love a good practical joke--I had to, growing up with a younger brother like mine!  I can be a funny person.  But double entendres aren't funny.  And neither is this game.  It's not "just a game," any more than cancer is "just an illness."  Remember to think before you put something on-line--it's good advice for everyone.  Make sure that you lift others up, and shy away from things that put others down.

And for what it's worth,  I'm not "mad" at anyone who participated in the "game".  Just mad at the concept and not understanding how a Facebook status could help save someone from a potentially fatal disease.


  1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't understand why we won't promote something worthwhile. Want to increase awareness for breast cancer? Support self-advocacy. It may actually save someone's life, and it would be beneficial for ANYONE who's ever seen a doctor.

  2. I found you from your comment on Tigger's post. I really like your point about bullying. That's something that's getting worse than the game was in the first place.

  3. I've got you added to the post, hun. Thank you for writing about this, from your own experience. Maybe if enough of us stand up, people will think more!