warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Facebook's "I Like It" Status Demeans Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Kristen Villarreal |
October 9, 2010 | 10:38 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


(Creative Commons)
(Creative Commons)
I like it on the floor.

It goes without saying exactly what goes through your mind when you read that sentence, whether it is on Facebook or in a dirty magazine. What does this recent surge in Facebook statuses mean? Facebook users claim it raises breast cancer awareness.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with it comes all sorts of campaigns to raise awareness and research funds.  The recent ‘I like it’ game was launched on Facebook October 4 and is similar to the last October’s breast cancer awareness game in which women posted the color of the bra they wore as their status. Unlike this year’s awareness tactic, at least the bra color game had something to do with breasts.

The inbox message forwarded between female users reads:

"Hopefully all/some of you remember the game last year about what color bra you were wearing at the moment and pasting just the color in your status line (the purpose being to increase knowledge of October Breast Cancer Awareness month). It is that time again. That was a tremendous success, men were wondering for days what was up with the colors plus it made the news. This year's game is with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home. For example "I like it on the couch", "I like it on the kitchen counter", "I like it on the dresser", "I like it in the closet", well you get the idea. Put your answer as your status with nothing more then cut and paste this message and forward to all your female friends on FB-"remember only to their inbox". The bra game made it to the news. Let's see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER - DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE- PUT IT IN YOUR STATUS!!! PASS THIS TO ALL THE WOMEN YOU KNOW....but don't tell any guys what it is so it keeps everyone wondering"

How any one would ever think these sexual innuendos raise breast cancer awareness is beyond me. 

The inbox message predicted two results correctly. Men and unsuspecting women are being bombarded by this overload of suggestive status updates and news outlets are posting stories. These stories, however, are not to raise awareness of breast cancer, but to document the insensitivity of the game’s launchers to a serious life threatening disease.

Breast cancer is the number one killer of women between the ages of 15 and 54 and will take the lives of almost 40,000 women this year in America alone. 

Meg Gibson, Time.com writer, asked – does titillating men lead to cancer awareness? Or does it just titillate men? Don’t get me wrong - campaigning to raise awareness for breast cancer is honorable, but is this facebook game the most appropriate way to raise awareness for such a deadly disease? 

Douglas B. Brill of the Express-Times says the campaign "cheapens the real cancer fights," and I could not agree more.

While there are women fighting for their lives, teenage girls who are overlooking the supposed intention of the game, are posting this status along with a ':)' or an 'lol' and receiving suggestive and lewd comments from sex-crazed teenage boys. Men who are supposed to be confused by this status are just that. End of story.

No link is posted to a site that urges you to donate money to a cancer research foundation. I would love to hear of an instance where reading one of these risqué status updates sparked a meaningful conversation about the serious impact breast cancer has on women across the globe and lead to an actual donation. 

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about educating and empowering women about their health and teaching the importance of early detection and prevention. The 'I like it' update does none of the above. It is demeaning and undermines the efforts of all other breast cancer awareness organizations by creating this game that people do not understand. 

Do not humiliate yourself or degrade breast cancer awareness efforts by updating your status with where you like to put your purse. If you really want to raise awareness or join in the fight against breast cancer donate to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and post the link as a status update or promote National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by volunteering for a program near you. 

Reach Reporter Kristen Villarreal here.

Sign up for Neon Tommy's weekly e-mail newsletter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.