A few quick words about the Facebook “I like it” meme that was supposedly created to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Two days ago, I was surprised by the fact that half of my female Facebook friends’ statuses consisted of “I like it,” followed by some surface (which, upon asking, you could find out is the surface on which they supposedly like to keep their purses.) I think it’s silly, but more than that, I think it leads to complacency where complacency should not be. Yes, saying something with implicit sexual meaning is a great way to get people’s attention to a cause, but nothing about saying “I like it” and responding to questions about a status by saying that it is to raise awareness about breast cancer actually does anything to fight breast cancer. Unlike a lot of important causes that people do not often like to talk about (ulcerative colitis and depression, for example), people love talking about breast cancer–the idea of it, that is. Anywhere you look, you can find a pink ribbon or wristband for breast cancer awareness. But few people like to actually do anything to work towards fighting and preventing breast cancer–and that’s what we need to encourage, not awareness that breast cancer exists.
We need to tell women that if they have high density breasts, mammograms may not be able to detect cancerous growths in their breasts. We need to tell women about their risk factors and what they can do to try to prevent breast cancer. We need to teach girls how to do a breast self-exam. These are the things we should be doing–not spreading the world that breast cancer exists. There’s nothing bad or malicious about the “I like it” meme (from a sociological point of view it’s actually pretty fascinating), but I think that just like last year’s bra color fad, it’s very much a wasted opportunity.