“I like it in the…”

by Rachel on October 11, 2010

OK — I get it. It’s breast cancer awareness month, so the time has come…to post Facebook statuses that sound vaguely sexual to raise awareness? Or something.

I don’t know. When I first saw this status update trend going around, I didn’t know what was going on. I was just going to write, “I like it in the morning, because I love going to work with JBF hair. It’s a better pick-me up than Starbucks!”

Thank goodness someone sent me a Facebook message letting me know what the whole deal was about before I posted that.

Apparently, we were supposed to say where we like to put our purses when we get home each day and then it would…end breast cancer?

I still don’t get it, but I could at least do the purse thing.

“I like it on the floor, messy, with stuff spilling everywhere.”

Eh. Still answered the original question as well.

Anyway, this whole thing brings up a point that I really wanted to make after reading the October issues of Shape, Self, and Health over the weekend: that breast cancer awareness is becoming way too commercialized.

Let me be clear: I don’t have a problem supporting a good cause. Hell, I don’t even have a problem buying shit I don’t need. But I do have a problem buying shit I don’t need on the premise that I’m making a difference, when only a tiny portion of the profits are actually being used for the cause.

(I also have a problem with doing math, so bear with me on this.)

For example, I could buy a pink Cuisinart blender for $60 and $1.80 will go to BCRF. And that’s fine, if I needed a blender and was going to buy a Cuisinart one for that price anyway. But if I could be happy with a $20 blender, I could donate the other $40 directly to the BCRF. Sure, I wouldn’t have a pink kitchen appliance so no one would know I did it, but I’d be OK with that.

On the other hand, dig the Ford Warriors in Pink program. And I’ve been on the hunt for soft zip-front hoodies that I can wear to work with yoga pants, but that also have some character. So when I saw a pink hoodie that totally fit the bill from Ford Cares…and saw that they’d donate 100 percent of the profits to the Susan G Komen Foundation…I decided that that might be a good way to give a little something extra to breast cancer awareness.

I just worry that people are going to be so busy collecting their pink gear, they are going to forget to actually do self-breast exams. Don’t drop a bunch of cash on pink ribbon make-up cases but then complain you can’t afford to eat healthy or join a gym — two things that actually might prevent cancer in, um, you. We shouldn’t get so blinded by all the pretty pink versions of things we probably wouldn’t buy if they were a different color that we’re wasting our resources collecting stuff we don’t need — and the research foundations aren’t really benefiting.

And no one is benefiting when all you do is update your goddamn Facebook status!

So to answer the question of where you like to put it, I say, put it — your hard-earned money, that is — directly in the hands of the people who are going to use it.

I mean, seriously, a dollar-eighty? Cuisnart…I’m judging.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 maria @ Chasing the Now October 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

This is a great post, but an even better point. Companies are making a killing telling consumers they are making a difference by purchasing THEIR product. I’ve started making a point of looking into how much actually goes to charity before buying, because chances are yeah, I could live with a $20 blender if only a buck eighty is going to charity to begin with.

If you really want to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer, self examine and raise money to donate directly.

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2 Teri [a foodie stays fit] October 11, 2010 at 8:17 am

Another one of my favorite bloggers just posted with a very similar message. (http://www.365inspirations.com/1/post/2010/10/money-where-your-mouth-is-charitable-giving.html)

You two nailed it – do something that MATTERS to help the cause! Thanks for inspiring me!

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3 Dallas October 11, 2010 at 8:21 am

Also, I’m like, for reals? Can I please buy a pink t-shirt without it being about breast cancer? I mean, I love the TaTas, but…

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4 james October 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

yes you can buy a pink t-shirt whith out it being about breast cancer.so if would like to buy one from own company J dot JAY E- MAILE me back in let me know. P.S. LET EVERY DAY BE A GOOD DAY.

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5 MelissaNibbles October 11, 2010 at 8:24 am

Jezebel just did a bunch of posts about this. I completely agree. Also, I hate the color pink.

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6 Carolyn @ lovinlosing October 11, 2010 at 8:24 am

I have to agree. It’s definitely best just to make a direct donation or do fundraising for one of the foundations. I am currently raising money for the local Race for a Cure this Saturday. Unfortunately, while I already had a Survivor to run for (my mom), I will now be running for my Aunt who passed away on Saturday from breast cancer at the age of 47 only 6 weeks after her diagnosis.

Thank you for a great post!

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7 Bree October 11, 2010 at 9:01 am

I completely agree. I am all for helping the cause. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor and all the females in the family participated in Race for the Cure this year. It was a great event and I will gladly run miles and miles to raise money – for any cause for that matter – over buying pink stuff. (I don’t really like pink anyway! Shhh) There are other things that need more awareness or at least as much awareness as breast cancer receives.

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8 Marg October 11, 2010 at 9:22 am

Ughh…yeah not getting the whole FB thing. I love that Breast Cancer is getting so much attention, but I’d also like to see more attention put towards heart disease, the #1 killer of women and other issues. Also totally agree if a company is going to attach their name and say they’re donating to a cause, please make a significant contribution to the charity and not your bank account.

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9 emily October 11, 2010 at 9:24 am

Thank you for this post, the husband and I talk about this issue all the time. I’m pretty sure the worst were the pink KFC buckets on sale last year. Really?! Buy fried chicken to support breast cancer? Really, really?!?

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10 taryn October 11, 2010 at 9:25 am

hear, hear!

and i’m sorry, but what is with the “save the ta-tas” nonsense? i truly feel a very serious issue is being trivialized with that kind of language. let’s make breast cancer cutesy! not.

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11 taryn October 11, 2010 at 9:26 am

…what i meant to say was “sorry i’m not sorry.”

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12 Dallas October 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm

It also frames an important issue (breast cancer) in the lens of sex.

You call breasts TaTas when you are talking about them in a sexual way.

The “tatas” are important because they’re sexy. Therefore, we must save them.

This post at a blog I read sums it up: http://ofheartandmind.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/is-save-the-ta-tas-the-new-feminism/

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13 Kristen October 11, 2010 at 9:41 am
14 Smash October 11, 2010 at 9:57 am

Those FB status updates are KILLING ME. And last year it was the “post the color of your bra”. At least that was boob-related, though still annoying and unhelpful. Thanks for spreading the word to check to see how much is being donated from those products; very helpful information!

Save the boobs!

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15 Stina October 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

I couldn’t agree more! The last pair of running shoes I bought were the New Balance Susan G Komen shoes, but they were the same price as the non-breast cancer supporting shoes, they were the cutest pair of that particular shoe, and I was buying new running shoes regardless.

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16 MoneyMaus October 11, 2010 at 10:30 am

This is something I completely agree with! For years I have never bought anything pink unless I know exactly how much of my purchase is being donated to a KNOWN and legitimate breast cancer fund! It’s completely disgusting how it’s turned into total marketing tool…most of the time, a lot of the companies will have a “maximum” donation so the consumer is never sure if their $1 was actually donated or not! There’s a “Think Before You Pink” idea that I fully support, and I would rather donate $5 directly to a breast cancer organization or even volunteer so I know that I am directly making an impact! Good post.

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17 Tiffany (Stuffed with Fluff) October 11, 2010 at 10:44 am

I am 100% agree with this. As a general rule of thumb, I don’t buy anything “pink” unless I know what percentage of my purchase will benefit a LEGITIMATE bcrf. As as person who has had loved one directly affected by breast cancer, I want to make sure that my money makes an impact and actually goes towards research rather than into the pockets of greedy company execs.

More often than not, I will just donate directly to an org.

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18 Maya October 11, 2010 at 11:27 am

I do not understand the facebook status thing. At all. Ridiculous.

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19 Julia October 11, 2010 at 11:33 am

I think the Facebook status trend was really a low point for breast cancer awareness considering it was completely irrelevant, but apparently it can get worse: http://health.change.org/blog/view/pink_ribbon_hypocrisy_boozing_it_up_for_breast_cancer#share_source=blog-top_fb

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20 Kionda October 11, 2010 at 11:33 am

Very well said. BCA is a bit too commercialized as is a lot of things. It’s the ‘IN’ thing to be aware and stock up on all that is pink. Awareness is good and all but INVOLVEMENT is key here. You must take action to make sure that you as a woman are taking the proper measures to keep yourself healthy. Signing up for BC events and such is a great way to get involved as well. :D

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21 Aj October 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

This is such a great point. I completely agree that I feel strongly about donating to causes directly. I typically donate whenever a friend solicites for an athletic event – TNT, BCA, or a charity they have independently identified. I also contribute regularly to causes that are important to me (animal and queer rights). But the idea of buying something because a portion of the profits goes to a charity makes less sense to me…unless it’s a product I want, need, and is within my price range. And sometimes the product is contradictory to the cause…Emily made a great point about the KFC Pink Buckets…um, isn’t eating food high in saturated fat and hormones linked to higher incidence of cancer and heart disease? How does that make any sense?

Although I do love pink and would probably pay more for a pink blender even if it wasn’t BCA.

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22 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write October 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Great point. Seriously. You are right about how commercialized its become to the point that we don’t even know why we’re buying all this pink stuff.

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23 Aby @ always.aby October 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I’ve been thinking the exact same thing for quite some time. About the commercialization AND about the Facebook status thing. I mean, it’s fun to confuse people who aren’t in the know by posting that you like it in strange, random places, but it doesn’t actually DO anything for the cause.

It reminds me of when I was in the high school Honor Society, and we were expected to walk for four hours each year during Relay for Life. Those four hours went to our required community service hours. We didn’t have to raise any money for it… just walk. And if you did raise money, you got a t-shirt and all kinds of other silly things that I never wanted or ever used again.

It’s just all so silly!

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24 Jessica October 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I’m totally forwarding this to my BF because he keeps saying “i am SO SICK of hearing about breast cancer, can’t we all just focus on CANCER!?” BUT — your point is very valid. It’s kinda like all the black tie galas we have to go to for Mike’s work — they all support something… and that’s great… but what if we all left the tux’s and heels at home, and directly donated time and money without needing anything in return??? Think about how powerful (and personally meaningful) THAT would be…

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25 Emma October 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Dude, you are SO right. My mother survived breast cancer – yay! – and we both agree that this shticky stuff has got to go. You make all the right points – where does the money really go and who is it benefitting? That’s necessary information. And, while it’s important to raise awareness – and I imagine adorning your kitchen with pink appliances would be something of a conversation starter – it’s equally important to raise *money.*

And the facebook status thing to ‘raise awareness?’ Yeah, I didn’t get it either. Still don’t.

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26 zenlizzie October 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm

There comes a point when a cause needs less awareness campaigns and more donations towards research, treatment and support. I think that most people in America are aware of breast cancer as a vague, pink idea, but how many women are actually doing self breast exams? How many women have access to screenings and treatment? Those are the issues I care about, and those don’t get solved with sexually suggestive “awareness” campaigns.

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27 Becca October 11, 2010 at 7:32 pm

One of my sisters updated her status to “I like it when people realize that awareness doesn’t solve any of the worlds problems, that activism does. So skip the antics in your facebook status and do something that actually does make a difference. For every “like” I get from this status I will donate 50 cents to the Susan G. Komen foundation. I invite others to do the same.”

I liked it.

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28 Katie October 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Sounds like we have similar sisters… like this.

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29 Dori October 11, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Completely agree.

Exhale is having a promotion right now that I like. Any person who donates a minimum of $1 to breast cancer gets $25 off a spa treatment. I gave more than that and probably won’t book a spa treatment anyway (even with $25 off it is still pricey) but I like their incentive.

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30 Rachel's Mom October 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

I didn’t think the whole “I like it….” thing was even related to breast cancer awareness. I thought it was just something silly people were doing because the bra thing was so popular. Shows you how “aware” I am, I guess.

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31 Jenn October 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I jumped off the Breast Cancer Awareness boat years ago, after reading an article about the beneficiaries of this money–the research is nearly all based on treatment NOT prevention, and this reasearch is done by the same corporations who are selling the cancer treatment meds.

How about ending the suffering of breast cancer by spreading word and money for PREVENTION. Treatment is great, but really? There are other options. http://www.preventcancer.com/index.htm

(I am in no way affiliated with the Cancer Prevention Coalition, I just find it disgusting how our health care is all about increasing profits of bloated pharmaceutical companies.)

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32 Janeen October 12, 2010 at 6:07 am

Great post and I couldn’t agree more! We’ve been discussing this topic over at WEGO Health at the cancer community. I hope you don’t mind if I link your post there ( http://community.wegohealth.com/profiles/blogs/breast-cancer-awareness-on and http://community.wegohealth.com/profiles/blogs/the-pinkification-of-the-nfl?xg_source=activity). Please feel free to come over and add some more thoughts if you get a chance!

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33 Rosey Rebecca October 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I agree that the pink ribbon is becoming all too commercialized.

I’m actually raising money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on my blog. (I raised more than $500 last week in a blog bake sale). I feel very strongly about it because I’m actually having surgery and biopsy on Friday on a lump I found.

But I agree, making a box of cheerios pink isn’t helping anything. It kind of offends me actually. Some of these companies aren’t trying to raise money for a good cause. They’re trying to sell a product by using breast cancer research as an excuse.

While I have no problem with fundraising myself, I’ll never buy a pink Brita Pitcher, or something ridiculous like that.

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34 Kat October 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I have always hated the over-commercialization of breast cancer awareness for this very reason. Coloring something pink and telling people that “part of the proceeds go to breast cancer” is just a way of duping stupid people into buying crap they don’t need. I wish that companies had to give a certain percentage of profits in order to sport a Komen logo or something like that…there’s got to be a better way to police this. Instead of buying some stupid trinket for 20 bucks and having the company donate 5 cents to charity, why not just give 20 bucks to charity? It’s chic to care and to be charitable, but more money is going to the trend and the stuff than the actual cause it’s supposed to benefit. And I think people the fact that they use the color pink and it’s all about BOOBS makes it even “cooler.” I’d like to see heart disease or lung cancer – deadlier, more preventable, and targets men and women – get this much hype. Oh, and one of my friends messaged me weeks ago about that purse thing, just saying “let’s do this like the bra color thing just to be silly” – no mention made of breast cancer awareness at all. So dumb.

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35 lauren October 15, 2010 at 12:24 pm

http://jezebel.com/5663067/the-scar-project-exposes-the-realities-of-breast-cancer

Rachel, have you seen this? The SCAR project turns a lot of these pink commercialized “awareness” ads on their head. Powerful stuff.

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36 Claire October 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm

LLOL at your intended Facebook status… I love double entendres.

Thanks for the post!

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