Facebook ‘Slactivism’ is not enough for Breast Cancer Awareness
October 11, 2010
I like it on the floor. I like it on the bed post. I like it on the kitchen table. Look familiar? Last week, in dedication to breast cancer awareness, thousands of females flocked to Facebook to hit send on statuses just like these ones. Yet instead of creating activism and awareness of breast cancer, all they seemed to do was create confusion and irritation — the opposite of enthusiasm for a cause in need of student care. Sure, it’s grabbed my attention, but for all the wrong reasons.
So, I’m letting the secret out. In spite of the warning in the Facebook message I received — “DON’T TELL THE BOYS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT!” — I’m going to. Sorry I’m not sorry.
By now, most guys have been filled in on the status, but to clarify, the message though seemingly suggestive is in reality just subjective. Instead of revealing the location of where women like to get it on, as implied, these statuses merely state where we like to put our purses the moment we get home. Clever (and completely unrelated to breast cancer), I know.
Taking a hint from last year’s “bra color of the moment” statuses, this year’s awareness status had absolutely nothing to do with breast cancer. Though the goal may have been “to see how powerful we women really are!” as the Facebook message proclaims, in all honesty, it only revealed how lazy we are. Aiming for activism, we fell short, smack-dab into “slactivism.”
By taking five seconds out of our day (maybe a few more if we’re trying really hard to be witty), we are accomplishing nothing more than racking up a few extra notifications. Instead of running a 5k and raising money, we are literally sitting on our butts and pressing send with our pinkies. The sweat and effort put into this is staggering. Really, I’m dehydrated just thinking about it.
Sarcasm aside, I can’t help but feel that posting statuses like these on Facebook (though well-intentioned) is ultimately trivializing breast cancer awareness. Rather than stealing the spotlight in the name of solidarity, these statuses only dress to impress. They lack substance and action, and do little to leave a lasting impact.
By now, some students may have already forgotten about them. By using Facebook as a median, this kind of awareness is branded with an expiration date. A news feed can only be updated so many times, while breast cancer spans generations and lifetimes. Somehow, by limiting ourselves to Facebook, the sickness in turn becomes lost in it. And I think we can do better.
Facebook activism is only as effective as the audience is interested. And as we all can attest, what is popular on Facebook today could be, and will be, gone and irrelevant tomorrow. Breast cancer awareness on the other hand is anything but irrelevant to many of us, and should be treated as such. So instead of liking it on the desk chair or the coffee table, let’s like breast cancer awareness on this campus and off of Facebook.