October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Why do so many Facebook users need to co-opt another month of the year to promote awareness of an illness whose movement has gained so much momentum in the past 25 years? They’re not even soliciting donations, let alone increasing awareness. The whole idea of this ‘pretend you’re pregnant’ scheme is tricking people, not helping them realize ‘hey, early detection is key.’
Here’s an idea. Maybe, instead of making everything into some cutesy little joke or changing your profile picture to end child abuse or something useless like that, everyone could instead really reflect on whatever it is they’re supposed to be promoting. Instead of posting a nice little status update like ‘teehee, I’m 6 weeks and craving Oreos!’ we could try something like ‘I care about the women in my life and hope they all understand how important it is to everyone who loves them that they perform monthly breast self-exams and receive annual clinical breast exams.’ Instead of changing a profile picture, which is supposed to somehow miraculously end child abuse, we could pick up the phone and call the cops when our neighbor’s child has mysterious bruises and broken bones.
Maybe if everyone chose to openly state their intentions or act on their beliefs, we wouldn’t even have to have awareness months or weeks for anything, because those of us who care, those of us who are personally vested in these movements, don’t wait for a special day.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I’m pretty sure breast cancer patients and survivors and their families think about it more often than a twelfth of the year.
September is National PCOS Awareness Month, but I definitely think and talk about it the rest of the year.
Does having a whole month for awareness really do any good overall? Doesn’t it just encourage people to speak up when it’s that time of year, so they can relax, believing they’ve done their part, for the other eleven months? Doesn’t the overwhelming publicity during that one month just lull people into believing that the problem is being taken care of? What do you think?