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Facebook Wants to Know Where I Like My Purse. Here's Where They Can Put It.

5 years ago
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It's meme season again.

Last year about this time, lots of women found this message in their Facebook mailboxes: "Help spread the wings of breast cancer awareness by putting the color of your bra as your status. Just the color, nothing else. It will be fun to see how long it takes before the men will wonder why all the girls have a color in their status."

My colleague Frances Tobin was not amused. Neither was I.

In "My Bra? Color Me Furious," I objected "not for myself, but for friends I've watched face this beast. Many of them aren't wearing bras of any color because their breasts are long gone. Instead they might be wearing a lymphedema sleeve on their arms, in some cases for the rest of their lives."

Facebook, purseAs for the breast cancer awareness this meme claimed to promote, Matthew Zachary of I'm Too Young for This! Cancer Foundation had this to say: "Awareness is the same as rhetoric. Like propaganda without the marketing. It's air. I welcome any cultural anthropologist to demonstrate successful awareness without action."

I figured my post would generate hate mail (every post does) but nothing prepared me for the sheer volume. I got so many replies that I wrote a follow-up.

And now the Facebook minions are at it again, with a new meme:
This year's game has to do 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." Well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status (i.e. don't respond to this message, but put it on your status) -- and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let's get the purse in as well and see how powerful we women really are!!!
Powerful. Women so powerful they can change their Facebook status lines.

Ah, and sure as the sun rises in the east, today the first purse-meme thang appeared on my Facebook wall. One of my friends "likes it in the car." Nothing like imagining your middle-aged friends doing it to start the day off right!

More purse locations will be coming, I'm sure, as October grinds on. Purses on the floor, on the table, on a chair. Inside a basket. Hanging on a hook.

Oh, ha ha. Ha ha. Ha. And this helps cancer patients how???

Hey, I've got an idea for a game. How about all you coy, adorable gals pry yourselves away from your computers, grab your purses and plunk them down on the floor next to a friend who is suffering from cancer. Then you take her hand, and you tell her that you love her, and you're going to be there for her no matter what comes. Then you ask her how you can help.

I know this game won't be as much fun as the bra and purse online frolics. But since when is a disfiguring, often fatal disease supposed to be a source of fun for others? I must have missed the memo.

Follow Donna Trussell on Twitter.
Filed Under: Woman Up

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Donna...this article struck me as poignantly funny and erudite. A friend of mine, yesterday, posted a "Note" on Facebook about all the cause-related memes, including the "where I like my purse" one. His opinion, in general, was that if we really wanted to make a difference, we could simply and easily give money to a nonprofit or charity that went toward a cause we believe in. Since I work for a nonprofit organization (Georgia Community Support and Solutions), in particular one that has a Facebook Cause, I would love to find more ways to get people's attention on social media sites. However, I wouldn't resort to something as (for lack of a better word) elementary as the purse-meme. Do you have other advice for individuals and organizations who are trying to get their message out to a large number of people? It's most welcome. Thank you!

December 07 2010 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I feel the same - that it's not useful in any way. My status offered to go with any friends who needed hand-holding to get a mammogram as the one friend who is dealing with cancer knows that I'm trying to make myself available for her as often as I practically can (which works out to not often enough b/c it's a two hour bus ride each way)

October 09 2010 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Instead of posting where you keep your purse, post how much you took out of that purse to donate to cure research.

October 08 2010 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

who said the purse game had anything to do with cancer?

October 08 2010 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to valpisces's comment

I don't know if you were being sarcastic, but the purse game definitely had to do with cancer. A friend of mine explained that to me, and I was as puzzled as anyone else outside the loop. I'm in favor of breast cancer support and/or research as much as the next person, but with such vague, disconnected "efforts," I can't help but feel that some of us are not all that interested.

December 07 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How dare you assume that there are those of us who may have 'frolicked' online with these goofy games haven't sat alongside someone suffering from ANY debilitating disease....I sat in a follow-up appointment with my mother and my mother's surgeon after her as one of the caretaker of a very vulnerable longer being cared for by the woman who cared for me for so many years...I listened closely and carefully about how to examine the wound watch for possible infection...what to pay attention to with the drains below her armpit...I stood by my mother as she tried to stand long enough for me to quickly try to wash her hair in the sink and not hurt her because she so desperately wanted clean hair after way too long....that hair that she would eventually lose from chemo. Thankfully she had nurses coming in from time to time...and my mother is an almost 11 year breast cancer survivor! \

October 08 2010 at 11:00 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

hear! hear! and, why don't we open up our purses, and show our support with a donation -- of any amount -- to support breast cancer research.

October 08 2010 at 10:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Copy-pasting a status such as "Support breast cancer awareness!" is so common nowadays that we hardly give it more than a cursory glance and it often doesn't even register in our minds anymore. Those statuses really, honestly do absolutely no good. Posting a status such as these double-entendres (assuming the viewer did not yet know about the purse thing) confuses the reader and forces them to think about it. It stays on their mind for longer, they start asking questions, even more questions once they start seeing it over and over again; once it is revealed that it's about breast cancer awareness, it actually has a lasting affect and stays on their mind longer, thus, making it slightly more likely that the person will actually do something about breast cancer awareness, whether it be volunteer, donate, or just pass on the word. I don't support the sexual innuendo, but I do honestly believe that these statuses do more good than what most people think of as "support" nowadays.

October 08 2010 at 8:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why do you care who it's helping? How do you know it isn't helping someone? You can't speak for every breast cancer patient. One of my very close friends that I have known for years and is a Breast Cancer survivor supports all these types of awareness for the cause. Something is better than nothing regardless of what the circumstances are.

October 08 2010 at 1:19 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

so what do you do if you don't actually know anyone with breast cancer and can't afford a donation? (aside from attending/participating in Hopewalk and other cancer research fundraisers or joining an organization that supports the American Cancer Society and other cancer research programs, such as Phi Sigma Rho)

October 07 2010 at 9:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

As a gal who participated in this last year and will again this year, I have to say it has brought about awareness of this devastating disease. It meant that afterward my friends and I would talk about when we did our last self-exam and when our mammograms were scheduled. It might be silly and a waste of time to you, but for others it is a poignant reminder to take care of ourselves to reach out to those in suffering.

October 07 2010 at 8:12 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mommy's comment

Well said.

October 08 2010 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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