Of Memes and Mammograms
Oct 25 2013
A ‘mamming’ campaign in the US that’s gone viral on social media ramps up awareness about breast cancer and its preventative measures
October celebrates the sacred feminine and is quite appropriately breast cancer awareness month. More and more people have been impacted by the news of friends and family suffering from this invasive and deadly disease. According to the American Cancer Society, about 232, 340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. About 39,620 women will die from breast cancer. Globally, it is estimated that more than 1.6 million new cases of breast cancer occurred in 2010 alone.
When Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy made headlines the world over, the general reaction was applause. Rather than burying her head in the sand like many do, she understood the inherent dangers in her genetic inheritance and took proactive and preventive measures.
To ramp up the awareness, non-profits and other organisations have been taking to social media to go viral. These provocative memes went viral via Facebook leaving many a man scratching his head and many women conspiring via their inbox.
-- ‘I like it’ Meme
This provocative meme hit my Facebook inbox a few years ago where women were encouraged to talk about where they “liked” to place their handbags. Obviously without talking about the said handbag, status updates would go something like this: “I like it on my kitchen counter” or “I like it in the living room”.
-- The Bra Meme
This meme was simply a one-word status update where you called out just the colour of the aforesaid garment. So the feed buzzed with “hot pink” or the popular “black”.
-- Vacation Meme
Though this one came through last year, it is making a rerun again. Every month is matched with the name of a place and the date of your birthday corresponds to how many months you will be away. This one didn’t have quite the same effect. “I am going to Mexico for 28 months”. Most comments to these proclamations would vary from “Have fun” to “Oh no you are moving?” to “Come and stay with us.”
-- Pregnancy Meme
Your status update went something like this: “I am 3 weeks craving Kit Kat.” Similar to the vacation meme, you would map your month to the weeks and the date to the snack.
-- October 2013’s #Mamming Meme
Not to be outdone, Michele Jaret and Michelle Lamont from 360i have created the “mamming” campaign. Not to be confused with Miley Cyrus and the twerking fad. This is supposed to raise awareness for the cause and encourage women to take preventative measures. This visually well-endowed campaign, pun intended, encourages women to take fully clothed pictures of their frontal assets resting on any kind of flat surface. A counter, a shelf, a table or a desk among others. Heck, there is one woman posing in front of a copier. Tag these photos with #mamming and post them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and they will be curated to the official site http://thisismamming.com
Michelle Lamont, one of the creators and a breast cancer survivor herself, believes that mamming is about embracing the awkwardness of mammograms. Anyone who has undergone a mammogram will tell you that it is not a fun experience. This provocative campaign may raise eyebrows, but it certainly has everyone talking, tweeting and tagging.
-- Conversation. Encouragement. Prevention.
I don’t intend to “mam” or go “mamming”. I may or may not participate in a Facebook meme. But I am all for the conversations that need to happen within our circle of influence. The advantages of social sharing includes these forums where we can share our experiences and raise our hands in solidarity.
As a woman, I know that we tend to procrastinate over health issues. Often, putting ourselves last on the list. Encouraging friends, cousins, aunts, mothers, grandmothers to get their regular check ups, is the best form of nagging I know.
According to the National Cancer Institute, when breast cancer is detected early in the localised stage, the five-year survival rate is 98 per cent. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. These are staggering stats.
My mother-in-law was a breast cancer survivor. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor. And I have dear friends who were diagnosed, who suffered and some succumbed.
I know from close quarters that “pink” is the colour of good health and true wealth. As Roman writer, Syrus says “Good heath and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings”.