Insensitive Facebook Memes for 'Breast Cancer Awareness'

Why You Might Want to Think Twice Before Posting These Status Messages

Woman on Facebook getting angry at insensitive pregnancy meme for breast cancer awareness
It's bad enough coping with real pregnancy announcements on Facebook... the fake ones are just too hard to handle. Maskot / Getty Images

Every year in October, and sometimes as early as September, a number of social media campaigns begin in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The most viral and popular ones tend to be indirect methods of raising awareness, and often involve posting obscure Facebook posts.

A couple of these viral awareness posts have gone too far, however, and may be hurtful to those trying to conceive or living with infertility. They involved posting something to you’re status that implies you’re pregnant when you’re not.

Given that breast cancer treatments can lead to infertility, it doesn’t make sense to post these insensitive memes.

Here are two of the most popular breast cancer awareness fake-pregnancy memes.

“It's confirmed... I'm going to be a daddy/mommy.” Meme

This meme asks people to post one of nine statements. (Though there are different variations on this with more or fewer options.)

You’re supposed to choose one and post it without explanation. Then, when someone likes or comments, you are to send them a private message that goes like this:

“You should not have liked or commented on my post, because now you have to pick from one of these below and post it as your status. This is the 2015 Breast Cancer Awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport.

Pick your poison from one of these and change your status:

1. Diarrhea again?

2. Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket.

3. How do you get rid of foot fungus?

4. No toilet paper, goodbye socks.

5. I think I’m in love with someone?

6. I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear.

7. It’s confirmed – I’m going to be a mommy/daddy.

8. I just won $900 on a scratch card.

9. I’m getting married.

Post with no explanations. Sorry I fell for it too.

(Don’t let the secret out either)

And remember it’s the 2015 Breast Cancer Awareness.”

As for the year mentioned above, this meme went around in 2014 and 2015. It'll likely reappear in future years.

“I’m ______ weeks and craving ______.” Meme

Another meme is to post "I'm _____ weeks and craving _____."

It is similar, in that you post an obscure status. Then, whoever likes or comments gets sent instructions on how to propagate the meme.

This one has a formula based on your birthday. The number of weeks is indicated by your birth month, and what you’re craving is based on the date of your birthday.

Here’s the formula:

  • January: 1 week
  • February: 2 weeks
  • March: 3 weeks
  • April: 4 weeks
  • May: 5 weeks
  • June: 6 weeks
  • July: 7 weeks
  • August: 8 weeks
  • September: 9 weeks
  • October: 10 weeks
  • November: 11 weeks
  • December: 12 weeks

For the date, the formula goes like this:

  1. Skittles
  2. Starburst
  3. Kit-Kats
  4. M&M’s
  5. Galaxy
  6. Crunchies
  7. Dairy milk
  8. Lollipops
  9. Peanut butter cup
  10. Meatballs
  11. Twizzlers
  12. Bubble gum
  13. Hershey’s Kisses
  14. Chocolate mints
  15. Twix
  16. Reese’s Fast Break
  17. Fudge
  18. Cherry Jello
  19. Milky Way
  20. Pickles
  21. Crème eggs
  22. Skittles
  23. Gummy bears
  24. Gummy worms
  25. Strawberry Pop-Tarts
  26. Starburst
  27. Mini-eggs
  28. Kit-Kat Chunkies
  29. Double chocolate chip crunchy cookies
  30. Smarties
  31. Chocolate Cake

Are Pregnancy Jokes a Way to Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer?

Several years ago, there was the meme where women posted the color of their bras. Another popular meme involved women posting things like, "I like it on the kitchen counter," referring to where they like to keep their purse.

The bra color meme kind of related to breast cancer. (Not really, but bras make you think of breasts, which is sort of close.)

It’s unclear how the purse meme related to breast cancer, but at least the status messages were funny.

But the fake pregnancy status memes—where essentially you give the impression that you're pregnant, when you're not—can be hurtful.

Don’t forget that breast cancer survivors often face infertility. So not only is this hurtful in general to the trying-to-conceive crowd, it may be hurtful to cancer survivors.

If you're feeling peer pressure to play along, or just want to respond in some way, you may consider posting something like this...

"I'm NOT 10 weeks and NOT craving Peanut Butter Cups. I wish I was. And I'm sure there are many breast cancer survivors who lost their fertility wishing the same thing."

Or you can ignore the meme completely.

The best option? Post an informational article on breast cancer. Share something that will actually raise awareness and educate people.  

Comments From Readers

Here's what some readers had to say about these memes.

Dee writes:

"I fell for this and I congratulated my friend, I was extremely embarrassed afterwards when I found out I had been duped. I felt really bad. Especially because I only saw the first half where she announced her “pregnancy,” had I clicked the “more” button I would have been able to stop myself from looking like a fool. I am not a fan of this trend, that’s for sure."

Annabel writes:

"I will NEVER participate in these games! The games do absolutely nothing for breast cancer, either awareness or actual patients. If someone would actually like to help, then be a volunteer driver, push the cookie cart at the nearest cancer center, or find some other volunteer position that is helpful. Not these idiotic games! Breast cancer is NOT a game!"

Ohev writes:

"I participated in this. It wasn’t the most well-thought-out breast cancer awareness chain, so I didn’t do it on my infertility group, but some people *are* overly sensitive. I can understand why some infertile people did choose to opt out of it. On the other hand, the one person who did get angry with me was someone who was too young to really have children anyway, and I’ve experienced actual miscarriages. Also, having a healthy female fertility is correlated with breast cancer due to the hormones involved, so many women who have breast cancer have had children already.

"That little chain was kind of fun. It didn’t bother me nearly as much as some people complaining about their pregnancies on [Facebook] bother me."

Jennifer writes:

"I learned this the hard way. I’ve been getting calls and e-mails all week congratulating me. It is so annoying."

A. Grant writes:

"​For many breast cancer “survivors,” the problem with ALL of these games is that it reduces our lives to a fun little joke on Facebook. My friends are dying and others are posting games about breast cancer.

"And then when someone posts a game, and we say something about it, it generally starts a fight and ends with a bunch of people who don’t have cancer telling the “survivor” to get over it. As if we can just walk away from cancer. You see, those playing the games can walk away, but we cannot. It is something we live with.

"Many of us have blogged about it. What we need is ACTION. Not your shoe size. So instead of posting something on Facebook because it’s easy, do something a little more difficult and actually DO something about cancer. See your doctor for a physical, get your mammogram, donate a few dollars to an actual charity that is helping people with cancer, cook a meal for someone in chemo, etc. That is real awareness."

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