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“Raised Awareness”

Something I’m pondering and want to go on about.

I just read the wishlist of a young woman who wants, for Christmas, to raise awareness about a couple of serious issues, like prematurity and domestic violence.

Now, I’m all for dealing with serious issues, but I don’t think that raising awareness is really necessary for everything.

Do we really need to raise awareness about breast cancer? No, we do not. If you’re alive in the 21st century Western world and you don’t know what a pink ribbon stands for, you really need to get out more. If you’re a woman over the age of 18 and don’t know that you should be doing monthly breast exams, then you need to kick your parents and private school teachers in the legs for allowing you to grow up this stupid. If you’re a (straight) man over the age of 18 and you don’t know that the week after your girlfriend or wife’s period is the perfect time to feel her up, then you really, really ought to think about your priorities.

What we need for breast cancer is not awareness. What we need is a fucking cure. So, screw “raising awareness” about breast cancer. I think you should only wear pink ribbons if you’ve personally been responsible for raising $1000 or more in money spent on curing the disease. Or in treating the disease (yes, that includes survivors and their families).

Instead of wishing for “raised awareness” about an issue, I think I would wish for something about the world to change to make that issue no longer there. For instance, instead of wishing for raised awareness about the plight of blacks in the South, Martin Luther King went out and did something about it, and encouraged millions of other people to do something. The world is not the same as a result. The South, for all its flaws and continuing race problems, is not the same place as it was before. Not only did the laws change, but the people did as well. Problems get solved when people change. When it is no longer somewhat embarrassing or annoying to do a breast self-exam, there will be earlier detection. Perhaps, more to the point, when we’ve learned the causes and prevention of breast cancer, and find it socially unacceptable to engage in those behaviors (like, say, smoking….) then we will have changed the world and stamped out most breast cancers (I do believe that there are multiple factors in cancer, and one of them is genetics– sometimes you lose the DNA dice shoot).
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