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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Chartreuse, or “Please Support My Vague Message in the Name of Change!"

Just when you thought it was safe to log onto Facebook again, another fad of undetermined origin started up again. It was the Pokemon pictures all over again. Only this time, there was no picture involved, oh no. It was just one word. A color, to be specific. That’s all you were seeing on Facebook last night, as numerous women began to put up cute little messages of vagueness. Blue was represented, Gold made an appearance, not to mention Brown with Lace popped in to see how things were going. Tan and Cream joined the party, but left because their child Mocha had a headache. At the end of the evening, Green was envious, Red was jealous, and Yellow wasn’t sure why she hooked up with Purple but knew it was not meant to be. Confused? Well, so were the rest of us, mostly men, when we looked at these color statuses.

Why am I singling out men? Simple…it was mostly women’s statuses that were being dominated by these color keywords. Why colors? Not so simple…but I’ll explain. Apparently, last night’s flash of color was a drive for awareness. Awareness on what, you might be asking. Well, it was for awareness of Breast Cancer, can’t you tell? There’s a whole month dedicated to fighting it…maybe you’ve heard of it? (October, anyone?) No? Well here, let me lay out the thinking here:

Mention random color > Someone asks, “What do you mean, random color?” > You tell them, “Oh, it’s my bra color.” > “Why are you mentioning your bra color?” > “To raise awareness for Breast Cancer.” > Profit, success.

Duuh! It’s so obvious. You couldn’t figure this out on your own? No? Well congratulations, you’re one of the millions who didn’t get the joke, and I seriously think this is a joke.

I could only imagine the girls last night thinking to themselves, “Oh isn’t this fun? We’re being mysterious, and we’re helping a cause while doing it! Girl power!” Bullshit. All this does is serve to further confuse men with the games that women play. I’m not a woman hater by any standards. I love women. I’ve dated a couple, and plan to continue to date them. I’m friends with a lot of them, I live with the one who co-created me, and I plan on one day marrying one. However, as a man, I’m not only allowed, I’m also required by natural law to point out the confusing, double talking nature of some of the practices women engage in. It balances out because I’m sure someone over at Jezebel is writing her one hundredth article about how men objectify women. (I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, as a matter of fact I’m a fan of anyone calling anyone else out on bullshit. It’s just that it’s one of their stocks in trade. They do it well, I do this well; nobody gets hurt, we all love each other and eat at the Sushi Bar. Also that last link wasn’t a mistake, I’m calling Kate Gosselin a man. The way Jon acted like a little bitch all of the time only proves it.)

This isn’t to say all that played along were being vapid and shallow. Once things like this gain momentum, everyone tends to get involved, and some women probably thought it was fun that this was going on and merely wanted to represent, while supposedly servicing a good cause. This sort of thing, when done right, is called a “Call to Action”. It’s that part of a sales pitch where you ask the audience to actually do/buy what it is you’re supporting/selling. Now Calls to Action are fine and everything, but how the Hell are you helping a cause when nobody knows what the action your calling for is? You really want to make a dent in the collective subconscious of Facebook? You seriously want people to pay attention to your cause? Mention your damn cause! I’ll tell you what I got out of last night’s little online flash mob: conversations on breasts, bra color preferences, and even the preference on whether to wear a bra or not. Only one conversation I had with anyone last night dealt with breast cancer’s correlation to bra color, and that was when I asked one of my friends, “…how does posting a color as a vague status message really help breast cancer? Is it just me or is that pointless?” Turns out, she thought it was pointless too.

What’s more confusing is that I KNOW there’s some guys out there who guessed that women were talking about their bra colors. Some guys cracked the code before everyone else. And do you know what probably happened to these guys? They were called out on being “perverts”. Nevermind that they were right, there’s a bigger issue at hand…they were thinking of women’s breasts in an unsolicited manner, and that’s a no-no. Unless they’re fishing for compliments, then go right ahead and think away. Nevermind that in the creators of this fad’s intentions this would be the perfect time to say, “Why yes, I’m wearing a blue bra and as a matter of fact I only drew attention to this fact because I hate the fuck out of breast cancer”. Nope, this is a time to yet again call a guy out for thinking about your boobs. Again, I know not all women are like this, but you know some of them are and you know that some poor guy caught Hell last night because he was trying to be funny, and instead was made to look like an ass.
I’d like to close with an analogy that helps solidify the message I’m trying to drive home here.

Ladies, I’d like you to picture the following scenario:

Your man looks you right in the eye and says the word, “White”. He says nothing else, just looks at you and says “White”. What do you think? What are his intentions? You might think he’s asking you to marry him, but are you seriously going to react to that assumption? What do you do after that point? Do you ask him, “Are you asking me to marry you?” and set off a chain reaction that basically sours the evening, and possibly the relationship, because he thinks you’ve seen too many romantic comedies? Do you cry and say, “Yes!”, making it look like you assume that he is in fact proposing to you, when in fact he could just be answering the earlier question of, “Which bra looks better? The red or the white”?

My point: context is everything. A single word out of context is something you give a psychic. We’re all human here, Alice; and as such we need to be given a little more than a word. This isn’t “Name That Tune”, it’s “Fighting Breast Cancer With Awareness”. And as we all know, awareness begins with being aware of what you’re supposed to be aware about. Until our species becomes a race of mind reading psychics who do not need to overtly lay out our intentions when it comes to getting something done, I think it’s best we all just lay it on the line. Ditch the veil of secrecy, shitcan the metaphors, and get rid of the double talk. You want me to pay attention to something? Grab my attention. But if you’re going to grab my attention, could you please go with more than one cryptic word designed to stimulate conversation? It’s manipulative, and it doesn’t look very good. We’re trying to fight a battle against an evil enemy here, not decipher the fucking DaVinci Code. I’m not Robert Langdon, I’m not some emo sparkling vampire who reads girls’ minds, and I’m sure as hell not Patrick Stewart (though that would be kinda cool). I’m a person, just like you. A person who hates the fuck out of breast cancer.

4 comments:

Figgylicious said...

I'm sorry. I like your blog and I think this entry is well written, but I gotta say this is a massive overreaction. It was a fun little thing amongst friends, and that's it. I know perfectly well that pretending it raises awareness isn't what it's doing, but I did it because it was fun, and funny. It wasn't a game or an evil womanly plot. And the fact that so many people were UPSET, because we decided to change OUR STATUS --OUR status. That we can do whatever the hell we want with-- and so many people went off pouting because they weren't allowed to play with the girls, is a little ridiculous. You're looking way too much into this, and reaching some pretty far-fetched conclusions from a silly little internet meme.

I for one was just glad to see how people on my friend's list who had no connection to each other were changing their status to a color, because it made me happy to see how closely we're all connected. But no....people just had to go and see it as some womanly plot and abscribing motives and calling us all ridiculous. And I NEVER heard anyone on my list calling someone a pervert because of it; not one of my friends is that dumb.

My point is: you're way overreacting here. No need at all to get this upset about an internet meme. And frankly, some of the connections you made were kind of ridiculous. No one was asking you to decipher anything. There's no need to jump down anyone's throat because you couldn't understand some silly thing the other day. And it's definitely ridiculous to paint us all with the same brush and think that we all had the same motivations. I'm sure some women thought that, but thinking that we all just wanted to tease the men is very unfair.

This is a long comment, but your post was a little over-the-top and I get rambling.

Mr. Controversy said...

Three things, Ms. Figgy:

1.) I am not painting all with the same brush, as a matter of fact I'd direct you to the paragraph starting with the following:

This isn’t to say all that played along were being vapid and shallow. Once things like this gain momentum, everyone tends to get involved, and some women probably thought it was fun that this was going on and merely wanted to represent, while supposedly servicing a good cause.

If anything, it was more the way the message was put out that annoyed me. And it's certainly no jump down the throat. The whole womanly thing was a side bar, really; I mostly take issue with supporting a cause and not telling everyone what said cause is. (And believe me, the guys played along with the girls last night.)

All I'm saying is if someone was really investing in the cause, they'd say "Ask me why I'm wearing blue" or "My boobies are blue, but they're still here thanks to my yearly mamogram. Post your bra color in this status message and help us raise awareness on Breast Cancer Prevention." For crying out loud, we have an organization called "I <3 Boobies", if anything we should be able to just rip that off and throw in a color. "I <3 Red Boobies", "I <3 Yellow Boobies", or even Size comments like "I <3 DD Boobies".

2.) More long comments! And contrary comments are awesome too! Seriously, your ramble was awesome.

3.) Congrats on getting married. :)

ShinyKate said...

So long as you're okay with contrary comments:

I just want you to know that if you ever decide you want to do something silly, (maybe) puzzling and boy-based in the name of prostate cancer awareness, I can promise you I will not get upset about it or hold it against you. If people are having fun, and some of them hope to achieve a little good out of it, who am I to get my bra (*wink, wink) twisted up about it?

Also, a friendly word from an old woman who's been around the block: In my experience, men who most emphatically exclaim how much they love women (especially when ranting about them) are usually the ones with the most closet-fratboy tendencies. Just so you know. If you want to raise awareness regarding your personal feminist sympathies, there are many better ways to do that as well.

Mr. Controversy said...

Ms. ShinyKate,

First off, thank you for reading. It's always nice to have a new audience to play to, and I thank you for taking time to visit my little part of the Web.

Second of all, I'm not against fun; in fact I'm all for it. It's not so much the female aspect I was railing on, again it was the fact that there was no clear point to said action. It was a bunch of color coded status messages. As I said in my previous comment, why not work the actual subject of breast cancer into the game so people know why it's important. If we can say I <3 Boobies, we can say "I <3 Red Boobies. Please post this message with your bra color in hopes of raising breast cancer awareness". It does much more than "Blue" will ever do.

Third, I'm not the only one who thinks this is ridiculous and even some female friends of mine thought it was ridiculous.

Lastly, I would agree with your point that some of the most fratboy-ish guys out there will hide behind the "I love women but..." shield. I'm sorry you'd think I'm potentially one of those guys, but honestly I'm not. I'm not going to go out of my way to prove it to you, the right people know that I speak the truth. All I can do is tell you that I have only the breast (*nudge nudge) intentions in life, and with women.

Again, thank you for reading ma'am. Please stick around for the Jay Leno bashing piece I have coming up soon, and please continue to comment.