It’s about time that someone said it. And as much as I would love to take credit for what I think is a rather clever play on words, that honor belongs to a good friend of mine who probably didn’t anticipate that I would write an entire column about one of his status updates. But as you can probably tell, his light-hearted jab at the now infamous “I like it on the floor” campaign captures just how frustrated I am with this annoying, albeit well-intentioned, fad.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. And according to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second-most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among women in the United States. Approximately 192,000 women and 2,000 men learn that they have it each year. In Great Britain, the disease afflicts 46,000 women annually— the equivalent of one person every 11 minutes.
These statistics prove that breast cancer is a serious problem that affects men and women around the globe. And I think most people would agree with me in saying that more should be done to raise awareness about its devastating effects. But sexual innuendos are not the way to do it. By effectively turning breast cancer into the butt of everyone’s joke, campaign organizers ran the risk of losing their message. Sure, it might be catchy. But catchy doesn’t always mean effective. So although “I like it on the floor” might’ve been a good idea in theory, I don’t think it works as well in practice.
Even if all 3,219 of your friends update their statuses with places they like it the most, it doesn’t do anyone a whole lot of good if only 200 of them actually understand the reason for changing their status in the first place. Arbitrary numbers aside, I think that there could have been a much better way to organize the campaign so that it didn’t come across as just a bunch of hormonally charged teenagers trying to one-up each other.
The Human Rights Campaign, one of America’s most prominent LGBTQ-affiliated organizations, developed an effective strategy to successfully raise awareness about the harms of bullying and other issues facing the queer community. On National Coming Out Day, Facebook users were able to update their statuses with pre-written messages that read something to the effect of:
“National Coming Out Day is Tomorrow. It’s 2010 and almost 90% of LGBT youth experience harassment in school, and too many lives have been lost. Tell the Secretary of Education to include gender identity and sexual orientation in anti-bullying programs.”
Or: “____ is a straight ally and National Coming Out Day is tomorrow. I’m coming out for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality because it’s 2010 and almost 90% of LGBT youth experience harassment in school, and too many lives have been lost. Donate your status and join me.”
While those two options certainly don’t have the same punch to them as “I like it on top of the washing machine,” it is nearly impossible to misconstrue the point each one is trying to make. And I think that’s where the ‘I like it on the floor’ campaign fails miserably.
Raising awareness about a particular issue is all well and good. But it doesn’t mean much if it isn’t followed up with some kind of action. If I hadn’t done any research for this column, I probably never would have known that there was an official website for the “I like it on the floor” campaign that not only explains the idea behind the fad, but also connects visitors with tons of ways to get actively involved. I never would have found out about this valuable resource had I only read my roommate’s status update about how much he likes it on top of a horse.
All in all, the “I like it on the floor” campaign gets an A for effort. But until it’s orchestrated into something a bit more cohesive and effective, I’d like it off my newsfeed.
Noel Gordon can be reached at email@example.com.