I've expressed my opinion of Komen here before. Between their suing for the cure and ignoring the fact that their commissioned perfume contains toxins shown to increase one's chances of getting breast cancer, I'm not a big fan. So every "Yay Team Pink Eye" post that's crossed my reader this month has made me grit my teeth. But I just ignored it, because beauty blogs tend to be pretty apolitical spaces and you'll get jumped on and/or banned for asking for critical thinking before they post (I've had this happen, back when I used to read Temptalia and called her out for promoting Ahava, a high-end beauty brand that advertises itself as based in Israel and using Dead Sea Minerals in their products, but which actually has its plant on Palestinian land and is using stolen resources to make their products - my comment was deleted, although she did eventually take the post down).
Until today, when Ana of Lipsticks and Lightsabers (no, I'm not giving her link traffic; google it if you want) tweeted her Team Pink Eye post by saying "Save the boobies!" and then following up with "Breasts are pretty much the best cause".
It was the follow-up tweet that got me. I was ignoring the first one, but "Lol breasts are an awesome cause" was too much. So I replied by saying "What about the people to whom the breasts are attached? Are they a good cause?"
And oh, the defensive snark that provoked! I had dared to question her sacred humor, and that is an affront not to be borne! I had bingo inside of ten minutes - humorless feminist, it's a joke, obviously we all *know* X is bad so why can't we make jokes about it?, but we're doing it *for a good cause*!, etc. Complete with several general tweets (ie, not @ me) saying "Wow, I guess some people don't know cancer=bad" and the true gem of the afternoon:
The point, you are missing it. Rather badly, in fact. And my goodness, how terribly mature of you, to take one individual's disagreement with your tactics and publicly snark about it to all your other followers! Hell, I was even trying to be actually educational, too, as opposed to just snarky. Explaining how "it's a joke" is a terrible excuse, and neither "it's a joke" nor "but I'm doing it for a good cause!" insulates you from criticism.
Please, people of the internet, take note of several points:
- Intent is not magic. Doing something shitty for a good cause does not make it not a shitty thing to do anymore. See: all criticism of PETA ever.
- "It's a joke!" does not work as magical criticism-deflecting Kevlar, either. Not all jokes are funny.
- How about, to make it simple, we'll just say: YOU ARE NEVER, EVER IMMUNE TO CRITICISM. No matter how funny you think you're being, or what cause you're doing it for, or how apolitical you think you/your space are.