Women all over the world connected to FB have been receiving this "bra colour message" (or variations thereof) and it has spread lightening quick.
I'm all for awareness raising. Pretty much my entire life right now is devoted to just that. The ribbon you see above is for abolition: modern-day slavery awareness and the need for slavery to stop. Orange is the international colour of freedom. It is one way to help people invest in a cause using a visual aid.
I'll admit I posted my bra colour once for kicks and moved on. Some people had more fun with it, others declined to participate at all. Whatever… no one was forcing anyone to post anything. However, after reading many of the posts, comments and statuses of other people, I was amazed at the division one little email generated.
There are so many different ways to raise 'awareness'. But first, we need to be clear on what 'awareness' is. Webster's defines awareness as:
synonyms aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something. aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences <aware of changes in climate>. cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources <not fully cognizant of the facts>. conscious implies that one is focusing one's attention on something or is even preoccupied by it <conscious that my heart was pounding>. sensible implies direct or intuitive perceiving especially of intangibles or of emotional states or qualities <sensible of a teacher's influence>. alive adds to sensible the implication of acute sensitivity to something <alive to the thrill of danger>. awake implies that one has become alive to something and is on the alert <a country always awake to the threat of invasion>.
That's a whole lot of awareness… in many different forms. Whoever started the bra colour awareness on Facebook may have had personal investments and emotions tied to breast cancer, maybe not. Maybe it was someone with a good heart who wanted to start something greater. Maybe someone was just bored. Whoever did it, well… they succeeded in getting the world's attention… for about a week.
Was awareness raised? I guess depending on the way you read the definition, perhaps. Perhaps not. Some found it a fun way to tease men, others giggled with girlfriends and had a good laugh, still others took it seriously and wanted everyone to know the dangers of breast cancer, and yet still others found that posting a bra colour was a stumbling block to men who would be fantasizing about women's bras en masse. That last one, while sounding a tad over-the-top, is probably not far from the truth for some guys. Don't knock it.
I don't pretend to know everything there is to know about raising awareness about something. But there are a few things I DO know about myself that are important for me in sharing with you the need to bring Jesus Christ to slaves around the world:
"Jesus, All For Jesus" — any and all awareness raising I do MUST be
for the glory of God and not myself or any other human being. He directs what needs to happen and before whom. What I share with a group of business people might look different to a kindergarten class learning about how to treat each other. We all need to know and understand the plight of slavery and act on it, but it's for the love of God, thus flowing into the love of humanity. Not the other way around.
see pride parades mimicking sexual practices while children stand by
and cheer, I shudder. Yup, Jesus would certainly be at the parade
amongst the 'sinners' but I don't see how whips and chains raise
awareness for GLTB people and their stance for equality… other than getting attention. And there's the rub! People believe ATTENTION=AWARENESS.
They certainly do go hand in hand but people have notoriously short attention spans. Many people whom you grab with "awareness raising tactics" will forget about you and your cause within hours.
2) "poverty porn" — using shocking pictures, stories and other methods to get people to gasp in horror. In my mind, that's re-exploiting the human being we're so ardently trying to help. But where's the line? What's inappropriate to me (say a near naked little girl in a Thai brothel with nothing but a black rectangle over her eyes to shield her identity) may not be considered exploitative at all to another.
3) "too much trafficking" — I've been told by a few people that I'm a fanatic. Whenever and wherever I can, I share about the suffering of slaves and their need for Jesus Christ. For some, it's too much too often. For me, God has anointed to me preach this message. For the word to get out, some need to be fanatics.
Closely tied with #1, I need to know who I'm trying to make aware. Kids? Adults? Church people? Business people? At-risk youth? The government? God's wisdom and discernment MUST guide every form of awareness raising because ultimately, I'm glorifying Him and representing His Name.
Now THAT is an awareness that will never leave my inner most being.
So whether you're posting something on Facebook… marching in a parade… yelling in a naked protest… tying yourself to a tree… wearing a ribbon… manning a booth… handing out flyers… or blogging incessantly (hehe), be aware of yourself and how your tactics are actually supporting your cause.
There will be division. Don't ever doubt that. People don't like having their worlds poked at. But there is division in the sense of change… and then there's silly division in the sense that friends have started arguing with friends over whether or not posting bra colours on FB was a good choice or not.
At least 27 millions slaves in the world today
70% used for sexual purposes
2nd largest form of global crime in the world…
… and WE DRIVE THE DEMAND.
Got your attention? Or are you aware now?