#Smearforsmear is fucking stupid. And no, that does't mean I think cervical cancer is awesome. Obviously I don't. And I never have. That's why I started having smears when I was 19. Because that's when they sent me a letter offering me a free service to check whether I have cancer.
I was a horrible teenager (I know, right?) hard to believe eh? But I could see the logic of taking advantage of the extraordinary offer of a free cancer screening every couple of years. You don't even have to remember. As long as you take responsibility for your own health, they'll send you a letter telling you exactly when you need the next one. They then follow up with a letter telling you you're OK or not as the case may be. It's THAT fucking easy.
It's really weird that 'raising awareness' by social media always has the same result. There's a selfie involved. Or a video of yourself doing something wacky and hilaire. Or some kind of narcissim dressed up as caring. Most people who actually do stuff for charities and so on do it quietly, every day, behind the scenes. I'm not sure that a few hundred women with their carefully filtered photos splashing yet more pictures of their face on Instagram really constitutes 'making a difference' myself.
It makes me sad that we live in a society where apparently the level of education has dipped so low and the level of taking responsibility for our own health has become so lost that it's seen to be necessary to 'raise awareness' of a service that has been available to women in the UK for over 20 years.
Also, what does Smear for smear even MEAN? It's almost like some social media grad suggested to a charity that the best way to get the word out there was to tap into the undiluted lake of fucking narcissim that women indulge in and they'll lap it up and jump right on that bandwagon. NOT MY WORDS. I'm not saying all women are narcissitic. Quite the opposite in fact. I'm saying that, as a woman who is a target for this campaign, that it is patronising and infantile.
It's not awareness that needs to be raised, it's levels of education. One in three women between 25 and 29 fail to go to their smear test. This isn't because they are unaware. They are perfectly aware because they received the fucking invitation. It means they choose not to. And you can't legislate for stupidity.
If you can't accept advice, listen to reason and go along to the appointment that somebody else set up for you to test you for cancer of the cervix then no amount of stupid fucking selfies can help you.
And, to be clear, I like a selfie. I do. But I know why I take them. Because they make me look nicer than I do normally. They allow me to pose my face so my best bits show. They show me at my best and that is what a selfie is for. It is a request for validation and a sort of mutual backslapping phenomenon of these social media times (You're so prettyyyyy, no you areeeee etc etc). It's become a thing we (and not everyone, I know, but some of us) do. For different, probably in some cases (ie. mine) rather pathetic reasons. But at least I don't pretend I'm saving the world with my selfies.
But I do, and always have gone to my smear tests. Because, duh, I don't want cervical cancer. And if I am going to be unlucky and get it I want to know as soon as possible so I can take responsibility for my own treatment.
How about a campaign that says: USE YOUR COMMON SENSE AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A SERVICE YOU ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE ACCESS TO. #TWAT