#cockinasock To Promote Cancer Awareness
April 2, 2014

#cockinasock To Promote Cancer Awareness

Yep, you read that correctly. According to the Huffington Post, there is a new movement that seems to have originated in the United Kingdom whereby men strip down, put their penises into a sock, take a picture, post it on Twitter and Instagram (and probably all other forms of social media) with the hashtag #cockinasock, all in order to spread awareness about testicular and prostate cancer and to help raise money to fund research.

Get Your Sock Out is a group that promotes awareness for testicular and prostate cancer, and the #cockinasock campaign has helped to raise $5,300 and counting thus far. Men don socks from simple athletic socks to fun, decorative ones and even sports’ teams socks and trouser socks. Men of all shapes and sizes are taking part in this unique venture to raise awareness and funds.

Naturally, there are those who think that this seems to be more a campaign in vanity, especially since many of the pics consist of men taking selfies where they are clearly posed and primed to share their #cockinasock pic. As the Huffington Post article identified, “Vice’s Amelia Abraham argued Thursday that the campaign is more about vanity than charity. “The only thing these cocks in socks seems to be raising are the eyebrows of bored middle-aged women on their lunch breaks and the erections of gay bloggers reveling in the explosion of this phenomenon. Also, almost without exception, everyone who’s doing it is a douchebag,” she wrote.”

That seems a bit harsh to me. I mean, sure these men are basically nude, but they are nude for a cause. When women strip almost naked to promote breast cancer awareness, this kind of criticism does not happen because it is sexist, and so criticizing men in that same way is also sexist. I can’t say that all the men participating are doing it from a purely altruistic standpoint, but I imagine some must be. In at least one of the pics that the Huff Post article had, a group of men posed with their socks. This seems far less vain and shallow than what Abraham claims. In fact, the more I think about it, the more offensive her statement is. Sure, sometimes campaigns like this are not all pure and good, but if something is trying to promote specific awareness, that in itself is worthy of applaud. These men are doing something brave. It is not easy to strip down and share that with the world, but obviously, on some level, men who participate in this campaign want to get the word out on testicular and prostate cancer and maybe raise some awareness.

Despite the critics and detractors, many find the #cockinasock campaign bold. As Buzzfeed states, “It is probably the best hashtag to exist in the history of the hashtag and human existence.” The Buzzfeed article adds many more photos that seem more about the awareness than about the vanity and the self.

If this motivates people to learn more and act on cancer research, then I say go for it. We must continue research and funding for medicines and cures of cancers of all types, and campaigns like #cockinasock definitely help to increase interest and awareness.

And frankly, for years women have been ogled in the name of cancer research, so why not allow men that same spotlight?

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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