Home > Uncategorized > This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test


“I realized that God gave breast cancer to women because women can handle it.”

Guys, no. There is nothing okay about this statement. And yes, it’s something I just read on Twitter this morning. And yes, the person in question HAS breast cancer. I get it. It’s scary. And it’s good to find ways to be strong about – positive things.

But I have so many problems with this statement. For one thing, God – if you believe in God – is not giving people cancer. Cancer isn’t a challenge one overcomes. It’s a disease. Not a test. Nothing about it is a test. It’s certainly not a test of will to see if a woman can handle it.

Let’s break down the language and suss out the implications. A woman gets breast cancer as a challenge, and it’s a test of strength. So, if she handles it well, she…what? Gets to live? If so, that would imply that every single woman who has died from breast cancer couldn’t handle it. And thus, they were punished.

That means the strongest person I’ve ever known (my mother) – who had more goodness and decency than 100 people – failed the test of breast cancer. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have died, right?

NO. This is not okay. This is not okay to tell every woman who has, or had, breast cancer. You don’t defeat it through righteousness. Cancer is never a test. You don’t handle cancer. You have it.

As someone who lost her mother to it, I find this view insulting and insensitive to the memories of everywhere we’ve all lost to that disease. And we all know SOMEONE, don’t we? We’ve all lost someone. We’ve all suffered.

Breast cancer is not a test. It’s a tragedy. And that’s all I have to say right now.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Lou
    June 27, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Truth girl, truth.

    • June 27, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks, Lou. ❤ ❤ ❤

      On Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 2:55 PM, alwayscoffee wrote:


  2. June 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss, Ali, first off. Second off, this statement is disgusting. I get the woman herself has cancer and it’s her way of coping. But no. It tears down all the people who have passed, as you pointed out… and can we just for a minute look at the gender implications? It’s rare that I find myself needing to defend men from women, but what else, exactly, could she mean by putting it that way? Men don’t get breast cancer because they can’t handle it? Yeah, and prostate cancer’s a real walk in the park… NO cancer is easy. NO cancer is “handled,” some people beat it, some people don’t. It’s not a reflection on anyone as a person. Cancer’s not sentient. It’s not a foe that makes sense. That’s only people ascribing things to a higher power, to try and make it make sense, because the universe is really scary if you accept that there ISN’T a deeper meaning in something like cancer. But that’s life. I don’t want to take comfort away from a suffering person, truly, but making comments that backhandedly tear others down is not okay no matter the context.
    Also, can we quit with the “God gave X to test people”/”God gave X to punish people” hypocrisy while we’re at it? It can’t be both, yet take your pick of what X is and you’ll find people claiming both depending on whether they like the people “receiving” X. The logical fallacies in this kind of thinking piss me off.
    Your friendly atheist-feminist, over and out.

  3. June 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    • June 28, 2014 at 8:52 am

      Hey Jessica,
      Thank you, chica. And I agree with you completely. Men also get breast cancer. Sure, it’s more common for women, but it DOES happen. And to imply that it’s some kind of test just does a disservice to so many people. Thank you, love, for taking the time to read and comment. It means lot.

    • June 28, 2014 at 8:52 am

      ❤ back at ya!

  4. June 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I agree! And also, men get breast cancer too, which makes the statement even more annoying.

    • June 28, 2014 at 8:53 am

      Mandy, you’re totally right — it DOES happen to men too. *shakes head* Thank you, chica, for taking the time to read and comment. It means so much to me. ❤

  5. June 27, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Truth bombs. Sometimes it’s surprising that such an old way of fallacious thinking is still alive and well out there.

    • June 28, 2014 at 8:53 am

      Thanks, chica. It DID surprise me as well. I was so floored — and not in a good way. Thanks for reading!

  6. June 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Related rationalization spoken when children get sick. In those cases, it’s unclear if it’s the adults or the children who are being tested. Best comeback: “What kind of god makes children suffer so you can learn something?” Supreme ego or desperate desire for meaning (and why does it make it better if it means something?). And don’t get me started on “Let’s all pray for recently diagnosed So-and-so so he won’t get voted off the island–I mean–” . . . God has given me this test to be polite . . .

  7. June 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Cancer is just shit. This tweet would have just been a giant punch to the gut. :/ (Also, completely perplexed by the strange gender aspect of this as well.)

  8. June 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Cancer is just shit. Seeing this tweet would have just been a giant punch to the gut. :/
    Also, agreed that the gender aspect of this is entirely perplexing!

  9. July 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Absolutely pathetic. If that person is just trying to get a rise out of people … even more pathetic. Men can get breast cancer as well, so the tweet is just downright ignorant.

  10. July 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Plus men can get breast cancer too.

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