Sock on a What? Social Media Campaign Promotes Testicular Cancer Awareness


No doubt, there are many on social media who have woken this morning to the images of men who are naked, save for a sock on their parts.  Your social media platform of choice has not suddenly become lewd and lascivious; there is a social media campaign afoot to raise awareness about testicular cancer.

The movement started in the United Kingdom and while it is not known who exactly started the awareness campaign, awareness about testicular cancer has gone up significantly over the last 48 hours.  Philly Morris, founder of Manchester-based charity Checkemlads, says he has no clue as to who started the campaign, but he is glad they did, as the charity has gained several hundreds in donations since the spontaneous campaign began two days ago.

Essentially, men wanting to get involved in the campaign strip down to their birthday suits and take a naked selfie, ensuring that their private parts are covered with a sock of their choosing.  The campaign appears to have sparked some creativity as well, as men have chosen long hockey socks, socks with cartoon characters, and socks in very vivid colors, among others, and it continues to spread.  Each shot on social media has featured either the #sockonacock or #checkemlads hashtags, and the involved men thus far have continued to donate to testicular cancer awareness.

While some may exclaim, “Sock on a what?!”, the social media campaign has exploded in a flurry of selfies of men wanting to promote testicular cancer awareness.  The Sock on a Cock Facebook page has gotten over 24,000 likes, and while it is a closed group, it is a virtual certainty that the numbers of likes continue to grow.

Testicular cancer survivor Ryan Farrington, just 26, ensured he had his selfie done, complete with bright pink sock.  He says Checkemlads was a lifesaver for him, as Philly Morris even came to offer his support in hospital.  Farrington says he posted his selfie before he was even aware anyone else was doing it, and he even nominated some of his buddies to do the same.

This is perhaps one of the most unique challenges out for men today.  While the no makeup selfie for women has gotten a lot of press of late, the social media campaign for testicular cancer awareness may take people in North America by surprise.  Certainly, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is likely one of the most prominent faces of testicular cancer, having had it years ago, but it is a condition that remains one of the easiest to cure.  It has a relative 5-year survival rate of 99 percent, and even if the cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes to organs, the 5-year survival rate remains at around 74 percent.  If it has spread just to the lymph nodes, 5-year rates sit at around 96 percent.

It is definitely a cancer many men do not want to discuss, as men are notoriously…well…private about their parts.  It leaves many men with many questions, such as their ability to father children later on.  However, like other cancers, testicular cancer is one that needs discussion.  The Sock on a Cock campaign may be just the way to do it.  It is silly, fun and a way to get people talking about it.  A social media campaign designed to raise awareness – even one where people may ask, “Sock on a what?” – cannot ask for more than that.

By Christina St-Jean


Testicular Cancer Society

Macunian Matters

American Cancer Society

15 Responses to "Sock on a What? Social Media Campaign Promotes Testicular Cancer Awareness"

  1. JPT71   March 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Ms Casidy2… either you are very young or very inexperienced…so here we go, 1st off there are no genitals being shown.. hince the socks.. everything “BUT” the genitals is being shown. Kind of the point… 2nd being a porn star has nothing to do with goodness and love. 3rd for the majority of people that enjoy men in their lives as a partner. (many probably wouldn’t admit to it) But they are umm.. enjoy and winds up their sexuality etc, and it can cause a good bit of intimacy. I’m not talking raw sexuality end game. I’m talking all wound up, catty mood.. and can lead to much longer and enjoyable intimacy. and I for one… didn’t think about it much before today and it going viral on facebook. Thank you very much, I’ll be enjoying my self intensely and in return hubby will enjoy me when I manage to rip myself away.

    There is a difference between using sexuality to enhance a joint relationship, and being a porn/nudity addict….

    This has gone and will go much further via net, beyond viral and millions of hits over the next week or so max. Millions of dollars will be raised because of it…

    How much did me posting a photo of my bra and nothing else on my status to raise awareness do? Did my “white” post go viral? my daughters “teal” post go viral? did it raise one red penny? *shakes head*

    Someone starts a beanies on boobs!!! I bet donations go up for breast cancer as well… BUt then even more people would be pitching fits…. and belittling the women that posted….

    Bravo fellas, keep the photos coming… pay day… my butt is making a donation… ONLY because I never thought about it before.. and now I am thinking a lot about it….

    Show them to me…..

  2. Rich Pryce-Williams   March 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Considering this is a charity initiative it’s shocking how Facebook is responding by forcing guys to remove their photographs under its “community standards” rules. There is nothing either obscene or gratuitous about these photographs and they are a sign of support for a fundraising and awareness campaign of a sensitive male health issue. In a backlash against censorship of our own images my partner reported an image a woman had posted where she had covered her breasts with socks. Facebook responded by saying the image was not in breach of their guidelines and allowed it to remain. Facebook is repeatedly censoring male images and in our experience is an irresponsible, bigoted and oppresive organisation. Female nudity and gratuitous exploitation of the female body is governed by much less stringent censorship rules! Just saying….

  3. virginopolis   March 24, 2014 at 1:40 am

    It’s not that it is about sex. It just promotes awareness in a salacious way. If you’re okay with that fine, but some won’t be. If you want to be effective for a truly benevolent cause, which this very much is, that touches base with many people, for their sake, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to be inclusive in your methods of promotion? In other words, how much more effective would this campaign be if it was as trendy but lacking shock value. It comes off as a fad. It may raise funds, but it is probably unlikely that there will be a national #cockinasock day in honor of testicular cancer. I have an uncle of a certain age who has testicular cancer. I thanks those who donate as well as participate in uploading photos, but it seems highly unlikely that this is going to help him.

  4. Karen Jarvis   March 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    The hot red chilli peppers started this earlier this week, I myself think it was an awesome idea, my brother in law has had testicular cancer and is still here and healthy, all these people prob wouldnt have donated but this has been a fun way to get them started !!!

  5. stumac   March 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    casidy2, who actually showed their genitals ? I myself have fought testicular cancer only this year and glad to still be here. If you take offence at the human body and people trying to raise awareness then firstly you need to grow up and secondly I sincerely hope you or you family never have the misfortune of having to tackle cancer of any sorts.

  6. Zoe McCurley   March 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Kane .. It works like this… 1. Receive a nomination from a fellow sockonacocker 2. Manup and cover modesty with a sock 3. Take photo and donate to testicular/prostate cancer awareness 4. Nominate a friend to do the same. 5. Ignore the bigots. Simple but effective… How much have you donated/raised lately for such a worthy cause? Have you saved anyone’s life today by telling them to check themselves? #sockonacock #cancerawareness

  7. Kane   March 22, 2014 at 8:33 am

    They need to give donations instead of loving themselves and posting a picture without donating !!

  8. Kane   March 22, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Agree casidy2

  9. Zoe McCurley   March 22, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Casidy… Shame on you for your thoughts on this! It’s light hearted fun and raising more money than eyebrows! If you can’t support a positive cancer awareness campaign then please be quiet! God forbid any of your loved ones suffer the fate of many unfortunate men! The money raised by this campaign will be used to understand and treat cancer.. Would you deny your loved ones that? I doubt it… It doesn’t matter how the money is raised.. It’s happening now and with cancer it’s now that matters! Have a good weekend! #cockonasock

  10. rob mills   March 22, 2014 at 4:05 am

    ….i should also like to thanks the guys who set up the pages!! one guy is called dean kehoe , and also zoe who commented before on here and dunno who did the other one but stellar work guys!!

  11. rob mills   March 22, 2014 at 4:01 am

    yes we did start it off on tue nite and after getting 200 odd likes our photo got reported and taken down but it got out there enough so that 3 other pages got set up by inspired parties! the first one used our infamous band photo with the four of us on it. we are chuffed that all this good has come from a fun idea after a couple of beers!! we have been doing this for years at our shows paying homage to the red hot chili peppers! keep sharing and caring everybody!! Rob. Hot Red Chili Peppers (uk Red hot chili peppers tribute band) 🙂

  12. Georgia x   March 22, 2014 at 3:54 am

    The comedy element of ‘Sock on a Cock’ is what has enticed many men, and in some cases their wives or girlfriends, to take the plunge and post their own picture.

    It’s a bit of fun, and as result it has helped highlight a cause, awareness of testicular cancer, that would otherwise have been considered a taboo.

    There are no genitalia on display – if there were then it would have died flat on it’s face. Instead the photos have received many positive comments.

    Thanks for putting this article together. The large media outlets may avoid it somewhat as it has the word ‘cock’ in it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on 8 out if 10 cats, or similar comedy show who are not so concerned about the odd swear-word.

    Women often do these social media campaigns so it’s great to see men having the opportunity to participate in one should they so wish.

    From Georgia in Harrow, Middlesex. UK.


  13. Zoe Axford-Whitaker   March 22, 2014 at 1:44 am

    The group that started it was a band called hot red chilli peppers (from the name you can obviously tell they are a red hot chilli peppers tribute band) they come from Lichfield ( I think)
    On Tuesday eve they put a status up about girls doing no make up selfies and suggested that to raise awareness of testicular cancer men should wear nothing but a sock just like the famous photograph of Red Hot Chilli Peppers ( being a tribute band they allready have a pic of themselves doing it on their facebook page)
    My husband was the first to respond and a few hours later hot red chillis pic was reported, obviously this annoyed the fans that we’re willing to make a difference and several people seem to have made their own pages on facebook and just giving including my huband after having his picture removed from the first facebook page which he had over 3000 likes on within the first few hours ( obviously having that many likes has got people talking about it whch is something men don’t normally do, so I say if out of al those people he has help at least one person that wouldn’t have normally checked or gone to the docs the he should be very proud of himslf not made to feel dirty and discusting)
    This campaign is not about sex as a previous comments suggests its about saving lives and raising awareness and funds to save those lifes.
    I think the Hot Red Chills should get the recognition they deserve for all of this as I know it has already made some men go to the doctors about lumps they have found and raised alot of money for several different cancer charity’s.

  14. Melanie   March 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    No genitals are on show and nothing to do with sex. anyone who has had cancer or had a loved one suffer and lose them from cancer will know awareness and research is vital in helping people cope too . It s just a bit of fun with a serious message behind it and makes you think about men s cancers as they often don’t see a doctor until it’s too late . All for a good cause 🙂

  15. casidy2   March 21, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Posting your privates online does nothing to help any cause. The reason people do this is to promote themselves selfishly. You can get away with being a “porn star” and show your genitals off in the name of goodness and love if you participate. I’m sure people will blow off my remark but this is part of the demise of intimacy. Instead of being with the person you are with and asking for donations in traditional ways, you show your genitals? Really? That doesn’t make anyone want to donate, it makes people want to have sex. That isn’t inherently wrong, but call it what it is. Don’t mask your desire for sex with being altruistic.


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