Breast cancer, Facebook bans, Mastectomy, Self-confidence, Self-Esteem, Strong Women, tattoos

Mastectomy Scars Pornographic?

You may have heard about Facebook’s latest news. No, not its IPO problems, or CEO Zuckerberg’s wedding. This one is related to censorship of photos. In this case, mastectomy photos such as the example below.

The other day I wrote a post on ‘swimsuit confidence,’ a promotion by Land’s End, Curvy Girl and Beyond the Booby Trap. It was all about celebrating your body. This promotion asked for photos of women wearing their bath suits with confidence. It was all about body image and feeling good about who you are. 

In that same vein of feeling good about oneself, Joanne Jackson,  a 40 year old married mother of two and breast cancer survivor posted, on her own Facebook timeline, photos of her mastectomy scar.

After Joanne beat cancer she wanted to celebrate “kicking cancer in the ass” by sharing her story with her family and friends. You know the saying, a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Well, Joanne posted the professional   photos she had taken of her new body, scars and all, showing her audience her story. 

Photos illustrating her self confidence, strength, and courage in the face of cancer were banned as offensive and  “pornographic,” by Facebook.  Joanne expressed shock and anger that they sent her a warning and threatened to shut down her account. They cited their community standards:

Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and imposes limitations on the display of nudity. At the same time, we aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.

 The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines pornographic as: 

the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
 material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
 the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

Take a look at the photo, then the definition. Facebook failed the dictionary test. 

I can relate to Joanne’s celebratory feeling and the desire to share a story of survival with others. Six years ago, when my chemo and Herceptin treatments were completed, I had a porta-cath removed from above my breast. It had been there for a year leaving a couple of  scars.

Months later I too wanted to celebrate kicking cancer’s ass and had a butterfly on cherry blossoms tattoo (symbols of rebirth)  placed over the area above my breast. It was a reminder of something I will never forget. Not only because of the horrible chemo, family stress, and the reminder of mortality but because beauty came out of the pain. I survived and I wanted to celebrate that fact. Just as Joanne wanted to do with her own family and friends. 

I kept my bathing suit top on just in case someone construed my upper body as pornographic.


Beyond the Booby Trap, confidence, Curvy Girl, Health, Land's End, Lumpectomy, Mastectomy, National Swimsuit Confidence Week, Self-confidence, Self-Esteem, Strong Women, swimsuits

Embrace Your Swimsuit Confidence

It used to be that I watched Good Morning America every work day as I sped around my bedroom getting dressed, drinking my cuppa Joe, and yelling  “hurry up” to the kids. When I got serious about writing, I stopped watching GMA or turning on the TV in the morning. 

Most of the time I don’t miss it at all. Not just GMA, but all morning shows. I catch CNN in the evening-I have to get my Anderson Cooper fix-and watch a couple of evening dramas. So yesterday I missed a show that I wish I had watched. It would have alerted me to National Swimsuit Confidence Week. Luckily, I read the morning news that covered the story.
Now, swimsuit season is is not something I looked forward too in the past. If you’d watch me go through my dresser you’d know I have to reach into the recesses of the bottom drawer to pull out three different swimsuits-1 piece, tankini’s, 2 piece, all from the past 10 years. Yes, you guessed it, they are in three different sizes: 16, 14, and 12-my current size, I think. 
(I can’t believe I just typed out my size, but what the heck, I’m trying to get into the swing of  NS Confidence Week). 
Well, it seems that GMA had a few women out there on their plaza holding up signs about NSCW.  They were invited inside. The story is that Lands’ End has teamed up with Selfmagazine and the Curvy Girl Guide for the second annual National Swimsuit Confidence Week — 
seven days devoted to inspiring women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their bodies and step out in their swimsuits with pride. Woo-hoo! 
GMA file photos

“We want women to get to a place where they’re comfortable in their swimsuits but more importantly their bodies,” Curvy Girl founder Brittany Gibbons said.

More than 20 breast cancer survivors from Beyond the Booby Trap have posted pics of themselves posing in their Lands’ End suits. If you think finding the right size for your body is hard, try finding one and then wearing a swimsuit after a mastectomy. It takes courage.

For the last few years I haven’t cared as much about wearing a bathing suit as before, I’m just glad I’m still around to enjoy the beach. Although I did not have a mastectomy, my lumpectomy left me a little lopsided. But I found a good suit, covered most of the chemo-port scars with a kick-ass butterfly on cherry blossoms tattoo and enjoyed the pool. 

What is inspiring about this campaign is that media is emphasizing the celebration of all types of bodies (remember the Dove commercials, Hanes). The way I see it

we can’t waste time hiding our bodies, staying away from the pool or beach, because we think our lumps are showing, our thighs jiggle, or whatever. 

Those of us who are mothers have an opportunity to embrace our bodies and show our kids we  like ourselves. I think that confidence in my body, at this stage in my life, has grown. We can show them that and let them know that 
                                we are more than boobs, thighs, and butts. 

The campaign is asking women to inspire others by posting pictures of themselves in their swimsuits on their personal Facebook page or the Land’s End Facebook page — or tweet them out using the hashtag #confidence. 

To celebrate, Lands’ End and Curvy Girl Guide  encourages women everywhere to gather their confidence and get back into the pool! 

They will be hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, May 25 from 1-2 pm EDT, where Lands’ End will give away 10 Lands’ End Swimsuits and 10 Lands’ End Beach Towels as well as announce exclusive swimsuit promotions.

So, in celebration of NSCW I’m going to pull out one of my bathing suits and post a photo on Land’s End or Beyond the Booby Trap. And if none of the bathing suits fit I’m getting the one this young woman is wearing. Look at that beautiful smile. Now she is wearing confidence.

Curvy Girl site-suit from L.E