Mastectomy Fashion

Time for another picture post. These swimsuits were designed with the intention of celebrating women who have had mastectomies, and provoking questions about nakedness. The designers ponder the extent to which an exposed breast can be considered in the same terms as the exposure of a lack of breast. The project website suggests that the exposed chest after mastectomy is just as controversial as toplessness, but perhaps for different reasons. Those who campaign against toplessness do so because the subject is objectified, however a mastectomy scar communicates very different messages. It reveals much more about the subject – her emotional and physical experiences.

Toplessness and exposed mastectomy scars both make the subject feel exposed, but the latter is much more emotionally revealing. These models stand proudly in their new ‘monokinis’. I propose that this is not pride in their appearance, but pride in the strength that they have shown overcoming their illness. By willingly displaying their scars, they don’t open themselves up to sexual objectification, rather, admiration. However, they also invite the possibility of another kind of objectification: that of the grotesque spectacle. Something to ponder…

mastectomy bikini monokini

‘Katja,’ by M. Otsamo

mastectomy bikini monokini

‘Virve’, by T. Therman

mastectomy bikini monokini

‘Elina,’ by E. Halttunen

mastectomy bikini monokini

‘Milsse,’ by T. Ämmät

mastectomy bikini monokini

‘Kristiina,’ by O. Pyy

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One thought on “Mastectomy Fashion

  1. Pingback: Exhibit 1: Mastectomy Swimsuit by Mert Otsamo | The Costume & Culture Museum

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