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Breast cancer tattoo victory

Battle to keep woman’s mastectomy tattoo pic on Facebook ends well.

Mastectomy tattoo

Image: The original image of Inge’s stunning tattoo was published in the book “Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo”, by Margot Mifflin, Powerhouse Books.

An online war to get Facebook to accept pictures of a woman’s tattooed torso and to stop removing the picture in terms of Facebook’s nudity policy resulted in victory, according to HuffPost.

The power of a 'share'

When Canadian tattoo artist Lee Roller of Custom Design discovered that the picture of Inga Duncan Thornell’s tattoo covering her double mastectomy was being removed from Facebook pages in terms of Facebook’s policies regarding nudity and nipple exposure, she decided to repost the image with the following message:

“Hello Everyone, This Tattoo was done for a woman who had breast cancer ! Facebook keeps removing the post in 24hour as an offensive photo do to nudity. However we feel this woman is both brave and strong so were going to post it anyways and ask for your awareness and support ; Please like and share this photo quickly to show your support for this and many other women who have lost so much. ( Kind Comments are welcome ) thanks !”

It didn’t take long for the photo sharing to go viral. With over 176 000 shares and over 212 000 Likes, Facebook finally conceded that the picture did not fall under the restrictions which it places on photographic content: "Mastectomy photos don't violate our content standards and are permitted on the site,” a spokesperson said.

Icebreaker for breast talks

The image of the tattoo, inked by Tina Bafaro is certainly visually striking, and has done much to generate conversation around breast cancer issues. Mothers and daughters have had conversations about the powerful image, and it has been a rallying point for breastfeeding advocates, too, who have also been targeted by Facebook when posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding (when nipples have been visible).

Women have commented that mastectomy tattoos turn a devastating loss into something expressive and beautiful. For breast cancer survivors who are unable to breastfeed as a result of surgery or who simply struggle with the experience, it's a way of healing wounds.

What do you think of mastectomy tattoos?
By: Scott Dunlop

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