Facebook Mastectomy Photos to Be Allowed After Policy Reversal

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Facebook has changed its policy regarding the posting of mastectomy photos, permitting the controversial images amid a recent firestorm of debate.

It may seem like a minor change, but women behind the once-banned photos say it's a win in their quest to make the truth about breast cancer visual.

Mastectomy Tattoo

“We want the world to know that breast cancer is not a pink ribbon ... it is traumatic, it is life-changing, and it urgently needs a cure,” wrote Scorchy Barrington.

With a Change (dot) org petition, Barrington (who uses an assumed name) is a cancer survivor who was the force behind Facebook’s updated policy.

She felt compelled to act after learning that Facebook had removed several of them and banned SCAR Project photographer David Jay for 30 days.

Inga Duncan Thornell, whose mastectomy photos also sparked debate, said, “Technically, these are not breasts, so as far as censorship goes, this is [a win].”

Call it #victory, in honor of new Facebook hashtags.

Duncan Thornell, a personal coach, hypnotherapist and blogger in Seattle, opted to have a prophylactic, or preventative, double mastectomy in 1993.

She covered her scars by getting an elaborate chest tattoo a year later, and a photo of the tattoo took on a life of its own recently; it went viral online.

For her part, Duncan-Thornell, whose mother died of breast cancer in 2010, says the photos helped her come to understand the reality of the disease.

“I had assumed when I had [the mastectomy] done that it would be a private thing that no one would know about but me, my surgeon and my husband,” she said.

“But it wound up coming up all the time,” no matter where she was, and the photo of her chest all over the Internet has taken some time to get used to.

Though she writes that “I fully admit I really didn’t have any opinion" on Facebook's policy, “I think it shows a lot about them that they got pressured like that.”

The photos, she says, have become “a neat thing to have out there.”

She says breastfeeding pics certainly should be permitted, too. “In the grand scheme, what’s beautiful and what’s natural is breastfeeding," she says.

FB does have an official policy allowing “the vast majority” of breastfeeding photos, but the policy is a bit murky - and often-debated - to say the least.

Your take: Should they allow mastectomy and breastfeeding pics?


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