Melanie Testa is an author, artist, teacher and more. I often read her blog. Not too long ago, she wrote an online article about the effects of having a double mastectomy and making the decision to be a "flattie" (her word).
The article also talks about how she has to deal with how people perceive her now, as well as how our culture views a woman's body in general. There is a big emphasis on breasts. Here is how Melanie sums it up:
"The article pretty much sums up why I think women are hesitant to put their breast forms aside. I am active in an online forum for breast cancer survivors and the women on this board really would like ‘Flat Awareness’ to occur. We cringe at the thought of Plastic Surgery Reconstruction Day (October 17, search google-!) We don’t want foreign objects in our bodies. We don’t want to wear forms to maintain a ‘socially acceptable body image’. We want to be accepted as women who have decided against reconstruction and we want to push this image into being widely accepted in the societal visual lexicon of what a female body can look like over the course of a lifetime. This isn’t just a choice for women who are ‘of an age’ (i.e. having no stake in the game, and believe me, this is often the response I hear when I say that I decided against reconstruction, it goes like this, ‘Oh! My mother (aunt, grandmother) decided against reconstruction but she was _ _ years old.’). We want to turn the repressive body image pressures off and create a new sexy, strong and beautiful but we are flat or half flat!"
Melanie is working on the "Flat Awareness" part right now. She has started the Breast Pocket project. Someone from her local media said that if she could collect a 1000 pockets, they would try to run a story on it. She is asking people to make a pocket representing someone that has had a mastectomy (one or two breasts) and has decided to remain "flat" or a "uniboober" (Melanie's word).
I'm fortunate that I didn't have to make that decision and Melanie's article reminded me that we always have a choice in our medical decisions. I made two pockets for her. She is the only one I know that has decided to remain flat. Here are the pockets I made (they don't have to be anything specific).
If you want to make some pockets for Melanie, read about it here.