BRISBANE, Australia — An Australian woman, who decided to put her scars from major surgeries on display in a social media post, lost more than a hundred Facebook friends who found the powerful images of her body included in the post offensive.
According to the Daily Mail, when Beth Whaanga turned 32 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was told she possessed the BRCA2 gene, which genetically predisposes women to the disease. As a result, Whaanga underwent several major medical procedures, including a double mastectomy and full hysterectomy among others.
As a way to raise awareness for the disease and to share her story the mother of four decided to participate in an intimate and revealing photo shoot with photographer Nadia Masot, a close friend of Whaanga for 13 years.
In the photos, Whaanga openly displays the multiple scars, which can be found all over her body, from the major lifesaving surgeries she had done as a result of the cancer. She decided to share the controversial photos of her post-surgery body on Facebook along with a warning, but received a lot of backlash and lost more than 100 Facebook friends as a result.
They began an awareness campaign deemed the “Under the Red Dress,” which according to their official KickStarter page aims “to build awareness around cancer and cancer related stigma, particularly regarding the grievous bodily scarring that results from surgery and treatment.” The project features woman under the age of 50, who normally hide under the veil of the “Red Dress” while out in society, illustrating the devastation surgery had on their bodies.
In the controversial Facebook post, Whaanga wrote:
“These images are confronting and contain topless material. They are not in any way meant to be sexual. The aim of this project is to raise awareness for breast cancer. If you find these images offensive please hide them from your feed,” she posted. “Each day we walk past people. These individuals appear normal but under their clothing sometimes their bodies tell a different story.”
CLICK HERE to read more from the Daily Mail and to see all of the photos.