Whether sexualized or service oriented (think infant feeding), breasts are a significant part of a woman’s identity. When cancer takes one or two of them, we can feel diminished, adrift, identities as carved up as our bodies.
Enter Monokini 2.0, “a touring photographic exhibition that challenges what is considered beauty in a female body.” If this were an audience, I would be on my feet, cheering for a stage full of women challenging the idea that only a woman with intact breasts can be beautiful.
Some of us are old enough to remember the 1964 photograph of Peggy Moffitt, modelling a monokini for an issue of Women’s Wear Daily. The designer behind the eye-popping, breast-baring swimsuit was Rudi Gernreich. He was railing against what he viewed as a repressive society way back then.
Fifty years later a new design team is doing it again, only this time the target is women who have had mastectomies. Thanks to cultural focus on breasts, women who lose one, or both, can feel de-sexualized, unattractive, unwomanly.
Stuff and nonsense. After a frustrating decade trying to find a swimsuit that did not demand a prosthesis, Elina Halttunen approached artists Katriina Haikala and Vilma Metter. They enlisted Finnish fashion designers to create ten haute couture swimsuits that defy such stereotyping.
Although their Kickstarter campaign fell short of its goal, they are not giving up. Their traveling collection will bring attention to their vision and just might attract the financial support they need.
The world is awash with one- and no-breasted women. It gives me hope to think one day they will no longer have to undergo reconstruction surgery or weary prostheses. They are beautiful just the way they are.
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