Monday, December 5

Keep A Breast for/of Breast Cancer Research

Wow! I just stumbled on this amazing non-profit organization's website. The Keep-A-Breast Foundation raises funds for breast cancer research and treatment by auctioning plaster casts of women's torsos that have been ornamented by artists.

These torsos are from the Keep-a-Breast Gallery. Torsos shown are by Andy Jenkins, Martine Pinsolle, Nick Gammon and Wilma. To view these and other torsos in the project, please visit the Keep-a-Breast Foundation website.

What struck me about my own response to the galleries of plaster torsos is my appreciation for the wide and beautiful range of shapes and sizes of breasts, chests, torsos ... and not one is more attractive to me (disregarding the design painted on it) than any of the others. I expected to be biased against the larger torsos, the ones with large breasts and big-around chests (the ones that don't fit the societal "norm" of what is beautiful in a woman ... the shape I have) so I was surprised to realize that I liked them all equally.

Maybe because the plaster torsos are painted and otherwise decorated with different materials the breasts are removed from the context of beauty-like-models-are-defined-as-beautiful ... and their everyday shapes that I so often take for granted, are transformed into an art "objects" so I can see the beauty in each torso's form for it's own sake.

But even more than the fact that the torsos are painted with the unique vision of each participating artist is the way the true-to-life representation of each woman's body portrays the individual behind the shape -- portrays more of the inner strength and courage of each woman (and man) who faces breast cancer, or who is close to someone with breast cancer. It is the individuals inside the plaster cast that I am responding to so openly. In the words of the Keep-a-Breast Foundation,

The casts are physical representations of a simple truth— while breast cancer attacks all women without prejudice, it is the powerful individual present in all women that will conquer it.

I love this idea and would like to see more of these types of fundraisers happening all over. Not only is the Keep a Breast organization raising money for breast cancer research, they are also increasing breast cancer awareness as well as acceptance of all body shapes and sizes, which can only be a good thing.

I'm not the most diligent when it comes to doing breast self-exams. Mostly I have a hard time remembering to do them because I am post-menopausal and no longer have that convenient, built-in monthly reminder to do the exam. My naturopath recently gave me a way to remember to do my own exam every month -- just do it on my "birth-date" every month. So on the 27th of each month, that's what I'm doing. The Keep-a-Breast Shower Card is just another reminder for me, and this one looks more detailed than most I've seen. You can print out the shower card from this PDF document and laminate it with plastic. Keep it in the bathroom as a reminder to do breast self-exams regularly.