Beth Whaanga is not scared of her scars. Are you?
If you’ve not seen or heard of Beth Whaanga’s Under the Red Dress Project on Facebook, it’s about time you did. The project shows the Brisbane mother of four photographed wearing a red dress, and then topless and in her underwear, showing the scars from her pre-emptive double mastectomy, reconstruction and hysterectomy.
Beth warns that the images are confronting but the aim of it all is to raise awareness on breast cancer. Photographed by Nadia Masot, the images are uncompromising – the scars, unfaded, sore-looking, resemble whip welts. As you look closely, the scars unite with Beth’s facial expressions, telling her story of pain, courage and survival.
Beth said, “My scars are not ugly, they mean I’m alive,” and as the campaign went viral, she got de-friended on Facebook by over 100 people, as they deemed the pictures to be obscene, disgusting and offensive.
“These pictures are in no way pornographic,” Beth’s sister, Emma Rayner said. “They represent the truth about cancer and what measures some women will need to take to survive. I think it’s brave that she can show her scars and I think many more women will hopefully check their own bodies every now and then.”
Not so long ago, Angelina Jolie risked her career by having a double mastectomy. We admire these women for being so courageous and strong.
What do you think of Beth’s project? Sound off in the comments.