Tahira Kashyap’s photograph on World Cancer Day is humbling in an era reigned by perfect pictures on social media. The cancer survivor took to Twitter to share a picture where she bares her back and her soul, to give us a peak of what she has been battling for the past few months. “Today is my day! Wish you all a happy
#worldcancerday with the hope to celebrate it in an embracing way. These scars are my badges of honour. It was tough but this picture was my decision as I want to celebrate not the disease but the spirit with which I endured,” she wrote.
This picture is a humbling reminder of how little we talk about post-operative or post treatment bodies of cancer survivors, especially female breast cancer survivors.
Today is my day!Wish you all a happy #worldcancerday with the hope to celebrate it in an embracing way❤️These scars are my badges of honour. It was tough but this picture was my decision as I want to celebrate not the disease but the spirit with which I endured.📸 @atulkasbekar pic.twitter.com/r6I5M5D3ru
— Tahira Kashyap Khurrana (@tahira_k) February 4, 2019
- Tahira Kashyap’s World Cancer Day picture is a reminder of how little we talk about post-operative bodies of cancer survivors.
- It isn’t easy to lose the part of your body which defines your femininity and desirability, as per the society.
- Women often cover up their scars pretending that everything is okay.
- What needs to change is our perception of feminine beauty and the obsession with physical perfection.
Breasts have long been associated with femininity in women.
In a society which objectifies women’s breast, it isn’t easy to lose the body part which to an extent defines your femininity. Women with smaller breasts are often shamed for not being well-endowed. Words like flat-chested are used as a slang, as if small breasts make a woman less attractive. Many women long for fuller breasts, to validate themselves. Their endowment is linked to not just their physical beauty but also to fertility.
Imagine losing something to which you’ve pinned your gender identity, fertility and desirability too. Only then can you understand the desolation which breast cancer survivors experience, when they undergo surgeries which lead to complete or partial removal of their breasts. The sexualisation of women’s breast in our culture forces women to cover up their scars and never speak about what they have lost, pretending as if everything is okay. After all, most people still see scars as a flaw, a contrast to their perception of perfection.
Who would want to expose their rawness and scars to a world obsessed with beauty and perfection?
Who would want to expose their rawness and scars to a world obsessed with beauty and perfection? When you know it will stick out like a sore thumb in a plethora of perfect pictures on Instagram, where there is no place for stark realities of the struggle against cancer. No one wants to look them, as we are all pretending to be busy leading our flawless lives. But what Kashyap and many more women who embrace their post-cancer bodies openly do, is very important. It gives courage to other women who are fighting similar battles, but are unsure of whether the world or their loved ones will accept them or not.
What Kashyap and many more women who embrace their post-cancer bodies openly do, is very important. It gives courage to other women who are fighting similar battles, but are unsure of whether the world or their loved ones will accept them or not.
Such photographs tell them to first accept and love themselves and stop giving a damn about social acceptance. Those who truly love you, will see beyond those scars. And those who cannot look beyond the scars, they do not deserve your fuss. They also goad us to address our definition of beauty and perfection, and why it is time to be more accepting. Flawless skin or ample breasts don’t make a woman beautiful or feminine that feeling is much deep-seated in us. So why pin it to something so superficial?
Picture Credit: Indian Express
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.