Mastectomy

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When I first started contributing to a blog, it was for Emmanuelle’s Blog, a.k.a 2EX, a blog that dealt with SL sexuality in a wider sense and for which I was only an occasional naturist correspondent.

Australian avatar Marlene was the writer who dealt with lesbian-related matters, but sometime in 2009/10 she developed breast cancer and quit the blog. The team who wrote the blog began to break up, and eventually Emmanuelle decided to stop blogging. Howie & I began to hatch a plan to develop SL Naturist, and I left Emma’s ’employ’ to start blogging here.

Marlene went on to have a mastectomy, chemo and radiotherapy and, I’m glad to say, recovered fully. She quit her job to become a full-time employee of a breast cancer charity, and also quit SL saying that she would return only when some acknowledgement of a horrible disease received some form of recognition in SL. While not a full mastectomy, probably impossible due to the manner in which shapes/skins are constructed, Rav3n’s store on the Marketplace designed a mastectomy styled tattoo (L$99) some time in 2014, but it was only recently that Marlene became aware of this and re-acquainted herself with SL, only last week that she made contact with me and we decided that it was something we needed to blog.

At the time we were colleagues, Marlene & her girlfriend would have spent time at the naturist sims, and Marlene was a woman who would have readily gone ‘topless’ in real life.

‘It was part of who I was’, Marlene told me last week, ‘and the loss of a breast is a huge thing for a woman, as our boobs often define us as women. Not, perhaps, within ourselves, but in the manner in which society sees us. Yes, I did feel a sense of loss too. Was I still attractive? Was I still a sexual being? Did my (RL) girlfriend still want me? Actually, no, she didn’t. She couldn’t handle the situation and we split up. Having recovered fully I was actually energised by the experience, I threw myself into my new job, and didn’t have much time for SL. Anyway, I was determined that if I came back to SL it would be as a breast-cancer survivor. That would need to define me in the game’.

With mastectomy tattoo layers now available, Marlene has decided to return to SL and to live her life in the context of a breast cancer survivor. ‘If the use of the layers starts one conversation to encourage one woman -or man with a RL partner- to check for lumps, bumps or anything else, to get themselves checked out, that’s worth it. No, I’m not going to be running around SL shouting ‘look at my mastectomy scar’, but my profile is certainly going to be updated to reflect things as they are! Now, my avatar can also accurately reflect who I am’.

I’ve added ‘uncensored’ photos of the layers to the ‘Harry’s Pix’ page (scroll to the bottom of the page).

If you have any concerns about breast cancer, you can get information here. (This page has a UK emphasis, but the information provided will largely be universal).

Ella

Walk the (Bra) Walk

We’re keen supporters of breast cancer charities here at SLN, and it’s SL charitable events throughout the year where we’ll dig deepest into our pockets to support these, both financially, and by blogging about the events. No, they’re not naturist events, but it’s important to support awareness about breast cancer, encourage women to check their breasts regularly for any lumps and bumps, and to seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity should such abnormalities make themselves evident.

In different formats, the UK is gearing up for a summer of walks to raise money and awareness for breast cancer charities, with Edinburgh and London already holding them in June & July respectively, and Belfast holding one under the name of the ‘ Moonlight Bra Walk’. Inverness is having one under the name of Bra Nicht (this is a play on words and the Scottish accent: there’s a familiar Scottish saying that runs ‘it’s a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the night’, translatable as ‘it’s a bright moonlit night tonight’ and popularised by music hall entertainer Harry Lauder). There are probably others, but these were the first that turned up in a Google search for info on the walks.

I know that there’s no bra walks going on in SL right now, but Maai have a group gift out that will be totally suitable when breast cancer awareness events commence in SL later in the year.

A substantial amount of pink is in the lingerie set (available for L$0, no group join fee), and I was made aware of it by Malgorzata, an SL friend of maybe 4-5 years standing. When I first started blogging on Emmanuelle’s now defunct blog Malgorzata was the ‘poses, swimwear and lingerie model’ on the blog and old habits die hard 🙂

Still a keen collector of swimwear and lingerie, it’s my old friend (below) who is modelling this Maai group gift. Grab it for your ‘pink ribbon’ events later in the year!

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Ella

 

No Bra Day

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I missed doing this on the day due to work commitments, but I’m happy to pick it up now and fill you in on the background to the thing.

It seems there are two No Bra days, one in July, one in October (October is generally agreed to be Breast Cancer Awareness month, and you’ll generally find many events in SL that are designed to raise money to eradicate breast cancer). No Bra Day, on the other hand, appears to have been some sort of novelty event about ‘freedom’ and then there has been some subsequent jemmying of it to see if it can be made to fit into October events.

I don’t think we can assume No Bra Day to have any sort of cancer awareness intention, something that Sarah Michelle Gellar commented on via Twitter, suggesting it may exist to pander to perverts

Is she right? Possibly. I’m not seeing much that can be clearly identified as ‘breast cancer initiatives’ about the campaign.

Again, there was ‘a thing’ a while back where there appears to have been some sort of urban myth that a bra might contribute to breast cancer, but that has been dismissed via scientific research.

I’m simply going to say that I kind of agree that it has no proper purpose other than an opportunity to encourage ladies to flash the flesh. As usual, though, Fox News manages to talk the greatest load of drivel about it in as few words as possible.

For the record…there is NO ‘annual holiday’ for ‘setting the girls free’. There’s no real sense of breast cancer survivors hard-selling this on social media. Additionally, I would say that almost 100% of the world’s males are attracted to breasts, so I’m not sure that looking at them makes men ‘perverts’. Rather more…normal? Even one of my Spanish friends who is gay will remark on mine (and other females too) so it seems it might not even be exclusively a hetero male thing (admittedly a poll sample of ‘1’ is hardly scientific).

I’m minded to think that it’s not really a serious attempt to raise aware anything in and of itself though, and Hollywood Life blog certainly does its bit to reinforce that idea. That link shows a parade of braless (but clothed) ‘stars’, many of whom I’ve never heard of, and ‘braless’ in a couple of photos are of evening gowns. Who amongst us has worn an evening gown with a bra? I’m no fashion victim, but even I know that you aren’t going out dressed like that!

The only positive I can draw from this is that if another tranche of braless celebrities sharing their nipples with us reminds someone to check for anything unusual about their breasts, then it’s worth it. But please let’s not pretend that ‘No Bra Day’ is a particularly serious event.

 

Ella

 

 

 

SLN 11: Mastectomy

WARNING: THIS POST RELATES TO BREAST CANCER, MASTECTOMIES AND AVATARS WITH A POST-MASTECTOMY LOOK

IF YOU ARE LIKELY TO BE OFFENDED, PLEASE LEAVE THIS PAGE

SL is pretty good in regard to fund-raising, and no more so in respect of various ‘pink ribbon‘ campaigns. That’s those fund raising events related to breast cancer.

I have previously written here about my first start in blogging, on Emmanuelle’s blog, and how one of the writers there, Marlene, was diagnosed with breast cancer and left SL for a while to have a mastectomy. Happily, Marlene survived and was given a clean bill of health because -as is oft repeated- early detection is key to survival, and Marlene’s breast cancer was caught extremely early.Pink-Ribbon1

While she recovered at home, and was back blogging in SL, Marlene decided to quit her job at the time and began working for a breast cancer charity, feeling her real life experience would be valuable. And shortly thereafter she quit SL to dedicate all of her time to her new job.

I recall she said that when SL came up with a post-mastectomy skin, and she could proudly wear it on the beaches of SL, a reminder that it is survivable, and be a constant reminder to SL’s female avatars to check for lumps and bumps on a regular basis, she might return to the game.

Well, she just might be coming back, if Barbara’s recent discovery is anything to go by. I’ll leave you in Babs hands for the remainder of this post.

Ella.

 

 

Thanks Ella.

Amacci recently released a new group skin (free to join, by the way) It’s called ‘Tyne’ and I loved the look of it, so picked it up and am currently wearing it.

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But while over at the store I noticed a new set of skin tattoo and underwear layers (L$100) for those who might be interested in a ‘femboy’ look. That is, a male with a feminine ‘look’ and not subscribing to the accepted ‘norm’ of how males should look. Interesting, I thought, so I dialled up Harry, initially with the thought of us featuring a model who might be extremely flat chested. After all, there are an enormous number of women around whose physique is such that there’s not much ‘up top’. (Tell me about it! : Ella)

And Harry was able to get a model willing to pose for him with this look (see elsewhere in SLN 11 for that photo-shoot).

From there, the brief changed a little bit, as Harry, Ella and I all agreed that, for now, this might be the closest look to ‘post mastectomy’ that might be achievable in SL. And thus we put our heads together to consider our options. The marketplace has an enormous number of ‘scars’ available, so we got our model to add another tattoo layer (L$120). While the scars involved aren’t perfect for our needs, being more of a ‘healed sword wound’ variety, and not perfectly suited to representing a mastectomy operation, the result is pretty good. (If ‘good’ is a word we should be applying to such a horrible disease).

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The flat-chested element is not really shown to its best advantage in this shot -nor intended to be- but you can check out an entire post dedicated to use of the layers/tattoos from Amacci via the link I’ve given above.

I understand this post may not be to everyone’s taste, and some might even find it ‘tasteless’, but my feeling is that it’s important for women who have gone through surgery to understand that they do not cease to be beautiful. They do not lose their sexuality or femininity as a result. And sometimes this look, worn on an avatar, might just be a reminder of that. It might be a reminder for a woman to do that regular self-check.

Barbara

 

I love boobies!

Hooray for the US Supreme Court.

The story is essentially that students were given suspensions from school for wearing ‘I love boobies’ bracelets sold by a US breast cancer charity. The school had determined the bracelets to be ‘lewd’.

So the two students took the school to court, and won their case.

163222-0007In SL many groups, sims and individuals do much for breast cancer awareness, and donate cash from their various campaigns to real life cancer charities. I’ve given freely in the past to these events, paid for pink-hued T shirts and donated, because breast cancer can be a killer. It can also be readily survived with early detection and treatment. The word isn’t ‘lewd’, the cause isn’t ‘lewd’.

Educators have a responsibility to not only teach children the names of American Presidents, English Kings and Queens or whatever. They’ve a responsibility to teach history, English, math(s), science….and the development of a moral compass.

We have to teach our educators that facts and figures isn’t enough, but morality and social responsibility are equally important components of a proper, rounded education too. Young women need to be educated as much to do regular breast checks as they educated in chemistry or geography or art or music.

These girls have given to a charity (the Keep Abreast organisation) to buy the bracelets in the first place, so the charity has benefitted. Each one bought may just be the few cents required to save someone’s life.

Really, what those in charge of education in Pennsylvania need to be doing now is reading that organisation’s web pages, and then tackling the issue in its schools (and elsewhere around the globe). They need to be learning, from their students, that it’s an important issue and young people, male and female, need to be made as much aware of this issue as they do Newton’s Third Law of Motion (‘for every action there is an equal reaction’). Oh, maybe they learned that through the US Supreme Court! Maybe they learned that if they stopped burying their heads in the sand, stopped focusing on the apparently ‘lewd’ nature of a word, and got stuck in to saving women’s (and men’s, too) lives in Pennsylvania, the formal education they handed out to some women might just turn out to be a full life, rather than a life cut short by ignorance.

Ella.

Editorial Comment (and ‘Check ’em Tuesday’)

You will probably have guessed (due to the fact that I’m quicker in linking stories from their pages, that I’m a reader (digitally) of UK newspapers The Independent and The Guardian.

I’d also read The Times if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s onlly available via subscription and it’s owned by News International Corporation, headed by Rupert Murdoch. I don’t like News International, or Murdoch, and I certainly wouldn’t have his Sky TV in our house (or, indeed, watch the freely available Sky News channel either). For North American readers, I should explain that Sky TV is dumb, with self-regarding dumb presenters. Imagine a marginally brighter Fox News (another Murdoch owned venture) and you’re almost there.

So I’ve picked this story up from the pages of The Independent, although it obviously originates in another News International paper, the UK tabloid The Sun.

And my antipathy towards Murdoch, News International and his stable of media outlets stems from their (in the main, The Times might just be the exception) focus on dim-witted ‘celebrity’, the trivialisation or sensationalising of news, or its role as self-appointed moral guardian of the British people.

One of the more hideous elements of The Sun has been its ‘Page Three girls’, a lame excuse to print photographs of topless models. In a sense, exposed breasts should be a good thing, as photos should have a tendency to normalise breasts and lead to gender equality. Unfortunately, while using these type of photos, The Sun continues to indulge in smutty, end of the pier, double-entendre and innuendo that means breasts remain sexualised. Of course, there are much greater hideous elements to the Sun’s reporting of proper news than bare breasted punnery, such as their headline during the 1982 Falklands War when they celebrated the sinking of Argentine battleship General Belgrano with the word ‘Gotcha!’, or their headlong rush to blame the fans of Liverpool Football Club (an English soccer team) for a stadium disaster in 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans died, coverage that resulted in The Sun not being stocked, by newsagents in Liverpool, ever since.

It’s not for me to take a hardline feminist attitude here and decry the girls themselves. Many might have origins in poverty (although ‘poverty’ in Britain is relative, when seen from the perspective of, say, Asian or African poverty) and the girls see an opportunity to become ‘celebrities’ themselves, or merely a little richer, by using the ‘assets’ they’ve been blessed with. If they’re willingly participating and are happy with the cash, it’s not for me (or any hardline feminist group) to criticise. An organisation called No More Page Three has also published a list of British Members of Parliament who support their ’cause’. Quite frankly, I would have imagined MPs should be concerning themselves with, for example, Putin’s brinkmanship as opposed to whatever young women choose to do with their bodies, in terms of earnings, in a free democracy than obsessing on breast tissue.

None of the girls have been forced into posing. They make money from it. And, while I don’t like News International, I assume they see money being made in it, which is the purpose of their existence in a capitalist democracy. No one loses, particularly, other than the fact that their schoolboy punnery accompanying the photos keeps the idea of sexualised breasts going.

For me -a personal opinion- the exposure of breasts is fine, if they aren’t being treated as something to ogle over on a daily basis. Men get their nipples out, why not women? And, realistically, people, when I do go to a topless or naturist beach, there are many, many overweight men with breasts larger than mine being exposed on the beach. There are larger breasts than mine being exposed on a hot day on a building site on a daily basis. What is it that makes female nipples so outrageous they have to be covered at all times? And while it seems that the photos of page 3 girls are taken in studios, I believe The Sun would be doing everyone a service by taking photos in everyday surroundings, where women might feel empowered towards topfree equality on their own terms.

I would like to add that my comments, above, are in no way meant to denigrate those bloggers who choose to remain ‘boob free’, as it were. They will have chosen their target audience, just as we have, and may have opted not to display bare boobs if they’re working towards a ‘PG’ target audience. Again, they’ve made their choise, and it’s not for me or anyone else to challenge or criticise their editorial policy.

But let’s get back to The Sun and its Check ‘Em Tuesday ‘campaign’.carousel-check-em

Because of its history, there will inevitably be a certain level -not unjustified- of cynicism. I share that sense of cynicism.

However, despite my antipathy to the ‘newspaper’, breast cancer can be a killer. It can also be very, very survivable. The key is early detection. So if their campaign saves one life, it is surely worth it. If, by focussing on the need to regularly check for lumps, bumps and anything that should not be there on a weekly (i.e. Tuesday) basis, then it’s all good. If it’s just a cynical, calculated excuse to continue to print photos of bare-breasted beauties in the face of increasing criticism of their topless policy, shame on them. A view already taken by political scrapbook and numerous twitter users.

I’m particularly interested in the topic because I’ve had family members (by marriage) face the disease. And when I started out in the blogging world, on Emmanuelle’s blog, another staff member, Marlene, was going through the process of surviving it following a mastectomy.

Marlene, on her return to SL following a period of RL convalesence, decided she would quit the blogging world (and subsequently SL) to work for a breast cancer charity. Having survived, she felt her role in life had become one of ensuring others were made aware of the symptoms, and received education on what to look for, and what to do if a woman did discover some changes in her breasts. (Incidentally, men can also develop breast cancer). Incidentally, I recall Marlene saying that she would return to SL if a skin designer ever developed a ‘post mastectomy’ skin, i.e. with one breast removed, on the basis that if she could run around SL with that particular look, and courageously demonstrate, even in the virtual world, that the loss of a breast did not reduce a woman’s femininity, she would return to the nude beaches of SL just as a demonstration that breast cancer is survivable, and to ‘normalise’ a post-mastectomy appearance for fellow avatars. Sadly, I’m not aware that any skin designers have even tackled the challenge, although I can’t say whether it’s because they view it as hideous, uncommercial or simply not achievable due to the limitations of computer design (although a wholly ‘mesh’ skin would, I imagine, alter that possibility).

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In other news, a period of being exceptionally busy in RL comes to an end soon, and I’ve actually got a period from the end of next week where I’m not in work either at all, or doing some of those annual, corporate ‘refresher’ courses where I’m getting paid for listening to talks, or reading pamphlets about stuff I already know. So I’m fully expectant of a rich period of SLN related activity from this weekend onwards, so keep an eagle-eye out for that.

Ella.