To the Offended

I read with delight of Scorchy’s petition’s victory with Facebook, concerning the removal of the SCAR Project’s photos. But a note she put in her post caught my attention: “Facebook does not actively search for content to remove, but only reviews content after it has been reported.”

I removed my Facebook page over a year ago for non-cancer related personal reasons, so I know little of what they are up to these days other than this issue, and other breast cancer prejudice that I’ve mentioned in older posts. But the way I understand this is that some Facebook users were offended by the pictures of breast-less, scarred, (formerly) cancerous women, and then complained. I’m curious as to whether any of these people complain about the boobie-centric pictures in ads that accompany breast cancer events.

Cancer, surgery scars, and death are indeed offensive but they all happen regardless of our best efforts. Putting them out of the line of vision, ignoring them, will not make them go away. What will these complainers do if they get cancer, get surgery, get scars? Not look in the mirror? I suppose their answer to me would be—“no, but I wouldn’t put my pictures all over the internet.” Of course I disagree with that, see my Fables of the Reconstruction page.

And here is the best response to those who complain about mastectomy pictures on the internet I’ve found: “Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right.” Ricky Gervais

Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

7 thoughts on “To the Offended”

  1. Some people on FB are very very narrow minded… I am glad that FB listened and responded now in a positive way..


    1. Ha ha, since nearly everyone is ON Facebook, I supposed one could say this whole flap is representative of society in general! And for better or worse, I’m glad it was pointed out that FB employees do not go looking for the content, that needs to be clear. FB may not be blameless, but I wonder what would’ve happened if some users had brought the SCAR photos to attention? Again, to me, it just seems representative of a society unable to face sickness and scars.


  2. dear CC,

    it’s hard to understand how a person could look at photos from the scar project and feel “offended” without having considered the people, the young women who have suffered and lost so much. and it’s sobering to think that there are so many people who react based on faulty emotions and don’t give the time of day to feel compassion – yet they still have the energy to pursue lodging a complaint to FB. i do agree that we are a society that is saturated with images that speak to how we have to look perfect, be perfect and pursue physical perfection ad nauseum, and that illness and scars and death are just not realities many people face up to. great post, great observations – thank you!

    love, XO,



    1. Thanks! Sadly as I read comments on the various articles that reported this FB/photo thing, I see even more evidence of people who just don’t get it. I’ve seen a few outraged folks wonder why “we” (those of us who’ve put our scarred breasts online for the world to see) do this, we must just want attention. Hmm, like any photo posted anywhere online isn’t a result of that! Scorchy once posted a bit about how mastectomy is rally breast amputation. I wonder how these complainers react to limb amputees out in public. Guess they joined our military and got harmed for the attention (yes I’m being sarcastic).


  3. Exactly! Thanks for saying what many of us are likely thinking. Loved the line, “What will these complainers do if they get cancer, have surgery, have scars? Not look in the mirror?”
    I often think things like this when people say things that make me incredulous.
    I hope for their sake that these people never have to eat their words — I’m sure they have no idea how much this all of this sucks and how unsexy having a mastectomy is.
    Thanks for giving our thoughts a voice!


    1. I actually got into exactly this conversation in the comments section on HuffPo; a woman said that these scar pics were not needed, everyone is quite aware enough of breast cancer thank you very much. I pointed out to her that awareness is NOT the same as understanding (because I do not think people who are aware that breast cancer happens really understand the results of breast cancer, as in: these scars). I said I hoped she never had to face such a scar, and she replied that if she does, she would just live out her days happy and NOT put her pictures on the internet. I shake my head and sigh at this, and force myself to not respond to “get in the last word”. I once thought I’d never post such pictures myself; funny how things change. It is pointless to get into the conversation and point out rude it is for the well to judge the sick, and for them to think they can do cancer better.


      1. Thank you for trying with her at least. Maybe someone will take something away from the discussion — she obviously won’t.
        I think your last sentence sums things up so perfectly — it is rude for the well to judge the sick, and for them to think they can do cancer better. I may have to borrow that line –I’m sure there are many of us who feel this way. I can think of a bunch of times when I would have liked to have had a sticker that said this taped to my forehead! You should spread that one around. 😉


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