The SCAR Project: VICTORY!

Some weeks ago, I initiated a petition to address what I thought were problems with Facebook’s policy regarding images of mastectomy.  A handful of images had been removed from The SCAR Project‘s page and the project’s founder, David Jay, was banned from posting for 30 days for being in violation of Facebook’s terms of service.  In addition, some months ago Anne Marie Giannino-Otis faced a similar problem when she posted her own mastectomy images on Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer.

So many women have pages that help to educate women and men about the realities of breast cancer.  Each, in their own way, actively pushes against the pink tide that focuses solely on awareness and early detection and keeps the reality of what this disease does to so many.  But these images are vitally important in that each tells a story;  and as they do, they begin to heal those affected and they open a healthy dialogue in the public and the private sphere.  I did not want these stories silenced as the result of a vaguely written policy that left these images vulnerable to individuals who would report them because they were personally affronted.  These images are posted within a particular context; this isn’t about sexualized breasts or objectifying women.  This is, quite simply, about life and death.

As the number of signatures began to grow and media outlets picked up the story, Facebook reached out to discuss the issue.  To be clear, the Facebook representatives with whom we spoke that morning were neither hostile to the issue of breast cancer nor to images of mastectomy.  Far from it.  But the fact remained that the Facebook policy on posting images of mastectomy was so vague and ill-defined that it provided little guidance to both the individuals at Facebook responsible for reviewing reported content and to those who wanted to post their images.  [Please note: Facebook does not actively search for content to remove, but only reviews content after it has been reported.]

I am really pleased to tell you that conversations among Facebook representatives, David Jay, representative Stephanie Feldstein, and me have resulted in a much improved policy regarding the use of mastectomy images on Facebook.   Where the former policy vaguely allowed images of “the mastectomy process,” the images are now correctly placed within the context of breast cancer and their importance in raising awareness of the real scourge of this disease and supporting those affected by it.  This is critical as it will assist those whose responsibility it is to review reported content.   And it will also help those who wish to post images of mastectomy on their personal pages.  In a very real sense, this is a victory for both Facebook and its users.

As world events go, this is a relatively small thing.  But this just goes to show that when we collaborate with one another on something bigger than ourselves we can effect really positive change.

Yes, we really can.



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38 Responses to The SCAR Project: VICTORY!

  1. So you’re the one who got the policy defined. Well done! Fight like a girl sister!

  2. keithw says:

    The Ewoks aren’t evil necessarily. They just lack guidance sometimes..

  3. Andrea says:

    Congratulations : )

  4. Ginny Marie says:

    Found your blog! Your URL was missing in the newspaper article I read. 🙂 Once again, thank you for making a change!

  5. Renn says:

    Singing your praises, Scorchy! I mentioned you yesterday on my blog.
    Hear, hear to Grumblers everywhere!
    Change can (and does) start one voice at a time.

  6. The Accidental Amazon says:

    You are definitely the Champion ‘Grumbler’ for doing this. Best part is that you and everyone concerned behaved like grownups. How utterly refreshing! Maybe y’all could provide some civility lessons to Congress…but that’s a whole nuther issue. You dah bomb, girlfriend. But I already knew that. xxoo

  7. thank you, thank you scorcy! you were the voice of reason, and what you have accomplished for the entire BC community is such an AWESOME inspiration.

    LOVE you, XO


  8. bethgainer says:

    THANK YOU!! You are one hell of an awesome person. What you started was incredible.

  9. DrAttai says:

    Well done!

  10. Behold! The power of the Scorch! Way to go, awesome lady!

  11. AnneMarie says:

    YES WE CAN.. writing about you NOW!!!! LOVE YOU.. and thanks Renn for tweeting it — You’re damn good at this twitter stuff!!!!

  12. Thank you, Scorchy! Bravo!

  13. It just amazes me what can be done with these petitions and a strong voice. Way to go, Scorchy!

  14. Renn says:

    This is SO awesome!!! xoxo

  15. helensamia says:

    Well done for achieving that😃😃mouse against sn elephant and you won whoo hoo

  16. randiek says:

    Great job Scorchy! Thanks for all your hard work. xo ~Randie

    Sent from my iPhone

  17. Damn right these pictures need to be out there to combat the sexualized BCA crap out there. Speaking as one who has pictures of her nipple-free tattooed cancer breast on her blog–these pictures need to be there; I made my decision to NOT do reconstruction because SCAR was the first place I saw images that looked like my own body after surgery.
    I took down my Facebook page months ago for personal, non-cancer related reasons. I may get back on there eventually, but as of now know little of their policies. I find it interesting that FB reps do not actively search for offensive pics, the pics get reported? So who the hell reported the SCAR photos as offensive? To these people I say: “Breasts damaged from cancer offend you? Yeah me too, but it happened, this is reality, and I have to look at it in the mirror everyday–hope it doesn’t happen to you so you don’t have to see it. You cannot make the world better just by wishing bad things away.” I better stop there, I feel a tantrum coming on.

  18. hermyleen says:

    Great news, good job!

  19. Congratulations, Scorchy! This is not a small thing, as you say, but a HUGE victory for all of us. Thank you for being the voice of change and for inspiring the powers that be to do the right thing. And you’ve done all of this even when feeling like crap and dealing with crappy news… You inspire us to push for change and to do what’s right. And we are all right there behind you.

    This victory — your victory — makes me feel as though we might just be able to shatter the pink ceiling if we all stick together. Today, Facebook. Tomorrow, the world. (Well, maybe not the world just yet! 😉 )

    Way to go, girl! xoxo

  20. Katie says:

    Great news! This is a significant first step.

  21. Reblogged this on alice… what's the matter? and commented:
    I was pleased to hear that The Sarcastic Boob’s petition on had the effect she wanted.

    Facebook’s policy on mastectomy photographs is now a lot clearer meaning that it’s less likely people will fall foul of the guidelines and post something that will get their page banned.

    Facebook’s policy is here:

  22. Janet G says:


  23. Wonderful News! Well done. Thanks for all you did to make it happen.

  24. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Well done, girl.

  25. Knot Telling says:

    What they said. You inspire me, girl!

  26. dglassme says:

    “As world events go, this is a relatively small thing”. GTFOOH…this is huge!!! Pulling your resources together to get behind this on and pushing back with your voice is a tremendous accomplishment in support of tens of thousands of people. When is the last time you did that? Bravo my dear, BRAVO!!!!!!

  27. Woohoo, those of us in the stage 4 camp don’t get many victories. So we need to celebrate all of them!

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