This Woman’s Powerful Breast Cancer Photos Sparked Online Storm

A Queensland woman’s breast cancer awareness photo shoot went viral after people complained to Facebook about it.

1. Beth Whaanga from Queensland, Australia, is a self-proclaimed “breast cancer preventer.” After having multiple surgeries to clear her body of cancer, she teamed up with photographer Nadia Masot for a photo series called “Under the Red Dress”.

Beth Whaanga / Nadia Masot / Via Facebook: nadia.masot

2. She posted the images to Facebook, with the disclaimer: “WARNING: these images are confronting and contain topless material. They are not in anyway meant to be sexual. The aim of this project is to raise awareness for breast cancer.”

Beth Whaanga / Nadia Masot / Via Facebook: beth.whaanga

3. “Each day we walk past people. These individuals appear normal but under their clothing sometimes their bodies tell a different story,” she wrote.

Beth Whaanga / Nadia Masot / Via Facebook: beth.whaanga

4. Regarding the photo shoot, she said, “At first it was confronting but after a little while rather empowering. A good experience, my scars are not ugly they mean I’m alive.”

Beth Whaanga / Nadia Masot / Via Facebook: beth.whaanga

5. The images went viral after they were reported by some Facebook users as “inappropriate content,” and Beth’s sister Emma wrote an angry response on her own page.

6. Beth herself responded by commenting that people had “missed the point.”

7. She later posted a longer comment about being breast aware, which was what the original photo shoot aimed to promote.

8. According to Beth’s Facebook, she and Nadia are hoping to continue the photo series with more volunteers, to show that “cancer effects [sic] everyone.” You can find out more and see the whole photo series here.

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Jenna Guillaume is Editor-at-Large for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney.
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