Cancer survivor’s mastectomy photos on Facebook-pornography or cancer awareness?

Paper Topic:- Pornography or Cancer Awareness?

What defines pornography? The idea varies from one person's perspective to another. What is deemed offensive can consist of a multitude of definitions. Facebook aims at deterring pornographic material from its site. A photo should then, by definition, be pornographic to fall under these restrictions. A cancer survivor's mastectomy photo on Facebook is cancer awareness in the hopes of leaving the stigma of a mastectomy behind, embracing the scars, and celebrating the successful fight against the enemy that take so many lives.

Facebook is a widely known social media platform. Users across the world utilize a free subscription to communicate with friends, family, coworkers, fellow students, or to meet new people from any location. The users are able to send private messages and photos, post them on their Timeline, or share funny memes. This large population of diverse users creates a dire need to keep the site free from pornographic material as it is highly controversial and offensive to some people. One must define pornography before rules and regulations can be placed on what material falls into this banned category. Otherwise, harmless and celebrated acts that express freedom of speech become banned.

The media has been a storm over Facebook removing and banning cancer survivors' mastectomy photos. The debate continues to boil over whether these photos promote cancer awareness or the promotion of pornography. With ethical issues varying wildly from one culture to another, it also differs between individuals. Even if individuals fall under the same culture, their ideals can consist of alternate beliefs due to religion, peers, upbringing, and environmental influence. One must first understand the nature, or at least the definition, of pornography before accompanying the bandwagon of misplaced labels and stigmas.

Breasts were not included in the defined list of sexual body parts. Though males in certain cultures stigmatize them into this category, nature has provided them for different reasons. The nurturing and nourishment of babies is the biological function of breasts. Breast-feeding has also become scandalous as it exposes the mother's chest to some degree. There is no indication in the definition of pornography that providing sustenance to one's child is a pornographic act.

Dockterman (2014) quotes Facebook as saying it stands to:"impose limitations on the display of nudity." Mastectomy photos fall under personal importance or they would not have been posted to Facebook. The sexual parts in question, breasts, are not even an issue in such a photo as they have been surgically removed. Whether bare-chested or showing off newly acquired tattoos to camouflage the scars, there are no breasts to be seen as sexually explicit. This is no different than a man's chest. The lack of breasts and nipples can then be argued as posing absolutely no threat of sexual exposure, intentional or otherwise. If no sexual intention resides within a post, then the photo then falls into a different category outside of pornography.

Categories that explain this photo and others like it range. Personal victories are often celebrated with the posting of photos. Surviving cancer by mutilating a women's chest ranks higher than personal victory. It is an individual celebrating her scars and the battle that they represent. They also promote cancer awareness. Mastectomy photos can also become educational to provide others with the knowledge of one of the many choices associated with fighting Breast Cancer. It is a statement of free speech, personal awareness, education, and the celebration of life and victory. Facebook has no right to impede on a person's rites to celebrate such a momentous adventure that many do not live to talk about.

The understanding is that the popular social media site aims to protect users from material, written and photographed, deemed inappropriate. No one can exchange the word inappropriate with offensive because offensive posts occur every minute. With users crossing such a large diversity of backgrounds and moral beliefs, offensive is too broad of a word to indicate what is, or is not, allowed.

For example, there are constant posts with vulgar language, the worship of different gods, or lack of faith, political posts demeaning candidates for a wide variety of subjects, and the list continues seemingly infinitely. If users are offended by foul language, then they must continue in their offended state as the posts keep coming. If the debate were to be based on morals, there would be a drop in popularity as Facebook continued to edit the masses' freedom of speech. There has to be a line drawn.

Drawing a line to exclude mastectomy photos where no actual breasts are shown should then, by definition, be safe as there are no body parts to be considered sexually explicit. It takes courage to share a loss of one's identity with the world. Losing body parts creates any number of emotional insecurities including a loss of self-esteem. Individuals are affected by the same circumstances with a vast sea of differences. One thing is certain, though. Exposing the scars of breast removal is in no way purposed to arouse the opposite sex but to be a medium for self-expression depicting the continued fight for life and Breast Cancer awareness.

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