Ever since Angelina Jolie's lauded op-ed on her elective mastectomy, the procedure has skyrocketed into our collective consciousness as a possibility even for women who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer. What was once a scary, abstract specter barely discussed in mainstream media became the sudden subject of a productive dialogue on body image, sexuality, and what it means to be a woman and a cancer survivor. Now, a project by Finnish artists Tärähtäneet ämmät (or Nutty Tarts, as they're known to English speakers) is taking the conversation a big step further.
Dubbed "Monokini 2.0," the project was conceived by Elina Halttunen in response to the lack of swimsuit options for women like her who have had one (or both) breasts removed. A series of Finnish designers created high-quality, fashion-forward swimwear designs specifically for women who choose not to undergo reconstructive surgery after their mastectomies. Volunteers then modeled the designs in a series of Top Model-esque photographs.
According to the project's website, the aim of Monokini 2.0 was to "re-examine popular culture’s narrow view of a woman’s ideal appearance, and to expand what is accepted and considered beautiful." As the artists point out, "The fact is that many women who have had one breast removed due to breast cancer don’t wish to have breast reconstruction surgery, they wish to continue their lives with one or no breasts at all."
The photographs are currently on display at the Finnish Museum of Photography, with plans for future exhibitions in Norway and Sweden, as well as a live runway show. And, beginning on Friday, supporters can contribute to a Kickstarter to start a production run on the suits.