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Rejecting Stigma – Embracing ‘Living Flat’: Motivations for Resisting Breast Reconstruction and Prosthetic Breasts After Mastectomy

Title:

Rejecting Stigma – Embracing ‘Living Flat’: Motivations for Resisting Breast Reconstruction and Prosthetic Breasts After Mastectomy

Farnsworth, Laura (2019) Rejecting Stigma – Embracing ‘Living Flat’: Motivations for Resisting Breast Reconstruction and Prosthetic Breasts After Mastectomy. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Rejecting Stigma – Embracing ‘Living Flat’: Motivations for Resisting Breast Reconstruction and Prosthetic Breasts After Mastectomy

Laura Farnsworth

‘Going flat’ and ‘living flat’ following mastectomy for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer has become an emerging option that could be considered the zeitgeist of breast cancer culture in the 21st century. ‘Going flat’ is the informal term used when a woman does not undergo breast reconstruction after this breast removal surgery or has her reconstruction reversed for various reasons. Trending in popular and social media in the Western world, some social media platforms and mass media are increasingly sharing and reporting on these women’s lived experiences -- their narratives, photographs, filmed images and philosophy. What motivates the actions and behaviors of the women who are part of this growing subculture of mainstream breast cancer culture? Why are women deciding to say ‘no’ to breast reconstruction? Why do they also decide to forego wearing prosthetic breasts in public and ‘live flat’? What role do tattoos play in their ‘new normal’ body image? How are these women able to resist breast reconstruction as well as the wearing of prostheses and, in essence, reject Goffman’s very notion of spoiled identity-stigma itself? In effect, are these women using their agency to de-colonize the medically colonized female body -- thus normalizing ‘living flat’ as a respected post-mastectomy choice? Academic research that explores and endeavors to answer these questions has scarcely been undertaken, demonstrating an existing gap in the literature. By drawing on and analyzing data using thematic analysis from media interviews conducted with various media interviewees in multi-media -- published and available in the public domain on the Internet such as newspaper, magazine, organizational and dot.com websites, online videos, podcasts and documentary film – this thesis aims to contribute to the growth of knowledge and research in this under-researched area.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Farnsworth, Laura
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology
Date:30 August 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):De Courville Nicol, Valérie
ID Code:985836
Deposited By: Laura Farnsworth
Deposited On:15 Nov 2019 16:39
Last Modified:15 Nov 2019 16:39
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