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Who Says You Need Two? Monokini for breast cancer survivors shows us what’s really beautiful

A picture popped up on my Twitter timeline this morning so utterly fabulous I wanted to derobe and dance on the desk with joy.

This wasn’t the ‘latest’ from Kimye’s honeymoon (yawn), nor a particularly pretty yet completely financially unachievable new pair of shoes… but this.



This a woman who is more of a woman than most of us could aspire to be. This is a breast cancer survivor deliciously and wonderfully modelling a Monokini 2.0 – an update of the 1964 design that exposed the breasts – only this time it’s, in the Finnish designers’ words, ‘re-examining popular culture’s narrow view of a woman’s ideal appearance’. And how fabulously done.

The collection is generating a flurry of attention – which perhaps exposes something about us a society (myself included) in line with that narrow view they’re talking about above. For all the pouting, posing, baps out ‘models’ that fill up our papers, sidebars and instas daily, bred from a fame-hungry generation reeking of the need for social validation, these girls look more stunning, powerful and beautiful than that lot put together. Our girls need to learn about these woman – about overcoming, about staring fear in the face, defying the utmost of challenges, and being empowered by the experiences that have made you you.

Founder Elina Haluttunen is a woman on a spectacular mission. A mission which, it is now startlingly apparent, is long overdue. She says Monokini 2.0 is about more than wearing a swimsuit she feels good in after herself choosing not to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, but also to ‘dig into the restrictive social taboo on what is considered appropriate’. It’s true we are fixated with breasts as wider society – men for very different reasons than women – but just look at accepted (or resigned to – sigh) cultural norms of the way we talk about these mammary glands, designed to feed a newborn child: ‘Are you a boob or a bum man?’, ‘I wish my boobs were bigger’, ‘she’s got a cracking pair of tits’… it’s not hard to see how much emphasis one can place on the physicality of having a ‘set’ of breasts, and as such how much of a woman the owner consequently is (or is not). To present these wonderful women as exactly that – whole women, and beautiful, empowered women at that – is one giant positive step in enlightening us all to what it means to have a positive self-image, to be whole and complete and content with however that manifests – big, small, quiet, confident, tall, short… one-breasted, no-breasted. Monokini 2.0 is rather starkly exposing the not-so norm about the supposed norms we live by, measure ourselves against and judge one another upon – each and every day.


Haluttunen and the group of designers behind the project are hoping to expand through a KickStarter, launched today.


One comment on “Who Says You Need Two? Monokini for breast cancer survivors shows us what’s really beautiful

  1. Who Says You Need Two? Monokini for breast cancer survivors shows us what’s really beautiful | Young, Fun and Type 1

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