It’s probably pretty difficult for women facing a double mastectomy to marshall the soul-cleansing gallows-humor people use to deal with tragic shit, but fun nipple tattoos certainly help, especially if those fun nipple tattoos are fun Batman-themed nipple tattoos.
Angelina Jolie’s high-profile (and, for some reason, much-criticized) decision to mitigate the lurking dangers of the BRCA1 gene she carries by undergoing a double mastectomy helps ease the unreasonable social stigma that can come with the procedure (the superficiality of the modern world is really something), but only a little bit. According to San Francisco Appeal contributor Babe Scanlon, part of the difficulty of psychically coping with a double mastectomy comes from the inordinate sacredness with which our culture treats boobs. She writes,
We are taught to treat mastectomies as a tragedy. I once even read an article that praised French women who said they’d rather die than lose their boobs!
But I totally disagree. I think that breasts are unnecessarily sacred.
That isn’t to say that all boobs are dangerous time bomb parasites waiting for the day when they can seek vengeance on their hosts — they just aren’t definitive signposts of womanhood.
With that idea in mind, reconsider, as Scanlon does, the commonly-accepted advice that women, when getting breast implants after a double mastectomy, ought to get brand new nipples airbrushed onto their brand new boobs. Wouldn’t that be the perfect chance to, I dunno, get two hypnotic swirl tattoos and become a Riddler-esque super villain? Scanlon thinks maybe:
When my friend’s mother had a full mastectomy and got breast implants, this same attitude of great tragedy and the need to recapture what was lost was demonstrated by her doctors. They encouraged her to get her nipples re-tattooed on her boobs because, as happens in many cases, they couldn’t save her actual nipples.
What a limiting, lazy, boring suggestion! Why should she be expected to mourn her nipples? Sure, some people may feel that way. But why would a doctor push a patient in that depressing direction?
Instead of encouraging her to focus on a feeling of loss, they could show her the incredible number of new options available to her because she’s going to live.
The least of these options is being able to put anything she wants in the place where her nipples used to be. Seriously, what an amazing opportunity for self-expression!
Batman-themed nipples are clearly the way to go, but Scanlon is aware that some members of her audience are a little more cerebral and would really appreciate the masks of tragedy and drama on either boob, concisely expressing the entire spectrum of appropriate emotions.