A Breast Cancer Survivor Bypasses Female Nipple Censorship In The Most Epic Way

Breast cancer survivor Alison Habbal, 36, earlier this year underwent a lumpectomy involving the removal of one of her nipples where cancerous cells had been detected. Since, rather than replace her nipple with a reconstructed one, Habbal opted to cover her breast with a tattoo, telling BBC she “didn’t want a fake nipple made from some other piece of flesh.” Habbal’s breast tattoo in the place of her removed nipple has since deservedly drawn all kinds of positive attention on social media.

Habbal told BBC that over the past year while she was sick, she looked to the beautiful, creative work of tattoo artists as a source of comfort, planning her look after recovery. Habbal eventually decided to go to New Zealand-based tattoo artist Makkala Rose for a design. Rose’s creation, on full display on Habbal’s Instagram, is both beautiful, colorful, playful, and, best of all, wherever Habbal chooses to post it, it’s uncensored. “Because there’s no nipple, I can blast it everywhere all over Facebook and Instagram, and they can’t censor it, which I think is really funny,” she told BBC. 

Habbal’s experiences and her beautiful tattoo send an empowering message to individuals suffering from breast cancer, but it also serves a powerful double purpose by dealing a blow to sexist societal double standards, public nudity laws, and social media policies that either discourage or outright ban female but not male nipples.

About last night – about half way #painismybitch #likeafuckingboss

A photo posted by Alison (@secretary925) on

Breast cancer awareness campaigns have increasingly been at odds with the sexist censorship policies which pervade the internet, as these policies often make it difficult to produce and share video tutorials to help women perform self-examinations.

Habbal and her beautiful breast tattoo are also gaining attention at a time of increasing contentiousness over what constitutes nudity when it comes to the excessively sexualized female body. Last year, Miley Cyrus herself pointed out not the bizarre nature of stigmatizing the female nipple but being A-OK with the near full exposure of the female breast, so long as the nipple is covered.

Habbal is taking full advantage of social media’s double standard and has posted multiple photos showing off her tattoo, even including the hashtag #freethenipple, but adding, “Just kidding, no nipple!” Habbal and her special situation will hopefully spark a dialogue about the ridiculous nature of the age-old societal norm that sexualized female nipples to the point they can’t be shown online. If men can show their nipples and women without nipples can show their boobs, what’s the big deal about female nipples?