Cancer Survivors Who Had Double Mastectomies Star in Amazing Underwear Ads

Challenging feminine ideals

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Of all our body parts, we humans objectify breasts as the most inherently feminine, right? They serve a utilitarian purpose, sure, but they're also soft and sexy and men don't (typically) have them.

But what happens when you undergo a double mastectomy to beat cancer, and then you opt—as nearly 58 percent of women do—not to have breast reconstruction surgery? Are you somehow less feminine? The answer is obviously a resounding no, and that's what a new ad campaign from gender-neutral underwear company Play Out is looking to communicate.

The campaign features three proudly breastless women—Emily Jensen, Jodi Jaecks and Melly Testa. Play Out partnered on the campaign with support group FlatTopper Pride, which Jensen founded.

"Our dear friend Emily Jensen, who started FlatTopper Pride, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 31 years old," Abby Sugar, Play Out co-founder and designer tells AdFreak. "After having a double mastectomy, Emily shared photos of herself on Facebook, on vacation, topless and flat. These were very powerful, strong images, and even though we knew Emily as a dear friend, we didn't know how much she went through daily as a breast cancer survivor. Not only that, but as a person who stood out against society's expectations of feminine beauty and the dominant narrative of reconstruction after mastectomy."

Sugar adds: "We wanted to help her not only show that you can be yourself, no matter your gender presentation, but get the word out about FlatTopper Pride, a space for LGBT people dealing with breast cancer and breast removal to find support. Emily, Jodi and Melly all have unique stories about their treatments and their experiences post-mastectomies. Emily brought Jodi in to tell her story, and introduced us to Melly here on the East Coast. We were extremely inspired by all of them."

Play Out also points to FlatTopper Pride, where the women featured share their stories.

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.