Sammy Nickalls
May 27, 2015 11:03 am

Play Out Underwear, the world’s first gender-neutral underwear collection, has already been making major headway in challenging traditional beauty standards. “We strongly believe that personal style is a huge part of feeling comfortable in your own skin,” designers and Play Out co-founders told BuzzFeed last year, “and feeling like you can express your true self to the world around you.”

For their latest campaign, Play Out partnered with FlatTopper Pride, an breast cancer support community that dedicates itself to LGBTQ individuals that have had to undergo a single or double mastectomy. FlatTopper Pride is “where gender expression and cancer intersect in a meaningful, productive, and supportive space,” according to the site.

The result: a gorgeous series of imagers taken by photographers Nomi Ellenson and Candace Doyal, featuring androgynous model Rain Dove and breast cancer survivors Melanie Testa, Jodie Jaecks, and Emily Jensen, who founded FlatTopper. Underwear ads aren’t usually known for celebrating a range of diverse bodies, so it’s incredibly refreshing to see these photos exploring gender and beauty norms.

“The pixelated digital image of my breastless figure is now available for mass consumption and is in front of you right now,”writes Emily on the FlatTopper Pride site. “This is a body that I refuse to keep hidden. . . I refuse to hide my scars away as though I am ashamed of them or of my body. These scars are a testament to what I have been through, but more importantly, of what I intend to do with those experiences.”

The founders want to widen the way we look at women’s bodies, and our cultural expectations of what they look like. “Prior to my diagnosis, I had never knowingly met a single-breasted or bilaterally flat-chested woman,” writes Melanie on the FlatTopper Pride site. “I imagine there are many women who don breast forms with hesitation, annoyance, or even resentment. Why do we feel that we need to promote the false impression that all women have breasts?”

“I don’t like the idea of manipulating my body through surgery by inserting silicone under muscle,” continues Melanie, “nor would I move muscle or fat from one part of my body to recreate an insensate semblance of a breast.”

“These myriad bodies ARE badges of courage and survivorship,”says Jodie on the FlatTopper site. “They are foremost a testament to the infinite resilience of the human spirit and the variety of the human experience.”

We totally love this campaign and are in awe of these amazing models. If you want to get more involved with FlatTopper Pride, check out their site, and in the meantime, look at these gorgeous and poignant campaign photographs:

[Images via, via, courtesy Nomi Ellenson & Candace Doyal]

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