I had to do an assignment for Uni on Friday that was a 10 minute presentation to the class and and essay analysing my personal cultural identity. One of the things I talked about was how my entering the ‘breast cancer culture’ made me question my beliefs about myself as a women and question my beliefs around my own mortality.
Even the lecturer commented on the part about me questioning my identity as a woman. I think it was something that as a man he had never thought about. I think all the other things I talked about he, as a practising and academic social worker, had thought of or was knowledgable about. I just may have taught him something.
I put photos on a powerpoint presentation slide of me as I looked in 2006 with long curly hair and big boobs then a picture of the beginning of last year when I had just finished chemo and had no hair to a picture of how I look today. I also put on a picture I had taken for this blog of me recieving my first chemo and a picture of ‘Pruscilla’ my prosthesis
you can view it here breast cancer slide v2 – (let me know if you can’t see it when you click on it and I will convert it to an image)
This is what I said to the slide: In 2008 I became part of the ‘cancer culture’ the first picture is what I looked like in 2006. In most cultures women identify them selves by such things as having long curly hair and large breasts and that’s how I thought I identified myself as a woman, so to have those things taken away from you is hard to get your head around and you also question your own mortality. As part of our culture it is expected that women will look a certain way and although I walk around my house with only one boob – I put a prosthetic breast in to fit in with society’s expectations.
I was nervous about putting this in my presentation. I only had to present it to 1/3 of the class but they are mostly younger women and men and I was a little worried about how uncomfortable I would make them – but overriding that was a desire to be true to what had made me who I am today.
Culture isnt just the ethnicity etc that you were born into. Its also the cultures and experiences you meet along the way.