Pioneers in Flat Advocacy
A blog series designed to highlight and amplify the voices of the flat advocates who blazed the trail and laid the foundation for those that followed.
Ms. Rosewater (Regina Matthews) is a musician, visual artist, dancer and model with a powerful presence and voice. She had a double mastectomy in 2019 and chose to go flat to protect her health and well-being. She started sharing her experience on social media as affirmation and to take ownership of the struggle. Ms. Rosewater has modeled for Ana Ono + #Cancerland‘s 2020 NYFW show benefiting Metavivor. She holds an annual not-for-profit event with live music, art, food, yoga and more in Los Angeles, California – the “Fuck Cancer Kickback + Jam.” You can find Ms. Rosewater’s work on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and online at ThisIsMsRosewater.com.
When you were making your reconstructive choice, how did you end up choosing flat?
“I ended up with flat closure as an option because I did not like the idea of reconstructive surgery. My reconstructive surgery would have included lifting my chest wall and I did not want to endure such pain. Also I had a fear of the possibility of developing breast implant infections, sickness or failure from my body rejecting them. In addition, after finding out that implants last approximately 10 years before having to be revisited… I did not want to deal with any future surgeries 10 years later.”
How has your surgical result affected your healing process moving forward?
“I feel I had a wonderful surgeon who understood flat closure. My scars are symmetrical and my chest is flat. Radiation therapy has caused some slight issues across one scar. Otherwise, I feel grateful to not need any revision surgeries and it has made my healing process a little easier, mentally.”
How did you decide that you wanted to be an advocate?
“Honestly, I feel the advocacy found me. I began posting my mental health and breast cancer journeys on social media as a way for me to be able to face my battles head on; sort of like proof that this is real life, to myself. Many people began following my journey and I appreciate it.”
What is your proudest accomplishment as an advocate?
“I tend to remain humble with things. I’m just very grateful to be able to reach out and help when and wherever I can.”
What has been your biggest challenge as an advocate?
“Hmmm… I think a big personal challenge with all of this is accepting when people call me a badass lol. Because I’m not in anyway trying to be a badass, I’m just sharing things that are meaningful to me in the best way that I know how.”
What have you learned as an advocate that you would like other advocates to know?
“I would advise other advocates to make sure they are being themselves. Share because it’s pertinent and not for clout.”
What is your vision for flat advocacy generally? What do you want the future to look like for women going flat?
“My vision is to see more normalization of flat closure; in the media and even in the streets. I’m so tired of being stared down in confusion. I would also like to see more celebratory events alongside the research based events. As much as we are longing for a cure we need to remember that we have made it this far… and that’s worth celebrating.”
A pioneer may start as a lone voice in the wilderness, but their passion for and commitment to their cause inspires others to join them. This has led to exponential growth in the field of flat advocacy over the last decade or so. In 2020, we have flat photography projects, full length memoirs, nonprofit organizations, communities on social media, and even gatherings across the world… all made possible by the work of the advocates who blazed the trail.
If you know of a pioneer in flat advocacy that you’d like to see featured, please let us know!
Disclaimer: Any and all information published by Not Putting on a Shirt (NPOAS) on behalf of a third party is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for medical or legal advice from a licensed professional. Views expressed and claims made by third parties do not necessarily represent the views of NPOAS.