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Editor-in-chief Holly Meadows on Breast Cancer Awareness and the struggles of self-love

‘Self-love is no easy feat.’

Earlier this year, COSMO surveyed more than 1 800 South African women for our first-ever national boob survey.

We asked a series of breast-related questions (more than 30) and we found that 60% of you wished your boobs looked different.

A staggering 74% of you are either unhappy or only kinda happy with your bodies. And, more than half of you said you would consider getting a boob job if given the chance.

I’ve said it before – self-love is no easy feat, and our survey is a testament to this. The world needs more Lizzos – who, as I write this, has just finished performing at the MTV VMAs, dancing in front of a giant inflatable booty balloon and surrounded by a bevy of beautiful, bouncy women. It is the most powerful performance I have seen all year, interrupted, mid-jiggle, by a stirring speech on body positivity.

‘I’m tired of the bullsh*t…It’s so hard to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back. So I just want to take this opportunity to fel good as hell because you deserve to feel good as hell!’ she said.

Lizzo and many other women across the world are tired of not being represented. And so, in response to our boob survey, and to celebrate all women’s bodies, we collaborated with 14 South African women to create a series of totally unedited images.

We asked each woman to write a letter to her boobs entitled #DearBoobs. And, because it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we asked three very brave survivors to share their stories so that we could help educate you around the reality of breast cancer among Millennial women, and how to be responsible and check your boobs for lumps. According to our survey, a third of you don’t do self-examinations, yet one in four women has a family member who has had (or has) breast cancer.

For this issue, we partnered with Strawberry Lips, who will donate a percentage of their bottle sales during October to PinkDrive, an NGO founded on the premise that early detection will help prolong life. COSMO, too, will donate R1 from every September issue sold to PinkeDrive. We’re hosting a COSMO Self-Love Sunday brunch too, where we’ll exhibit our #DearBoobs portraits, run a gratitude journalling workshop with a self-love plan, and much more.

But before you do, let me ask you to consider this: if you were diagnosed with breast cancer, how would you feel? It’s a terrifying thought but it’s something Elzet, Piliswa and Donna had to deal with the day they got told they had breast cancer. It puts things into start perspective, and it reminds us that being positive about the fact that you have a working human body – one that allows you to breathe, move, laugh, live – is a privilege.

It makes me feel rather silly for all those times I hated on my body, and grateful for the fact that right now I have a pair of perfectly healthy tits (stretchy marks and all). So let’s say yes to all boobs – saggy boobs, pancake boobs, lopsided boobs and melon boobs. I think we could all do with a few more words from the likes of Lizzo, and so I’ll leave you with this: ‘Uh, put me on a pedestal, bet I will bet on me.’

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