Watch Cancer Patients Get Outlandish Makeovers

Some makeovers can be patronizing. These are anything but.
More

The Mimi Foundation, a Belgian cancer nonprofit, asked 20 cancer patients if the group could give them makeovers. Its makeup artists led them into a studio, asked them to close their eyes, and got to work.

A photographer was there to capture the astonishment, and the portraits were later unveiled at a gathering with the patients and their families.

The idea was to offer a moment of silliness in order to "allow them to forget their disease, if only for a second," according to the campaign.

In recent years there's been a backlash against the infantilizing of people living with breast and other cancers through cheesy gifts. It can be hard to know how to cheer up people with serious illnesses, or whether to even try. In her book Bright Sided, the journalist Barbara Ehrenreich criticized the expectation that cancer patients view their diagnoses as as some sort of extra-challenging gift and indulge in all things pink:

The appropriate attitude is upbeat and even eagerly acquisitive. There is, I found, a significant market for all things breast cancer-related. You can dress in pink-beribboned sweatshirts, denim shirts, pajamas, lingerie, aprons, shoelaces and socks; accessorize with pink rhinestone brooches, scarves, caps, earrings and bracelets; and brighten up your home with breast cancer candles, coffee mugs, wind chimes and night-lights. 

Obviously, some patients do find it helpful to keep their thoughts relentlessly sunny. But others are just ready for a break from their grueling treatments, and this experiment seems like a touching, whimsical way to provide that.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Olga Khazan is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where she covers health.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Breathtaking Tour Above the Moab Desert

Filmmaker Ian Cresswell rigs an HD camera atop a remote-controlled "octocopter" for some spectacular aerial views.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In