You might think of selfies as often being selfish. Just pictures people take of themselves doing fun things and going cool places. And often, that’s just what they are.
With social media these days, people want to look like they’re leading an awesome life. So they take pictures of their best meals and they’re new purses and shoes and they try to make everyone believe that their life is fabulous and amazing and happy.
So when someone instead uses a selfie to be completely honest and raw and to tell the world something important – it’s hard not to listen.
Why You Need to Hear This Woman’s Story
When Tawny Willougby was a teen, she used a personal tanning bed four to five times a week. In her 20s, she’s had skin cancer seven times.
Her story went viral when she posted a selfie of her skin when she was undergoing treatment for basal cell carcinoma. The photo has since been shared countless times and is difficult to look at.
Her skin once smooth and flawless, appears covered in scabs and sores. It’s a heartbreaking image, but one that she hopes will change the way people think about tanning and sunscreen.
She writes, “If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go!”
The History of Her Skin Cancer
When she was just 21 years old she was first diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma.
Then she was diagnosed with it again and again and again, five more times in total. Plus one further diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, another common form of the disease. So far she’s been lucky to avoid the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.
Still, she now has to see a dermatologist regularly to make sure there are no new signs of cancer. Sadly, so far those visits have not went well.
Don’t We Already Know Tanning Beds Are Bad?
Tawny’s story doesn’t really reveal any new information about the dangers of tanning. Many people are already aware that they can greatly increase your risk of developing cancer, and that regularly wearing sunscreen is a good idea. And even further, that the sunscreen you wear should be zinc-based, if not homemade.
But what her story does do, is show us how far we have to go, on this issue and issues like it.
The fact is, many tanning bed places are still running a business. Society still puts unrealistic pressure on men and women to look a certain way. And people will still jeopardize their health to do so.
Because of that pressure, Tawny fears not being able to see her 2-year-old son grow up. She urges people to “learn from other people’s mistakes,” and to not “let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up.”
Unfortunately, selfies play a big role in putting that pressure on people. We see images of men and women with perfectly tanned bodies everywhere.
To finally see that perfect tan side by side with what can happen – well that’s an image she hopes “will save lives.”
Image Source: https://tribktla.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/s047554693.jpg?w=770