From nipple tassel twirling to mammograms, Anna Ginsburg depicts women’s journeys with their breasts
In a relatable and important animation for Breast Cancer Now, the filmmaker depicts boobs of all shapes, sizes, and appearances, and the spectrum of emotions and experiences they invoke.
- 10 November 2020
- Jenny Brewer
Despite the potentially life saving impact, almost half of women don’t check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer. Charity Breast Cancer Now puts this partly down to awkwardness and embarrassment, so has worked with agency Weber Shandwick and Strange Beast director Anna Ginsburg to encourage and normalise open conversations about our breasts with friends, family and GPs. The resulting work is a one-minute animated film titled A Love/Hate Relationship, which aims to visualise the nuances and complexities of women’s relationship with their breasts, and the rollercoaster of emotions and experiences they cause throughout a lifetime.
It was vital the film was inclusive, so Ginsburg set out to depict a “multitude of different types of breasts, using a vibrant colour palette to communicate diversity of skin tone,” she tells It’s Nice That. The film was hand-drawn in Photoshop using flat colour and a range of brushes to add digital texture, such as splatter, ink, a noise brush to create veins and a pencil brush for details and “most importantly nipple hair!” then animated frame by frame, by the director and her team. Overall, Ginsburg says she wanted a rich, bold aesthetic so the film would be memorable, as it’s such an important message. “There are very joyful, uncomfortable, sad and awkward moments in this film. I tried to heighten the emotional impact through use of colour, texture and character design.”
The director’s morphing animation style allowed her to cover a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours in a short space of time. “I love transitions. My work is extremely transition heavy, for me they never get old. I find them endlessly magic and mesmerising.” The film also uses sweeping camera movements to make it “feel like one story” despite it being a montage of many scenes “morphing in and out of each other – from the breasts growing to changing size, shape and colour, to plucking a nipple hair which leads to many more sprouting in its place, to a mammogram, to a double mastectomy, to a nipple tassel sequence, to an awkward sex scene, to a majestic fertility scene, to saggy breasts becoming a scarf!”
The nipple tassel sequence is Ginsburg’s favourite. “The characters change while the rotation of the nipples smoothly animates across the different breasts. It is a joyful, sexual sequence and I'm proud of the character designs, poses and the way nipples move.”
Through this vibrant and relatable film, the director hopes to connect with viewers and help women to open up. “Most women struggle with self-love and this film conveys that honestly. I hope it makes women feel less alone in this struggle and inspires them to celebrate whatever breasts they have even for a moment. I hope most of all that the accessibility of the message inspires women to check their breasts however they feel about them.”
The film launched yesterday as part of Breast Cancer Now’s Check Them campaign.
GalleryAnna Ginsburg, Strange Beast and Weber Shandwick: A Love/Hate Relationship (© Breast Cancer Now, 2020)
Anna Ginsburg, Strange Beast and Weber Shandwick: A Love/Hate Relationship (© Breast Cancer Now, 2020)
About the Author
After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.
Jenny is currently on maternity leave.