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I’m Not Comfortable Talking About Angelina Jolie’s Breasts

May 24, 2013


Foreign Ministers Gather In London For G8 Meeting

I’m still doing it, obviously, but it makes me uncomfortable. To be specific, the evolution of the coverage of her medical choice is making me uncomfortable.

This is not a critique of the media.

I know a lot of people were “outraged” because the media ran with his story at all,  but come on, she made an announcement to the press. This was never meant to be private.

I’m uncomfortable about several things.

1. There have been a number of media sources who have done their level best to make it clear to the women watching that despite the fact that a famous actress had this medical test and, in response to the test results this surgery, other women should not just run into the doctor’s office demanding that their breasts be cut off.

Gee thanks, ya think? Because I know that I was thinking “if I cut off my chest someone like Brad Pitt will totes love me.” Or, you know, not.

The condescension makes me want to spit.

2. Anyone who has read the article and has basic comprehension skills will glean that she is planning on a hysterectomy as well.

I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.

But no one is mentioning that. The basic story second hand story can be boiled down to “ANGELINA CUT OFF HER BOOBS!”

I don’t know about anyone else but I think the issue is deeper than that. What Ms. Jolie wrote about was her decision to try to stay alive. What most other people seem to be writing about is her chest.

OK, so maybe this is a tiny media critique. Hey guys, it’s not really about the breasts so much as it is the fact that not having this procedure could have left her very, extremely dead.

3. Ms. Jolie’s own privilege.

Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.

The action that is worrying and waiting to die?

For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options.

No honey, lots of us don’t. I couldn’t afford to get a the test you got if my breasts actually told me out loud that they were about to get cancer.

A huge number of people in this country can’t afford it and those people die.

There are tests available right now that can tell people whether or not they are at higher risk for things like breast cancer, among other things and the single greatest obstacle that people face in getting those life saving test is money.

That’s the vital message that so many people are missing.

One Comment leave one →
  1. NightRythm permalink
    May 30, 2013 5:24 PM

    I thought the fact that she pointed out that many women can’t afford the test helped mitigate some of the privilege issue.

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