MAY. 16, 2013
By BRIANNA WIEST
I’m really happy that Angelina Jolie was able to have a potentially life-saving double mastectomy, something that not only prolonged her own life but eased the burden of possibly leaving her family with a sick or deceased mother. I admire her actions because I know that having breasts is an integral part of femininity and gender performance is crucial in Hollywood… I imagine it’s very difficult to not be quintessentially perfect as a celebrity. Breasts or not (and she does have implants, by the way) she’s absolutely gorgeous, whether or not you agree with her questionable public actions in the past.
To opt for a double mastectomy is a risk in itself, as is all surgery, and for this, she is indeed brave. But she took this chance because she was able to and she didn’t want to suffer the same fate her mother did. The fact that she was able to be screened for the gene, then to have preventative surgery as well as reconstructive surgery afterwards is a privilege that many women don’t have.
I’m still watching Twitter and other social media blow up with how “brave” and “strong” Angelina is for what she did and how we should all glorify and admire her for essentially getting preventative surgery that most people wouldn’t have the resources to know they needed. This doesn’t make Angelina any less brave or strong, but we just can’t forget about the reality of her situation for normal women.
I’m always glad to see women taking control of their own bodies, and I’m happy for Angelina. But I imagine many women would have preventative surgery if they had the resources to A) know that they were at such a risk B) have the insurance and/or financial stability to be able to take off work and have the procedure and then C) to not have to live with the consequences of the decision to remove their breasts, but to have them reconstructed by a top-tier surgeon.
I will personally celebrate the day that every woman is able to have preventative surgery if she chooses to. I admire Angelina for the risks she has taken and for being public about such a personal issue. I only say the things I do because I hope that people will consider that many women would be brave like that if only they had the privilege.