Whenever something monumental/important happens, the internet tends to rally together and react appropriately.
Minus the idiots. Minus always the idiots.
Today, the idiots came out in droves when it was revealed (via Angelina) that Angelina Jolie would undergo a double mastectomy to lessen the 87% chance she has of developing breast cancer. So she could live for her kids, and her partner, and her friends, and her family. She willingly signed herself up for a long, arduous, and painful procedure to prevent chemo, radiation, and god only knows what down the road. Pretty brave. Pretty terrifying. So what could someone possibly say about that?
Well someone always has something to say. And in the case of a famous actress and her breasts, more than a few men (see: my last Tumblr re-blog) stepped up to comment on “the great loss” via “poor Brad” jokes, and any number of badly-written puns. Because when a woman takes something away from herself — FROM HERSELF — it becomes automatically about how (sexist) men will suffer.
Sexist men. Not some men, and certainly not all men. Sexist ones. The ones who believe a woman’s body somehow owes them something. The ones who consider breasts their turf. The ones who feel they’ve earned the right to ogle Angelina — or worse, that Brad Pitt slums amongst them, and will somehow see Angelina as less of a woman because … why? She wanted to save her life so she could spend more time with herself and the children? What actual kind of fuckery is this.
Well, we know exactly what it is. And we know that we see it every day whether via catcalls or via tweets or via any number of sexist, misogynist, and downright terrifying comments and actions. Our society is a sad one, but the increasing intolerance towards the “comedy stylings” of wannabe shit-disturbers is at least a sign that the times they are a-changing. (FYI gentlemen, as I tweeted today, if Tucker Max would laugh at something you’ve said, you may want to dismantle your laptop and hurl it into the sea.)
What Angelina Jolie has chosen is just that: a choice. Her choice. We’re lucky she chose to share it with us; to enlighten us on a deadly gene — to give us intimate, graphic, and vulnerable details about a procedure that some people might not even know existed. This isn’t about Angelina Jolie cutting her breasts for the sake of attention or for a role or for anything someone tweeted to earn a fav — this is about health. WOMEN’S health. And even if she were cutting off her arm or her leg or her hair, that is still all fine and good because again (say it with me!) it is her. choice. HERS.
Women’s bodies, women’s choices. The reasons are irrelevant. The backstories are unimportant. The only person who gets to have a say in what a woman has chosen to do is the woman choosing, and the more “jokes” about “Brad’s loss,” the more we’re telling women that what they want is everybody’s business, too. It isn’t. Angelina chose to use her celebrity to educate and enlighten. But even if she walked up to everyone on the street and told them her story in person, that still doesn’t invite a response. Same goes for every other woman out there — but you guys all already know this. I’m saying this mainly for the idiots.
Posted without further comment as Anne has made it clear enough for even the dummies to understand.
I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.
Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.
Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy."
Angelina Jolie is BRCA-1 positive.
I’ve been adjacent to this world for a couple of years now. My father tested positive for the gene mutation, and told my sister and I we needed to be tested. I was negative. But Dana tested positive.
She elected to have the surgeries. They were long and torturous but she’s come through the other side. She now does a lot of work with the advocacy group FORCE. My father also does work with them, fundraising and about genealogical research.
The thing you need to know, that is of the essence, is that last month the Supreme Court head a case about the right of the lab that developed the test for the BRCA-1 mutation to hold a patent on the gene and charge whatever they want. The test can cost anywhere from $300 to $3000.
When Dana first found out, we all did a lot of research and reading. These were the ones I found most helpful:
Important information from Jay, who knows what’s what. Pass it on.