Tag Archives: Healthcare for the Rich

Why we should care about Angelina Jolie’s breasts

14 May

Surgical images may be NSFW

Kinda strange that this is the lead story on CNN and a whole slew of other news sites, but Angelina Jolie has undergone a preventative double mastectomy and breast reconstruction to avoid the  potential cancer that might result from carrying the BRCA1 mutant gene.  Her mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56, so it’s a very real threat for Angelina.



She had the procedure carried out privately and discreetly, and there is no reason to believe anyone other than her immediate circle of family and friends knew anything about it.  Angelina herself decided to come forward with the news by penning an Op-Ed for the New York Times.



Why would she do that?  Her breasts have been reconstructed and there is no evidence that anything is amiss with the Jolie’s magnificent physique.


In her own words:

I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. 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.

Unsurprisingly, she is already being subjected to criticism for her decision to make her health status public, and given that this is the first day of the story, she may well be in for more.

I’ve read the comments about Jolie’s decision on a number of different sites, and the criticism now falls under three broad categories:


1.  She’s famewhoring.  Just trying to be the center of attention, as always


28 minutes ago

It’s entirely possible that she’s lying. How is anyone to know? Free publicity for a publicity junkie.





71 Fans

2 hours ago (13:55)

Yawn! Women have been doing it for years and also talking about it. Another cheap publicity stunt for mass compassion by your average idiot!


2.  She wasn’t even diagnosed with cancer!  What the fuck is she doing?

NO, NO NO NO NO!… Another woman de feminised by the medical profession for something that she MIGHT get, and just where did they get the 87% probability of her getting breast cancer is false. The medical profession know that 95% of all cancers are caused by the environment and less than 3% by genes I can’t believe that she let them talk her into that!. There are better and far healthier ways of preventing breast cancer and even treating it if she was to get it. which ok is high due to the environment and weakened immune system NOT because of the gene! Why do we not hear about men having their testes removed due to their faulty genes? No, You don’t as it is meant to be another abuse that woman have to deal with. Some so called expert on cancer, with survival rates barely changing in years no matter what chemo drugs they have developed! Just an excuse to butcher woman. OH and before you red arrow me as I know most of you will as you refuse to look outside the box. I am a cancer fighter!

– Debbie, Woking, 14/5/2013 4:25



4 hours ago


Are you kidding me?

She has just proven to be the dumbest woman in the world. Where is CPS?

What if she discovers that her boys are predisposed to a cancer gene and has their nuts removed before they might get testicular cancer?


3.  She’s rich and can afford the best medical care in the world and she should be using her experience to press for publicly funded health care for everyone


i am glad for her that this traumatic surgery worked out. but, for her to say that she hopes other women will feel empowered to make the same choice just highlights her privilege. most american women cannot afford this healthcare choice, much less afford the genetic screening. rich rich privilege. but still, im happy she had this choice. i wish we all did


The sad thing is that the majority of women in the US probably can’t afford to have this done because of the dysfunctional healthcare system. Even those lucky enough to have health insurance still have to pay deductibles/copays every time they see a doctor or get a test. I have two friends who have family histories of breast cancer. Both have great jobs and even they can barely afford to go to the doctor to get weird lumps and other issues checked out. I had burst ovarian cysts for over 10 years starting when I was a student, and couldn’t afford to have them removed. I didn’t even know they were ovarian cysts; I thought I may have had appendicitis or cancer or something. In emergency situations, hospitals have to provide treatment, but then people end up paying off the bills that can be higher than the average mortgage or going bankrupt. Be grateful for your NHS.

– Annette, NYC, 14/5/2013 3:43


Okay, admittedly, I’m cherry-picking comments here, but these three criticisms come up over and over again, and I’ll bet my ass within the next week, we see full columns on each of them from one news source or another.

I want to address them one at a time, because I think Angelina actually has something very interesting to say.

1.  She’s famewhoring.  Just trying to be the center of attention, as always

To this one, all I have to say is fuck off.  She doesn’t need to try to be the center of attention.  She already is.  And she is one of the rare celebrities who uses her fame to draw attention to issues she cares about.  Whether I agree with her politics or not, she spends an awful lot of time letting the media photograph her beautiful face in service to humanitarian goals.


2.  She wasn’t even diagnosed with cancer!  What the fuck is she doing?

There seems to be a great deal of debate around whether the procedure she chose to undergo really will affect the likelihood of her developing cancer, and honestly, I don’t really care about that debate. Some people drink liquid garlic to ward off cancer (my father, actually), and some people have double mastectomies.


I find the comments about how this is just an excuse to mutilate women pretty interesting.  Really?  The idea is that mostly male doctors scare the shit out of women just so they can have the pleasures of cutting off their breasts.  Yikes!  That is a pretty fucked up view of both men and medicine, but it’s not an uncommon one.

‘How did he maim me, mutilate me?’

A feminist since she was ‘absolutely tiny’, the veteran Woman’s Hour host Jenni Murray has never shied away from awkward questions. Now, three years after her mastectomy, she has one for her surgeon.

Demonstrating an absolutely stunning lack of awareness of surgical techniques, Jenni writes:

– she watches another woman, Sue, being given a mastectomy by the same surgeon who did hers, and is struck that absolutely everything other than the breast is covered, even the face –

Jesus Lord woman.  That is how you keep the patient dying from an infection!  It’s called keeping the environment STERILE.



Jenni goes to construct an argument about how the surgeon must “depersonalize” her in order to, you know, save her life.  The fact that he thinks she has a life worth saving strongly implies he considers her a person, but oh well.  That doesn’t jibe with the narrative.

It’s pretty sad when self-described lifelong feminists can take full advantage of male surgeons (and yes, most of them are men #sorryfeminists), and at the same time accuse them of mutilation.

Gratitude.  Not really a strong suit for feminists.


(p.25 – 70% of surgeons in the US are men)

3.  She’s rich and can afford the best medical care in the world and she should be using her experience to press for publicly funded health care for everyone

Now this is where I find Jolie most interesting.  In her OpEd she writes that she wants women to be aware of the fact that genetic tests exist and her prescription for women is simple:

Take action

She plants the responsibility for women’s health directly in women’s hands.  Whatever alternatives and opportunities you have in front of you, regardless of what they are, how deficient, how inadequate, how less-than-ideal, your health, and your life is YOUR responsibility.

In a liberal culture that waits around for someone else to fix every problem that crops up, this is a refreshing assertion.


Your health is YOUR responsibility.  Take care of your body.  Life can hand you a stack of riches, as it did Angelina, but it can also hand you a bag of shit, like a mutant gene.  It doesn’t matter.  Your life is still YOUR life.

On the one hand, I’m glad she took this opportunity to remind women that they are ultimately responsible for their own lives.

On the other hand, I’m sorry she limited her advice to only women.

Men get breast cancer, too.


A double mastectomy sucks, no matter what gender you are.


As with many ugly things in life, the results can still turn out beautiful.  It all depends on what you do with them.


Lots of love,


%d bloggers like this: