Wednesday, May 15, 2013

As Long as Angelina Jolie Doesn't Remove Her Lips, I Don't Care.

My blog is slowly but surely becoming the place where I defend celebrities. This was not my intention, but some things are just not okay. I recently went to bat for Kim Kardashian and her pregnant armpits--you can read that HERE. But today I feel the need to defend a chick who gets to bang Brad Pitt on the regular. Yes, it is bizarre.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you've probably heard that Angelina Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy, after finding out that she was a carrier for the BRCA mutation, which exponentially increases a carrier's likelihood of developing breast and/or ovarian cancers.

In layman's terms, she got her lady lumps removed, after finding out that there's a damn good chance they were going to give her cancer.

So why does it matter? Well, it probably shouldn't. But ever since Jolie's Op-Ed piece in the New York Times was published Tuesday, many people have been quick to form opinions about her decision.

"She's being ridiculous", "Have a little faith", "Anything to get some attention", were all comments I've read on varying social media sites. By the way, all of the above-mentioned commenters are women. Let's all mull that over for a moment, shall we.

So once again, why does it matter? A famous woman removed her breasts in hopes that she wouldn't suffer the same fate as her mother, who died at 56, after fighting the disease for a decade. She then wrote about her decision in hopes to use her platform to shed light on the subject. The End.

She did not say that every woman has to run out and get genetic testing or remove her breasts if the results come back positive. Her piece was not a form of legislation that would be written into law forcing universal mastectomies. She wrote her story. A story that many women share.

My best friend was 22 when she was tested for the BRCA mutation. As a girl, she watched her mother battle, and ultimately overcome, breast cancer. Her mom was barely in her 30s. A few years later, she lost her aunt to the same disease. She felt as if she already knew her fate.

My friend carried that fear with her for years, but when she became a mother, she decided to be proactive. She refused to have her daughter watch her fight cancer. If the test came back positive for the faulty gene, she was going to have her breasts removed. No questions.

They are not what make me a woman, she said. I would rather not have breasts, than live every day waiting to get cancer. I want to live.

The test came back negative.

But what if it hadn't, what if she had the same story as Angelina Jolie. Would it be okay for people to tell her she was being ridiculous? Or that she didn't have enough faith?

It wouldn't have been okay to me. Or to her children. Or any of the people who would have held her hand while she fought a disease that didn't know that we needed her to live.

So what makes it alright to criticize what another woman does to her body? What she does with breasts that have betrayed her.

It may not be everyone's decision, but it was Angelina Jolie's. And at one time, it was my friend's.

And I can't say if faced with the same situation, it wouldn't be mine.

That's not a lack of faith. It's faith in your choices.

It's faith that you are still whole, even with missing pieces.

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