These are the facts about her double mastectomy as relayed by Angelina Jolie. Her mother died of ovarian cancer after a decade long struggle; she was in her mid-50’s . With that very bad news in her medical history, Jolie made the wise decision to have genetic testing and learned the odds of her suffering a similar fate are very high. Jolie wrote a moving 0p-ed piece about the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy in the NY Times. “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.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?_r=0
Jolie is a beautiful woman. She is a daughter, mother, partner, actress, and outspoken activist. She is mortal and, therefore, made a decision that she hopes will extend her relative immortality. I know it seems drastic to remove both breasts when you don’t actually have cancer. Look at it this way. If there was an 87% chance that you might be killed if you set one foot outside your home tomorrow, would you leave the house? What if it was your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and your only child’s first day of school and the absolute only day you could pick up your lottery winnings of 1 million dollars–would you take that chance? I don’t think I would, but I really can’t say because I don’t have to make a decision quite that difficult when I get up in the morning.
What I do know is that my physical appearance would not be a factor in my deliberations and shame on all the people who seem more concerned with the change in her breasts than the change in her life. That doesn’t just objectify her, it objectifies all women. You’ve seen her movies. You’ve seen her rainbow tribe of children. And, of course, you’ve seen her red carpet photo shots with partner, Brad Pitt. Today, you see another side of Angelina Jolie. Call it what you want but don’t use the term “sex symbol”. She is way more than that now.
She’s a symbol of strength.