I hope AJ has unpluggedPosted: May 17, 2013 Filed under: breast cancer | Tags: Angelina Jolie, bilateral mastectomy, BRCA, breast cancer in young women, cancer in young women, criticism for mastectomy, genetic risk and breast cancer, negative comments to cancer patients, New York Times op-ed piece, prophylactic mastectomy 16 Comments
The backlash surrounding Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she has a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy is a lot of things: stunning (not in the good way), discouraging, upsetting, disgusting, rage-inducing, sad…the list is long.
I keep telling myself to just stop reading the negative headlines and judgmental comments, but I can’t. I’m drawn to them like a thirsty girl to a sparkling glass of bubbly.
The comments range from stupid to mean to crazy. This crackpot goes way out on a limb with a conspiracy theory (thanks to my friend Katie for alerting all of us to this blood-pressure raiser). A couple of gems from Mike Adams, who calls himself the Health Ranger, but whom I’m calling Senor Crazy-Pants:
“The cancer industry wants to funnel women like cattle into their slash-poison-burn system of quack treatments. And Angelina Jolie is their new cheerleader. Scarred and no doubt experiencing the chest and armpit numbness that almost always accompanies mastectomy surgery, she now seeks to ‘inspire’ other women to exercise their own sick ‘choice’ and have their breasts removed, too!
“It is the sickest invocation of women’s power that I’ve ever witnessed. This is not empowering women, it’s marching them into self-mutilation. And the ‘risk’ is a complete fraud. In truth, Angelina Jolie had a higher risk of dying on the operating table than dying from breast cancer if she simply followed an anti-cancer lifestyle.”
According to Senor Crazy-Pants, we could avoid cancer with a healthy diet and lifestyle. So it’s my fault that I got cancer, even though I don’t eat meat, choose organic, strive for a plant-based diet, and avoid processed foods and environmental chemicals.
“This is no less than a media stunt to gain more market share to stay up high on the A list.” Right. As if her every move isn’t chronicled by papparazzi. Going to the grocery store is People-worthy news for her.
“RIP Angie’s boobs. You had options, dummy!” And what options would those be? Living in fear? Wondering if this year’s well-woman exam would turn up a lump? Hide under the bed and hope it all blows over? Who’s the dummy here?
“Angie cuts off her boobs, Brad’s gonna be f****** the nanny!” Yes, because nice boobs are the only reason a man would want to be intimate with a woman.
“What a waste of a bangin’ set of boobies.” The waste here is that this commenter is alive and breathing air while Angelina’s mother is dead from ovarian cancer.
“Angelina Jolie’s boobs have been removed…I’ll never smile again.” I’ll give this tweeter partial credit for being creative, but that’s it.
“Because you can never be too careful these days, with the cancer industry scaring women half to death at every opportunity. ‘My breasts might murder me!’ seems to be the slogan of many women these days, all of whom are victims of outrageous cancer industry propaganda and fear mongering.” Damn that cancer industry and its propaganda and fear mongering!
“Being an empowered woman doesn’t mean cutting off your breasts and aborting live babies — even though both of these things are often celebrated by delusional women’s groups. Being an empowered woman means protecting your health, your body and your womanhood by honoring and respecting your body, not maiming it.” Damn those delusional women’s groups. And I guess I missed the news story that Jolie had a late-term abortion as well as a mastectomy. Were they at the same time?? Did the “highly unprofessional” surgeon referred to in a previous comment perform the abortion, too?? Is that covered by insurance??
One of my fellow bloggers had a much more useful comment. When I read it, I copied it and pasted it, but forgot to attribute it, and now I can’t remember who wrote it. Apologies, ladies. If this is yours, please tell me so in the comments section so I can thank you properly. “There are no ‘good’ choices in such cases: only bad and worse ones. Making them in Jolie’s situation, when your own mom has died of cancer, is even harder.”
Truer words are seldom spoken (or typed). While I’m a proponent of freedom of speech in general, I wish there were a rule that prevented idiots and mean-spirited fools from spouting off on something with as much gravitas as Jolie’s decision. I wish there were a policy stating “If you haven’t had cancer, your voice will not be heard.” I wish there were an amendment upholding the right of those of us who’ve lost a beloved member of our tribe to speak about the pain and grief and unfillable hole left by that person’s death. I wish there were a mute button to be used when people spew garbage about a situation in which they know nothing.
I really wish that everyone who takes the time to render their judgement and register their opinion on a total stranger’s wrenching choice would read Jackie’s post on this heated topic:
“I have a message for people of the judgmental persuasion. Until you know what it’s like to hear the words ‘You have cancer,’ or to lose your mother or sister or daughter to it, you don’t get a vote. (Even then, you don’t get a vote; but you’re far less likely to want one.) Check the beam in your own eye, if you tend toward the Biblical. If you don’t, let me put it in language you’ll understand. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”
thank you, google images, for providing such lovely graphics.
sorry about the formatting; not sure what’s up with that.
Glad I haven’t seen all these comments in the media– it would have made a downer day at the reconstruction surgeon’s office and labs even more of a downer. But hey, I’m just going in for my 6th (7th?) surgery– and all so I can have shiny new boobs, right? I’d roll on the floor laughing but now I can’t push myself up off the floor anymore thanks to the internal stitching that holds my prosthetics in place.
I’ll come get ya off the floor, Marcie!
It’s useless to even acknowledge those RIP boobs type of comments. Not even a part of an intelligent conversation about the bigger issues surrounding preventative mastectomy and gene research. As for the people who fuss about the fear mongering of the cancer industry, well, even some critics of pink have raised points about that–I very much am in favor of healthy fear (wrote a post about it, called fear, how clever, NOT). I don’t wish cancer on anyone, but I wish for a machine or super power that would transfer or imitate the feelings of fear & rage I’ve experience since 2010 to those who have not faced cancer. Maybe if they could feel that, they would shut up.
I wish for that kind of machine, too. A super power would be nice as well. Meantime, we have our blogs as platforms I suppose.
Why do small-minded people have such big mouths?
Good question, David. Lemme know when you find out!
I have a feeling she is unplugged from this madness. How else can anyone of that celebrity stay sane, unless they unplug? I hope she’s hanging out with her family, feeling good for her decision, and ignoring the deluge of ignorance that’s swirling about on the web. ~Catherine
It was a swirling deluge, Catherine.
Quite the rant my dear. Nicely done, you are doing the right thing, speaking out.
you got me at “senor crazy-pants! honestly, i am laughing so hard, i just cannot focus on the rest of what i know is a materpiece of a post. will come back later, but will probably have to hold up something on the screen to block out the SCP thing – now i gotta pee!
Thank you for calling these idiots out for what they are–foolish, hateful fools. I have not been keeping up with the news this week, so did not realize these cretins were being given air time. I love all your graphics. Wish we had the power to just tape these jerks’ mouths shut. Does anyone remember an episode from the old Twilight Zone where a little boy could do things and was holding his family hostage to his will? At one point he took someone’s mouth away because they said something he did not like. That is what I want to do!
Oh Patty, if we could take away the mouth if every stupid, thoughtless person…what a wonderful thought!
*standing up applauding* absolute slam dunk girl.
Thanks! That means a lot coming from you.
I agree 100% – backlash is ugly! I took the kids to see “Epic” at the movies this weekend and there is a slug played by Asiz Ansari (Parks & Rec, stand up comic). He cracked us up with this line “”There’s a big bag of shut your flat face over there, why don’t you go open it” =)