As many have heard, Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy and will also go through surgery to remove her ovaries as a preventative measure. She did so because she learned that she inherited a genetic mutation that could lead to breast cancer. Jolie explains in her op-ed that her doctor estimated that she had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer.
There has been praise for Jolie’s bravery for both going through with the procedure and also for showing awareness to this issue. Yet, when I look around Facebook, Twitter, and even some other articles about it, people are criticizing her choice.
People are criticizing Angelina Jolie for going through this procedure because to them, she is attention seeking. In my opinion, Jolie is attempting to raise awareness to the public and the 1 in 500 people in the United States that carry a genetic mutation that gives them a 60% risk of breast cancer. Also, Jolie used the op-ed as a way of identify with the 100,000 women in the United States who undergo a mastectomy every year. This is far from a cry for attention.
The other criticisms that I’ve seen include that what she did was dehumanizing, stupid, selfish, and pointless. As I mentioned earlier, she has an 87% risk of developing breast cancer, but through this procedure her risk will go down to 5%. Also, Angelina Jolie explains that she watched her mother die from breast cancer. My mother had a stroke almost two years ago and ever since then I make sure I’m doing steps necessary to prevent it happening to myself. Why? Because I’ve seen what a stroke does to someone, especially someone that close to me. Angelina Jolie has seen her mother battle this cancer and doesn’t want the same for herself. Jolie explains that she wants to be a mother for her children and doesn’t want that cut short. How is any of that dehumanizing, stupid, and pointless?
Finally, one of the shallowest critiques I’ve heard is about how she’s mutilating her body. I’ve also seen many comments that reduce Angelina Jolie as a sexual object only defined by her body parts. Comments such as “RIP Angelina’s boobs,” “such a shame,” “waaahhhaaahhh!! MY FANTASY BREASTS-GONE!!!!,” and many other tweets remind me that people minimize her body as public domain. Well, excuse her for believing that her life was more valuable than her breasts.
What Angelina Jolie did was brave and courageous. Not only is she bringing awareness to a problem, she is making a decision that will affect her life and that of her family’s. The criticism comes with her being a star, but I think some people need to step back and realize what she is doing and why she is doing it.