I am tired of hearing about Angelina Jolie’s boobs.
For those of you who live in caves or have had no access to the most important news story on every possible outlet, Angelina Jolie recently announced that she has undergone a “preventive double mastectomy” because she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene, which shows an increased risk for breast cancer. Reporters are singing praises for her bravery, and Brad Pitt has gone public to say, with moist eyes, how much he still loves her. She says she did it so that she can be there for her kids in the future.
Let me see if I’m understanding this correctly. A famous millionaire was able to pay for a very expensive medical test that most of us can’t afford, and which is not covered by most insurance.
She then chose the double mastectomy, followed by expensive reconstructive surgery that made her famous breasts even more beautiful and famous than they were before.
Her loving man still loves her despite the best, most lovely set of tits that money can buy.
She wants to be there for her children.
Aww, let’s nominate her for sainthood.
Unlike the average woman, who can’t afford to be tested for the BRCA1 gene, she was able to make an admittedly difficult decision. And unlike the average woman, that decision wasn’t made more difficult by the prospect of living the remainder of her life with a disfigured body – because, unlike the average woman, she could afford a terrific plastic surgeon afterward.
She is being lauded for raising awareness of the genetic test for BRCA1. I find that amusing because awareness isn’t the problem. Most women are aware of the test.
I know that I have been aware of the test since I had the first lump removed from my breast ten years ago. My doctor told me about the test, told me how much it would cost, and explained that my insurance would not cover it. Then he reminded me of my high-risk status because of my mothers’s diagnosis at age 38, and sent me on my merry way for my biopsy.
Awareness of the test isn’t the problem. Affordability is the problem. It needs to be made affordable to the average person, and it needs to be covered by medical insurance just like any other preventive testing.
Let’s talk about bravery. Lori, who survived and became an outspoken advocate for her Sisters in Pink. Her best friend Dee, who lost the battle before her thirtieth birthday but never, ever stopped fighting. Kay – my Mom – who fought it twice and only survived long enough to hold one of her seven grandchildren. Kristy. Delores. Sherry. Donna. Aunt Noni. Chris. Even Pam, the first Mrs. Big Guy. The list is too damn long.
Every one of those women loved her children and wanted a future with them just as much as Angelina Jolie wants a future with hers.
Every time I hear someone on TV talk about Angelina Jolie’s bravery and difficult decision, I get angry. I can’t help it. I’m sorry, but she’s no braver than the women who fight breast cancer every day. The only difference between them and her is that she has the money to be proactive.
This whole thing strikes me as being a bit Marie Antoinette-ish. If the poor were starving, Marie Antoinette declared, then “let them eat cake!” And now, if you’re worried about breast cancer, Angelina Jolie crows “let them be tested!”
Angelina Jolie is not a role model in this situation. She’s a woman who was rich enough to find out if she was at risk, and rich enough to do something about it. That’s all.