Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In defense of Angelina...

By now you’ve probably heard about Angelina Jolie’s Op-ed piece in The New York Times.

Long story short: she’s had genetic testing done, discovered she has a BRCA1 mutation, and decided proactive treatment was the way to go. As in: she had a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, the regimen of which was finished at the end of April.

In layman’s terms: she had the girls removed and replaced.


Yes, Angelina Jolie.

Yes, Angelina Jolie, the A-list star who is known for her amazing rack.

I know, right?

And here’s the thing. I’ve already run into some complete assholery on the Internet over this issue. Like, make me want to whip out my favourite machete doubly for zombie apocalypse practice and weeding the human gene pool kind of assholery...

Let’s look at the facts here...

Is she an attention whore? No. She’s a celebrity. It’s her job to be in the spotlight.

Is she doing this because she’s attempting to inspire others?

Um, I’m pretty sure she’s doing this to stay alive (you know, since her genes STATE she’ll probably kick it early if she doesn’t do something proactive) and that anything else gained by the public service announcement is just that—using her platform to perform a public service announcement to bring attention to the options available.

(Yes, options which, if you're in the US cost money, so they're questionable as options if you don't have money. Not the issue being discussed here today.)

Why’s she telling everyone? Well, let’s look at her history... has she used her celebrity to support causes before?

Oh dear lord, I believe she has! I’m pretty sure there’s something about her going to other countries and adopting children who needed parents, and doing five lifetime's worth of charity work! Gah! She’s actually created a public profile apart from her acting career as a (gasp!) humanitarian! The gall of the woman!

My point is: her announcing she’s chosen a radical proactive treatment for a genetic condition in order to bring necessary awareness to the procedure isn’t all that out of character for her as a person in the media. So calm down, folks.

Why’s she telling us now? As in: instead of earlier?

Well, if you lived with the paparazzi at your doorstep, I’d think you’d be pretty private about a lot of personal choices, especially if one of them included choosing to maim yourself in order to be around for your kids in twenty plus years. Considering the paparazzi’s perpetual presence at the Jolie-Pitt household, I’m fairly certain she deserves a lot of credit for not having had this leaked earlier... but maybe I’m wrong.

Also, I’m thinking opting to lop off your boobs is one of those crossroads you get to, a paradigm shift of psychology, where you’re not entirely sure how much of the process you’re willing to share with the entire world until you’ve actually been through a bit of it, and know how you’re reacting to it on a personal level.

I mean, for any woman the choice is staggering. For Angelina Jolie, well, the truth is that despite talent, her very career is based on her looks. I find it encouraging to hear that she chose to follow through with the double mastectomy especially considering much of her career/public persona is based on her looks—which include her rack. That she's voiced her decision is heartening because, well, the world is clearly full of assholes who believe they are entitled to bitch about her boobs, boobs said assholes will never see in person, let alone actually fondle...

She went through with a double mastectomy despite being such a public figure who is idolized for her body, and I would hope that would empower other women to be proactive; to help them disregard body issues and highlight the importance of proactive health choices. That emphasis on life and not appearance (because no matter how you slice it, she's got falsies now, and will be under fire from the "they're not natural!" set), and the fact that Angelina's (once again) using her public platform to educate, gives me much respect for her.

So yeah, I think people need to lay off Angelina and support her decisions—not because she’s brave or admirable or attempting to inspire others—but because they are just that: her own decisions.

She’s not affecting anyone else directly by her choices; only herself and her family.

If you choose to follow the news and keep up with the hoopla and the aftermath of her proactive medical choices, kudos to you.

But really, this is the Internet—we don’t need any more negativity, and trust me, mortality aside, Angelina probably thought long and hard over whether she’d lop off the most visibly female part of herself... and I can almost assure you that the Internet’s reaction did not make it onto her radar of potential cons because ultimately it doesn’t matter.

All that said, I’m proud of her.

And since I'm already standing on my soap box: Angelina Jolie revealing she's had a prophylactic double mastectomy WILL ALWAYS garner more awareness of breast cancer than changing your Facebook status in some super-secret girl code to say where you hang your purse, or what colour bra you're wearing, or any weird sentence garnered from some bandwagon private message that makes your status sound like sexual innuendo. Truth.

Sorry, but it needed to be said.

And this makes it the perfect time to toss out a teaser for what’s to come here at Chez Lannis. Yes, there’s been something in the works for a while now, a post series I’m in the midst of writing to share with the Big Wide Interwebs...


Forevermore I can say I did it before Angelina Jolie made it “cool.”

Yes, I'm biased.

Stick around, because in the next couple weeks we’re going to start talking truth about cancer bombs...