As you all have seen by now, Angelina Jolie was a guest writer for the New York Times yesterday, where she revealed that she had a preventative double mastectomy because of a gene that makes her 87% likely to get breast cancer. I won't run down the whole article because if you haven't read it, you can read it here.
I've always been a fan of Angelina and her choices. While not necessarily helpful in any way, I appreciate her and Brad Pitt's decision to not get married until gays have the universal right. She's always been someone who has been incredibly open about her life and her family. This reveal has been met with a lot of discussion, mostly positive responses from mothers and other women. When I read her article and saw what people were saying on Facebook, it warmed my heart. I didn't have to un-friend anyone because of any disgusting remarks. Trust me, it's happened before.
But I recently came across these tweets, and a bunch of other responses from mostly males, and it repulsed me. Utterly disgusting that people would belittle a woman who literally cut off both her breasts for reasons none other than medical and for her family's sake. Utterly disgusting that they would bare her down to just a pair of tits, and now that she didn't have them anymore - she's worthless.
This is why I call myself a feminist. This is why I'm not afraid of the stigma that comes with the term "feminism." I'm more afraid of the fact that this belittling mindset isn't shamed more than that of feminism.
I have my own immune system issues that require medication and treatments that I can barely afford, so I know what it's like to have a rare fucked up thing in my body. My family doesn't have a history of breast cancer, but we do have a history of pancreatic cancer. Trust me, if there was some sort of preventative surgery for that son-of-a-bitch, my mom would have already taken it. I know what it's like to have a family member get diagnosed with a cancer that is literally a death sentence. What would have been my grandmother's 82nd birthday is coming up next month, and she died 11 years ago, of pancreatic cancer. Mother's Day is still a sad day for my mom, even 11 years later. We know how much it sucks.
Angelina has made a difficult, but smart decision to do this so that her kids don't have to go through what she did. She has put her family before her own vanity, and that should be encouraged, not torn down by misogynist dickwads.
Seeing responses from men saying that now that Angelina cut off her boobs, "Brad pitt is gunna be fucking the nanny," it makes me sad for them, and sad for the women in their lives and sad for the people that don't see how terrible that is. It makes me sad that misogyny isn't more recognized outside of the internet realm and more looked down upon in the real world. I just hope that these disgusting reactions to Angelina's brave decision and confession makes it obvious to the rest of the world that sexism and misogyny isn't just something you see in old advertisements from the '50s and on Mad Men.
I've had large breasts ever since I hit puberty. I never needed a training bra. I jumped from no bra to underwire within a year, and at my largest I was a 40DDD. It's big. It's painful. It's expensive. And sometimes it's humiliating. When I was in high school at my largest I thought of getting a breast reduction. When I was buying prom dresses I had to consider if I could wear a legitimate bra with it, and I still think about that now when daydreaming about my wedding in the far off future. I have big boobs. Now I'm between a 36 and 38DD, and I like my boobs. I've grown to accept them, but if I ever needed to make a decision to lose them for my own health, I would do it.
What I'm trying to get at is that I love my body and my large breasts and they're apart of me, but if I didn't have them they wouldn't make me feel any less of a woman. Losing them wouldn't decrease my value as a woman or as a person. And it shouldn't make anyone feel that way, because they made a conscious decision to put their health or family over their vanity. This is the same problem I have with the "Save the Ta-Tas" campaign. While it has good intentions, the message is misguided. It makes the disease about the breasts, not the person that they're attached to.
They're literally just appendages of fat attached to the chest. That's it. The size of your boobs ≠ how much value you have as a woman.