Why Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy means so much…

…To me, and to women in general. Tell me one of you out there who’s remained unaffected by the news, not imagined at least once what it would be like to be in her shoes, to take a conscious call to get your breasts removed? It would still make news if it were any other body part, if it were Angelina Jolie, but would it affect the women so much if it were not her breasts? I’m not so sure.

Considering how common breast cancer has become in the recent years, we all probably have a family member and friend’s mother or friend who’s dealt with it at some point in their lives, and come out of it, without a boob. My mother-in-law fears the C word, because her mum died of breast cancer when MIL was still a young girl. I have a relative, who fought and survived breast cancer, she has a severely swollen arm as testimony to that, a result of the chemotherapy she underwent years ago, I am told. When I was much younger, we’d heard in hushed tones about how this Aunty didn’t have a breast, she’d lost it to breast cancer, and that she wore some sort of a special bra with a faux boob. And I remember at that time thinking how terrible that must be, to not have a part of your body. I know better now, I understand that a life is far more precious than a breast, any body part you could lose.

But I’m still trying to process how much courage it must take to voluntarily get your breasts removed, (honestly, I had never heard of preventive mastectomy before this) not because they are killing you, but because there’s a chance they could kill you. Even if you can get them replaced by two silicone substitutes. I don’t think it’s about money, it’s not that she can afford to get a double mastectomy and then silicone implants, as some people would make this out to be. Agreed, everyone’s not as rich as Jolie, but a lot of people are still rich enough to get those procedures done. Would you still opt for it? Or take the risk of letting a faulty gene in your system play out its own story, which may or may not cause cancer, as was the case with the Hollywood actress?

How much braver then for a woman to come out  in the open, and say, yes, they’re not real anymore. And think about it, does it affect the way you view Angelina Jolie if she’s got two fake breasts? Is she any less sexier to you now than she was before? Not to me at least. Why then should a woman’s sexuality be defined by the size and shape of her breasts.  We have to disassociate from this construction to be able to view our bodies for what they are, not for what they are perceived to be. No, our breasts were not meant to titillate, to be stared at, to be objectified for pleasure. Like any other body part, women have breasts for a purpose — to nurse babies.  Will Angelina’s double mastectomy help us all to put things in perspective?

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