Shame. On. YOU.
Ever since the news broke yesterday that Angelina Jolie had undergone an elective double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery the internet has been flipping out. I made the mistake of going to the New York Times page on Facebook and was appalled at what I saw in the comments section beneath the article that Angelina Jolie penned. Whereas I expected to see women united in support for what I assumed could only be perceived as a brave decision, I instead found a vicious outlet for women to attack another woman. For having her breasts removed. So she would not die of cancer. Someone please explain this logic to me.
The cattiness between women is as old as time. That does not make it any less disgusting, nor does it excuse such vile behavior towards another human being. Why do women hate other women so much? One of the first things I noticed while perusing the comments was a woman who described Angelina’s decision as “fear based” and shameful. This came from a woman!! A WOMAN! What woman in her right mind would ever tell another woman that the decision to chop off her breasts was fear based and that basically she is an idiot for doing so. This woman went on to say that there are other methods besides this “slash and burn” solution that could have been employed. Oh really? Do tell. But first, let me ask you this: have you ever had cancer? Have you ever pulled your hair out of your scalp with your bare hands? Have you ever felt as if someone was scraping a knife against your bones as the chemo you are taking breaks down your bone marrow to a point where you can hardly walk let alone see straight? Just checking. Now, what were you saying? Something about fear? You’re damn right there’s fear involved. Fear of dying is a good place to start. Sure, a person who has a BRCA mutation could play the odds, but if you’ve ever had cancer once you surely do not want to have it again. If you’ve NEVER had cancer before and are told there is an 87% chance that you will get it…. well, I would not condemn anyone (let alone a mother of six) for making what is ONLY a BRAVE decision to move on with her life.
Tracey Greener Rice chimed in by saying that “if she follows up by having her ovaries and uterus removed she will have essentially gutted herself as a sexual being”. Wow, Tracey. Wow. That’s pretty spectacular. You basically represent everything that is wrong and bad about how society views women. Congratulations. Your small mindedness sets you leaps and bounds above the rest of us ding dongs who were foolish enough to assume that there was more to us that was innately feminine than a pair of boobs and ovaries. Thank you for reaffirming my fear that people actually think like this. And a woman no less. Wow. I just… nope, I can’t even finish my sentence.
Michelle Chapin Finn, a nurse and cancer survivor (insert my shock here) said that the decision was “drastic” and that cancer “can be caught early and cured”. Really?! There’s a cure for cancer?! Why that’s great news! Thank you well informed nurse. Boy I really wish I had someone like you on my medical team. Someone who calls this a “useless and needless” surgery. You’re a nurse? Really? And a cancer survivor? I’m having trouble putting these two things together in my head because you really just sound like an uninformed, negative, skeptic who clearly is out of her depth of knowledge on this particular subject. And by the way… it can be “caught early”? You do realize that you are implying that then the person would have cancer and that it’s apparently no big deal. We caught my cancer early and let me tell you something: it was a big deal. It sucked. I would never want to go through that again. And knowing I have an 80% likelihood of doing so is not comforting at all. Neither are you.
Sue Kalla remarked (in her infinite wisdom) that “if you have a genetic predisposition to cancer it will just manifest in another place. If you want to prevent cancer consider what you are eating and drinking and make some serious lifestyle changes”. Oh wow. That’s such great advice. Thank you, Sue. Hmm… if only someone had told me that when I had the gene already inside of me and was eating only organic food, cooking my own meals, not drinking, not smoking, doing yoga seven days a week, meditating, and generally living one of the cleanest lives that I was aware of. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten cancer to begin with. I should probably make some more changes like… what? Listening to you? Nah. Pass.
And Susie Walkup-Herman wanted to know “are you going to pay for everyone’s elective mastectomy”? Excuse me? How does that even make sense? Why should she have to pay for everyone else’s anything? Do you apply this kind of negativity to every area of your life? Because if you do I feel sorry for you.
I feel sorry for ALL of these women who have taken what was a courageous decision on the part of Angelina Jolie to come forward and share something incredibly personal and turned it into an opportunity to spread hatred and contempt. I feel sorry for them because they have something worse than cancer. They have hatred in their hearts. And while Angelina Jolie may have removed things from her that make her “less of a woman” to these horrible women, at least her dignity and compassion remain intact. I cannot say the same for these sorry excuses for human beings, let alone women. Shame on you. Shame on you all. Unfortunately there’s no genetic test to see if you are predisposed to being an asshole either. Nor is there a cure for hatred. It’s women like this, women who hate other women, who are truly the ones to pity. They set us back decades in their petty judgements and catty remarks. Shame on you. I could have no boobs, no ovaries, and be bald and I would STILL be more of a woman than you are. Beyond that, I would still be a better human being. I would say grow up but you are all grown women. Therefore I can only shake my head in disbelief and hope that the real women in this world outnumber you, and that you yourself are treated with compassion should the tables ever be turned. Everyone deserves that. Even you.