Today I woke up to the news that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy because she had a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. My reaction to the very moving piece she wrote for the NYTimes was: how incredibly brave of her.
In a culture where celebrities are prized for their bodies (if not much else) and women are negotiating feminism with the historically gendered, problematic notions of beauty, body image, and sexual harassment (among others), Jolie’s story stands out as a step in the right direction. Also, as a woman who has grown up hearing about the risk of breast cancer and being afraid of it, Jolie’s choice is extremely inspiring.
And then there was the Internet.
XO Jane’s article "The 10 Most Misogynistic Reactions To Angelina Jolie’s Double Mastectomy Announcement" points to severe problems that are still present and extremely disheartening in our society.
Here are some takeaways from people’s reactions to the news:
1) Women’s bodies (especially their boobs) are more important than their health.
2) Women’s bodies are everybody’s business (especially men’s).
3) Women will always be pitted against each other.
4) Angelina Jolie is considered a slut because she “stole” Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston.
5) People still care about that shit.
6) Sluts deserve to be sick.