Wow. Now this is some interesting news this morning. Angelina Jolie had her money makers removed to try and prevent the cancer that killed her mother (Read the article). All I can say really is that as much as I am not really a fan of hers, what a brave and scary move to make. I am also glad that she came forward and told us all about it. I would hate to be a celebrity where every move I make in life is some sort of statement and I know she spends a lot of time out of the public eye just to maintain what little privacy she can muster. To be as private as she is, and let the world know that she had both her breasts removed – well, I am forced to actually support her. I mean her boobs are part of why she is who she is today. Before anyone knew her name, they knew her boobs. They were some great boobs and served her well – but when they threatened her life and family, well she made a tough choice and I think she made the right one.
There are a lot of arguments around gene testing and having medical procedures (like a mastectomy) because of the results. Women seem to have the burden of this technology. We do tests to determine if we should carry a pregnancy to term, to see if our boobs threaten our existence, and our reproductive systems are removed (hysterectomy) to prevent or stop all kinds of difficulties. Women are complicated creatures – not just emotionally, but physically as well.
I like this post and this subject because I get to talk about boobs and the absolute unreasonable attraction and importance we have placed on them in our society. I am constantly annoyed by people being offended about breastfeeding in public, the fact that men can run around with no shirt but for women it is a crime, and the fact that a woman’s breasts are somehow a reflection of who she is; well, I don’t know – it just brings boobs into the spotlight – not for sexuality purposes but for the understanding of what their real purpose is, and if they threaten our life – we should have no issue getting rid of them. Breasts are a point of concern for women and girls the moment they start to develop until we reach old age and they hang to our knees.
I have been told many times in my life what great boobs I have. They are actually one of my few body parts that I like. I have great boobs. 15 years of push-ups have made them what they are today – I am 40 with the tits of a 25 year old. However, if some test came back that said they were possibly going to kill me, they would be gone. I don’t think I would even miss them. As a gay woman, and someone who never wants to have biological children – they serve no purpose. Sure in an overly sexualized society they are the only reason I don’t get called, “Sir” more often (because of my short hair) people look at my boobs then my hair and determine that I am a booby guy or a butchy woman – but I would rather be called “Sir” at Home Depot than dead. So yeah – the choice would be easy for me to make.
For women like Angeline Jolie however who have made an entire career on her beauty and our society that says that her boobs are an integral part of that beauty – well, to get rid of them for preventative reasons speaks volumes about her priorities. She isn’t going to have more babies to feed – so they are now more of a detriment to her health and family than an asset. She can afford to go out and get new ones, and her next role in a film, well we won’t even be able to tell that her “real” boobs are gone. She can go buy better ones. Even being able to go get new ones though does not detract from the decision to have a major surgery to get rid of two pieces of flesh and fat that we women often use to judge our own appearance by. Even with new boobs, when she gets out of the shower and looks in the mirror she will be reminded everyday of the choice she made, why she made it, and that her body is no longer what she once thought it was.
Breasts are there for a biological purpose. They exist for one reason and one reason only; to feed babies. It is kind of like our uterus – only we don’t see that as a sex organ, so when women have that removed it is no big deal. When a woman has her breasts removed however we see it as extreme. The fact that women are BANNED from using their breasts for the reason GOD (if you believe in God) intended for feeding our children its a ridiculous notion to me. Even if you don’t believe in God and you just believe in science – our boobs are still there for a purpose and we criminalize that purpose. The fact that we have seen boobs as something to play with and not some intended purpose – means women who use them for feeding babies are marginalized and ridiculed. We would be less offended by a man sucking on a woman’s breast in public than a woman feeding a child. That is offensive to me.
Because of my life and the choice I made to never have children of my own makes my breasts biologically useless. The fact that they contribute to my self-esteem is a purely societal construct. If I had that gene test (and someday I might because I have no idea of my own medical history) and that test came back and said that my breasts were a threat to my life – well I wouldn’t have second thought about getting rid of them; just in case. I won’t have any self-esteem to protect if I am dead right?
The people who are offended by breastfeeding in public are (in my opinion) the most selfish and hypocritical people out there. The fact that so many women choose not to breastfeed because of the inconvenience it causes makes me sad. We have a lot of kids out there who never bonded with their mothers because they were never fed the way biology intended because we have made breasts a sex toy and not a biological function. Now I understand that some babies just don’t take to it – and for that we have solutions. However the fact that many women don’t even try to breastfeed because it will be an issue in public – well we are doing women and children a great disservice because we think boobs are more of a toy than the most perfect delivery system for nutrition we can give our children.
So I will just end this with this thought: Thank you to all the women (Angelina included) who have made the hard decision either to get rid of their breasts altogether, or who are unafraid to use them as biology intended. For people like me where they are like decorations on a Christmas tree – well, sometimes we just need to buy new decorations.
Are you a woman who breastfed your children? What challenges did you face? Are you a man who values breasts so much that you would be against your wife or girlfriend having a preventative surgery such as this? As a woman, what choice do you think you would make in this situation?