The Angelina Backlash Is BS – She Is Incredibly Brave

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shutterstock_122713972__1368889174_142.196.156.251When I read Angelina Jolie‘s Op-Ed piece, My Medical Choice, my first and only reaction was, Wow. That is a brave woman. Since then, I have read numerous opinions online that have accused her of not really having a story to tell at all, being too rich to be brave about anything, and bouncing back too quickly. I think this is all bullshit.

She made a point to address the fact that all women cannot afford the preventative care that she can, and that this needs to change:

Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.

What I don’t understand is the resentment that exists because she can afford it. Yes, it sucks that we all don’t have the same options – but why skewer someone that can afford preventative care for accessing it? That makes no sense. Should she succumb to ravages of breast cancer in solidarity to those who can’t afford treatment? What is the actual point of this argument?

The Huffington Post’s Brendan O’Neill insists that it’s “trendy” for stars to be ill:

The praise being heaped on Ms Jolie, not for having surgery but for talking about it, overlooks the fact that it is now de rigueur for celebrities to talk openly about their ailments and hospitalisations. Flick through Hello! magazine and you’ll see five-page spreads about a celeb’s recovery from a cancer scare or addiction hell or bipolar diagnosis; browse the ‘Painful Lives’ sections in bookshops and you’ll see memoirs by celebrity survivors of terrible diseases.

I just don’t even know what to say about this. Is he actually implying that celebrities are happy to go through life-changing, horrible events because they may get some press out of it? I’m sorry – I’m as jaded as the next person, but that is pretty sick.

I had the pleasure of reading a Facebook status that slammed her for unnecessarily having a double mastectomy to boost her image, because “everyone knows you can cure cancer by changing your diet.” Holy what? To imply that a woman would part with her breasts and ovaries for publicity is unbelievable. Especially one who has always been in the spotlight. Do you really think she craves more attention?

I’ve never been some huge fan of Angelina’s – but her transparency in this very personal struggle is brave. Yes, she’s rich. So what? Death is the great equalizer. I’m not going to fault someone for avoiding it – and in the process allowing her children to enjoy a mother for as long as they can.

(photo: DFree/ Shutterstock)