I’ve been asked more than a few times what I think about Angelina Jolie’s choice to have her breasts removed as a method of preventing breast cancer. Although I’ve written a book about the many ways one can prevent and heal from breast cancer, I wasn’t sure how to be diplomatic about the news that a highly influential beautiful woman, that many women look up to, had made this decision. But here it goes. Is it after the fact? Yes. But it’s still timely because many women will find themselves faced with this same choice in their future.
First, I’m not in her head, so I hesitated to judge. I’m not someone who’s lost female relatives to breast cancer, although my father, grandma, and just two months ago, an aunt, died from cancer. I’m also not someone who gives my power away to men (or women) in white coats who have medical degrees. I think for myself, despite what others might believe. This isn’t always popular and it’s not always right, but there you have it. As a woman who lived through breast cancer, as a healer, and as a writer, I have an opinion.
That said, I believe the method of removing breasts to prevent something that might never happen is misguided. It brings to mind words like self-mutilation, self-hatred, ignorance, and misogyny. Yes, it does. Glorifying the mutilation of the female body gets me riled, and I’m afraid we’ve stepped closely to glorification in the case of Angelina Jolie. “Brave decision?” The braver decision would have been to take the path of the feminine and keep the breasts.
Let’s think about it for a moment. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, possibly thousands of things a woman can do to be pro-active and prevent breast dis-ease. I’ve written about many of them. I’ve used many of them. If the body is going to produce cancerous cells that proliferate, is it logical to remove the part of the body that this activity might show up in? Shall I now remove my brain, liver, lungs, and bones because breast cancer can recur in those places? Absurd! Cancer has a root cause, and this cause is not due to the fact that a woman has breast tissue. The causes are many, from viruses to stress to pollutants and toxins. And did I just read that Angelina has spent years of her life smoking cigarettes? Not much prevention going on there.
Breasts are hugely, might I say wildly, symbolic. They represent nurturance, nourishment, sustainment, sensuality, sexuality, and woman power. Female wisdom and power has been cut down through the ages. Cut off, removed, mutilated. So when I heard that one of our influential Hollywood beauties sold out to a culture that doesn’t want feminine power to become too much, or get too big, I was disappointed. I was dismayed. And at the same time, I understand that her decision was a human one born out of fear.
Before making a major life choice, it’s relevant to focus on creating balance in your mind and emotions first, then make your decisions based on your own inner truth and on higher wisdom that stems from a balanced perspective. I know from personal experience this isn’t easy to do when you have authority figures giving you advice. It isn’t easy to do when you are consumed with fear. But we must do it to save ourselves and halt the madness that is the degradation of the feminine.