You Guys, I’m Pretty Sure Angelina Jolie Didn’t Cut Off Her Boobs for Money or Publicity

I’m loosely affiliated with a group of mid-life bloggers called Generation Fabulous. By “loosely affiliated” I mean that I was invited to join the group after a friend of a friend who is one of the group’s founders read my post about Match.com. I was and am thrilled to be a part of the group. I don’t post with them very often, primarily because I still think I’m in my late 30s (which I definitely am not) rather than in mid-life. This is my own issue, not proud of it, blah blah blah. Also, I mostly write about superficial stuff and my posts about being annoyed by Beyonce and Gwyneth’s friendship don’t look too good next to pieces about caring for our aging parents.

Even though I don’t post much, I love what the Gen Fabbers are doing and I think it’s cool that marketers are starting to pay attention to this very influential demographic. Until recently it seemed like they were only interested in mommy bloggers. I like to keep up with what’s happening and there is some really great writing happening in the group.

One of the ways I keep up is via a group Facebook page. This morning, someone posted a link to a site which claims to have “proof” that Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy was “part of a clever corporate scheme to protect billions in BRCA gene patents and influence Supreme Court decision.”

Say what?

The link led to a site that I don’t want to link to here. But in short, the writer claims that there is “proof” that Angelina Jolie is in cahoots with Big Pharma and is engaged in a plot to pull the wool over the eyes of women around the world, convincing them to undergo expensive, unnecessary testing. Presumably, she is doing this so that she can roll around in piles of money and cackle crazily? I guess?

The writer is not alone in this belief. Right away, members of the group started chiming in with accusations about Angie’s motivations for her public disclosure. I commented that I doubted the site’s credibility due to the inflammatory, anti-Obama, conspiracy theory language. And the cheesy ads. What followed was an unfriendly exchange that ended when one of my fellow bloggers wrote “…sheeple” in response to my comment.

This is where I hand you my shoes and earrings, smear Vaseline on my face, and jump in to defend Angelina Jolie. Specifically, to defend her against accusations that she shared her medical decision for money, publicity and new boobs.

Let’s get the accusation that I am starstruck out of the way. I can’t stand Angelina. It’s almost a joke how much I don’t like her. So, my personal feelings about her are not why I’m questioning the “corporate scheme” theory. In fact, my feelings for her make it harder to defend her, not easier.

People are suggesting that she owns stock in Myriad Genetics, the company that holds the patent on the test she elected to have. The company has been embroiled in a lengthy court battle since trying to patent two genetic mutations that cause cancer. The ACLU filed a lawsuit claiming that corporate ownership of human genes is unconstitutional. (Seems kinda true?) There are suggestions that the timing of Angie’s story is “too convenient” to be a coincidence, with a Supreme Court decision on the case expected this summer.

Yes, Myriad Genetics stock hit a 52-week high within days of her announcement. And that was probably because of her announcement.

But to suggest that someone like Angelina Jolie would undergo a painful and scary double mastectomy to get some of that Big Pharma money is CRAY-ZEE. Do people understand how much money the Pitt-Jolie family is rolling in? They’ve got stacks on stacks on stacks!* Wouldn’t the risk of being outed as part of a for-profit corporate scheme discourage her from undergoing and announcing an expensive and difficult procedure in exchange for money? Sorry. Not buying it.

Even though I don’t want to be friends with her, I honestly believe that Angelina Jolie wants to leave a legacy of having made the world better. She’s annoying and sanctimonious at times – and her child army freaks me out – but I believe she is motivated by a desire to use her considerable power to make lives better. Maybe she wants that because she’s vain and self-important. Who cares?

And there are suggestions that she did it for publicity. “She’s so private. Why would she make a public announcement about something so personal?” What? These people aren’t even remotely private. Does anyone else remember their 51 page spread in W magazine while he was still married to Jennifer Aniston? They get plenty of attention. Angie doesn’t need publicity badly enough to CUT OFF HER BOOBS for it. Please.

“But women who don’t need this test/procedure are gonna run out and do it because a celebrity did it!” No, they’re not. Stop it. Part of the criticism she’s faced since her announcement is that she was able to afford a $4,000 test not covered by insurance. Most women can’t afford that. No one is going to “run out” because of her. Maybe what they will do is open a dialogue with their own doctors. Maybe by raising awareness, she’s placing some pressure on the industry to make the testing more accessible.

I don’t know. And neither does anyone else. But to suggest that someone who is already this wealthy and powerful, who is basically a unicorn because of her stunning beauty, would undergo a radical surgery like this for money or publicity seems just beyond.

Now. Can I please go back to disliking her in peace?

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This is my patented SexxxyFace.

* This is a terrible video. I do not endorse it. Just wanted to illustrate the phrase “stacks on stacks.”

19 thoughts on “You Guys, I’m Pretty Sure Angelina Jolie Didn’t Cut Off Her Boobs for Money or Publicity

  1. Diane says:

    Some people see a conspiracy in everything. Her mom died at age 52 or something like that of ovarian cancer. I’ve read essays by non-famous people who had tests and pre-emptive surgery for the same reason: cancer runs in the family. I even know someone who had breast cancer and had her ovaries out. I’m sure Angelina just wants to raise consciousness/make it not seem like a woman’s femininity is totally destroyed by this kind of surgery. Not so bad of her. To me what is interesting is how she can be so genetically blessed and cursed at once. I guess she is naturally extreme.

    • reallyrealatlantahousewife says:

      Something I chopped from this piece – because it wasn’t really related to the conspiracy thing – is that I think it’s remarkable that someone who is so closely associated with her sexiness would elect to have this kind of surgery. I admire that she publicly stated that removing her breasts doesn’t remove her femininity. I guess you could make the case that if she really believed that, she wouldn’t have opted for implants, but choice about how you manage your own body is supposed to be an important aspect of feminism.

  2. Diane says:

    PS I am also in my thirties, in my mind.

  3. eli says:

    Yep. It hurts. And no one would do it for money, especially someone who already has tons of it. Since no one else is advocating for women and trying to educate them about ways they can stay healthy, it takes a celebrity to do the hard work.

  4. Liz Baker says:

    Please let’s come up with another word to replace ‘midlife.’ It is so half-way-dead.

    As far as Angie, sounds like people just want to hate. I’m not a fan but she does have EVERYTHING. People are jealous so they say things that are ridiculous to make her seem scandalously flawed.

  5. Lisa says:

    Great blog Libby. I saw that posting & thought it ridiculous. Love her or hate her she seems wildly happy to be a momma & really just wants to reduce her risk of dying young. After watching my dear friend of 25 years suffer an excruciating slow death of ovarian cancer I was about ready to get a hysterectomy.

  6. bess says:

    “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” – Mark Twain. Some of those “ladies” on Generation Fabulous don’t sound very fabulous to me.

  7. Wow! Kind of glad I missed that GenFab “discussion.”

    • reallyrealatlantahousewife says:

      I’m probably a little more rattled by stuff like that than other people are. I just always get surprised when someone gets snippy in what seems like a civilized disagreement.

  8. Sharon says:

    This whole idea is completely absurd! I don’t know where some of these whackadoos come up with this crap. As someone who comes from a family with a history of breast cancer, you always hope that these things will help create positive awareness. Then I hear something like this.

  9. Emma says:

    I have to agree with you on everything, even your dislike for her. That being said, people just look for a reason to bash anyone, for doing anything. I have 2 friends who went through a mastectomy, and it’s a painful surgery. One had it because she had cancer, the other because they found a cyst, that after a biopsy she found out had cancer cells, she decided to take both breasts off and have reconstructive surgery months later. She went through hell and back. And for people to say that she did it for money, WOW, it’s just doesn’t make sense at all, even for Jolie… It takes courage to do something like that, it takes time to heal, and it will take time for her emotionally even though she puts up a front.
    Why can’t anyone see the positive in what she has done.. ? I just don’t get it.

  10. D. A. Wolf says:

    ROCK ON!!! (And I am also SO in my thirties in my head… and my footwear.) xo

  11. SC says:

    Kudos on a well-written and thoughtful post. I’m obviously a little late with the whole “Angelina Jolie cut off her boobs because she’s in cohorts with Big Pharma” accusations, but in doing a little mindless catch-up web surfing, I figured I’d leave my two cents anyway …

    I don’t think it’s likely that Jolie lopped off her tatas to reap the rewards of earning major Myriad stock moola, but … I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. She keeps her private life on major lockdown, as evidenced by her being able to keep her surgeries secret from the paps, when, clearly, she’s seen when, where, with whom, and doing whatever it is she wants if she knows any of this will bolster her public image. Shady business is also rumored to have gone down with some of her adoptions as well, but who’s to confirm? She’s always struck me as a woman who will get what she wants by doing what-ev-er it takes to get it.

    Perhaps a more plausible theory is that she was faced with a choice that she had been trying to make a decision on for some time, and she ultimately figured she’d opt for surgery, killing a few birds with one stone: (1) she reduced her risk of contracting certain female cancers (well, statistically speaking, at least, and truth be told, it can be validly argued that statistics are just numbers that offer absolutely no guarantees); (2) she got a brand-spankin’, perky new bosom (I believe she had breast implants put in at some point and maybe it was high time for a reboot); and — this was probably second biggest on her priority list, next to wanting to live long for her kids, because I’m pretty damn positive she’s an insatiably compulsive attention-seeker — (3) she revamped her public image, gained new, substantial relevance as a champion of raising women’s awareness of female cancers, and probably secured the relative success of her partner’s blockbuster film (which was feared to bomb big-time at the box office — Pitt produced it, and that would have been a big ol’ financial loss for him/them). She’s savvy. Not necessarily super intelligent. But she has the smarts to run her “business” well by using whom and what she needs in order to do so.

    Her body, her choice. I’m not going to knock it because I’m not sure what I would have done in her situation. Even if I had her resources, though (i.e., I knew I wouldn’t be disfigured and would be in the care of the best possible team of doctors), I imagine that before taking such extreme preventive measures, perhaps I’d still try being hypervigilant with screenings and exams first, as well as with leading as obsessively healthy a lifestyle as possible. A relative of mine with a family history of female cancer went the route La Jolie did because she tested high-risk positive for the BRCA gene. Hysterectomy, oophorectomy, and mastectomy, including removal of the lymph nodes. Thought she was pretty much home-free after the harrowing ordeal … Lo and behold, not too long thereafter, cancer reared its ugly head … in her colon. She passed within a year, at a relatively young age.

    Until Jolie proves to be a steadfast champion of her newest cause (i.e., this isn’t just her “thing of the moment,”) I won’t buy that she didn’t have self-interest in mind by making a grand, sweeping public announcement of her “medical choice” (**cough, cough** mere weeks before the release of WWZ, when, remember, she’d kept the whole affair private riiiiiight up until then, conveniently). But as for the conspiracy theories, well, she’s probably smart enough to know that if she were exposed for partaking in such a partnership, her boat would sink faster than the Titanic. And I think she wants to be around for a loooooong time, not just for her kids, but because she’s the immaculate, transcendent La Jolie, and she’s damn well determined to go down in history as being second only to Jesus.

Talk to me.

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