Life is more important than boobs!

‘Angelina Jolie wrote on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times that she had tested positive for a genetic mutation known as BRCA1, which left her with an exceedingly high risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer. Her mother died at 56 after nearly a decade with cancer. After genetic counseling, Ms. Jolie opted to have both breasts removed and to undergo re-constructive surgery.’


Angelina Jolie has taken a very good decision to undergo preventive surgery that, doctors say, will reduce her breast cancer risk to less than 5%. Many people are now crying for Brad Pitt, because he will not be able to enjoy Jolie’s body anymore. They believe, women’s boobs are more important than women’s lives.

I hope every woman will be able to get their gene tested and take control of their lives like Angelina Jolie. But all women are not so lucky. Most women in the world do not have much money. They do not have the right to choose. Because of the patriarchal tradition in most parts of the world, women suffer unbearable inequalities and injustices. They suffer from different physical and psychological problems that are not treated. Women remain untreated because they are not taken to hospitals until they reach terminal stages. Women are not supposed to become sick, because they must remain busy with household chores, bear and rear children, take care of the family, and make sure that the male members of the family are happy. A woman’s destiny is to be ruled by the father in childhood, by the husband when she is young, and by her son when she is old.

My mother had symptoms of colon cancer. But she was not allowed to see a doctor until she was bedridden. It was too late when she saw a doctor. She already got metastasis in her liver. She died without any treatment. She was 57. My father was a doctor, we were called an educated upper middle class family, if it happened in our house, imagine what could happened in other houses.

Women’s role is to stay at home and to obey her husband. Women are considered weak, so they should be taken care of, their body and mind, their desire and wishes, their rights and freedom must be controlled by men. Women are treated as inferior beings, child bearing machines and mere sex–objects. Whatever happens, sex objects must not remove their breasts. If they do, they are not anymore women and they are not anymore beauty, not anymore worthy. It is hard to change patriarchal mindset.

Genetic testing will remain dreams for women until women’s lives are considered valuable.

Please read some comments I got on Twitter about this issue:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.


  1. badgersdaughter says

    They tried moaning about this in a chat I frequent. Selfish bastards complaining that their mental picture of Angelina was violated. Well whoop de doo, I said, she will get silicone tits like the rest of the industry, and we’ll have Angelina around longer. Sounds like a win-win to me.

    Having lost my own mother to metastatic breast cancer, and seeing her despair when cancer was the only think people thought about when they looked at her, I suppose I’m a little extra sensitive about people defining the woman by the body part.

  2. says

    All the people complaining are missing one very basic point: the procedures are already done and she had them done in secret. No one ever would have known if she hadn’t spoken out, so WHY THE HELL DO THEY CARE? Sounds like they’re really just mad she dared to say anything at all.

  3. Alyssum says

    This is why I hate the supposedly fun anti-breast cancer campaigns that focus on saving the ‘boobies’. The breasts themselves are the least important part of the issue.

    Most of the people making these bizarre comments wouldn’t have even noticed the difference in her breasts since she has enough money for high quality reconstructive surgery. It is a good business decision on her part to have implants. At the same time, people should see absolutely nothing wrong with a woman choosing to not have implants. The life of the woman with breast cancer is much more important than what other people think of her looks!

  4. darchole says

    While I was eating at a restaurant yesterday, someone was loudly saying what a crazy celerbrity she was, and how she only cared about her looks. This guy (not to say women aren’t saying this too) was there with his mother and his child. I really wanted to go over there and ask him if he wanted to watch his mother die of cancer or his child watch him die of cancer, or if he would remove a body part or object to someone he loved removing a body part so that their children wouldn’t have to see them die of cancer. We’re lucky today, with the testing and treatments available, that the number of deaths by cancer is low enough that some people will have never seen a loved one die of cancer. People don’t understand that fear, not of death, but of having loved ones see you die, usually in pain or with significant other physical problems, and the impact of your death on them. I have seen some of my relatives or friends of the family die of breast, prostate, lung, bladder or brain cancer. It’s ugly.

  5. Mriganka Bhattacharyya says

    But getting any body organ removed should be the last option right? For example, a dentist should always try to save the tooth by ‘filling up’ or so, unless it is absolutely necessary to pull the tooth out.

  6. Dick Rose says

    Angelina Jolie is hacking her tits off because she might one day maybe get breast cancer? She should probably reconsider… Doctors are idiots.

  7. says

    If she waited, she’d probably have to get a mastectomy anyway and have a significant chance of dying in the process. You might think that it’s worth a 25% chance or so of her dying to get to keep her boobs a few more years, but she has reason to disagree.

  8. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Yesterday I talked a woman I know into going to the hospital. She was suicidal, but her husband told her that she had too much to do and would just have to get over it. She told me there was no way he could take care of their children without her. She simply had too much to do. She wanted to check herself into the hospital, but couldn’t. I talked her into it by asking her how he’d go the rest of his life without her if she didn’t get help and the voices telling her to do horrible things won out.
    The doctors sent her home anyway. They set up an appointment with a counselor and gave her some new meds and then just sent her back home to cook, clean, do all the shopping and tend the three small children.

    But, at least she got some help. I honestly think we almost lost her.

  9. says

    Dear Taslima,
    Being one of your sincerest readers, an ardent supporter, I am shocked and dismayed by your skewed view on the matter. Being a physician yourself (I’m one too) you should know better that excising normal body parts for the sheer misapprehension of one day it may (yes, there’s no certainty as breast cancer is a complex trait and not a single gene disease) harbour cancer. I would rather say it was more a publicity stunt and a way to promote medico-industrial complex that is aggrandizing everyday. While I have gone through considerable amount of feminist literature myself (mostly of second wave feminism) I cannot conjecture how someone as Jolie who has undergone many a cosmetic surgery to reinforce the general myth of female beauty is suddenly accepted as a feminist icon while all she is doing is to strengthen the hand of medico-pharma-industrial complex hell-bent to convince the affluent women to undergo unnecessary procedures. While I certainly consider you as a feminist icon, perhaps the most important one in the subcontinent, I can never stoop to have any such consideration as someone as shallow as Angelina Jolie.

    • Malo says

      Uh, okay. Whatever. Taslima’s post isn’t really about Angelina Jolie. Maybe you need to read it again. It’s about how misogyny is a barrier to health care for women, and it’s about misogyny, in general. Sorry, but your petty distaste for Jolie doesn’t make preventative mastectomies wrong.

      • Pratik Deb says

        My point was simple: preventive bilateral mastectomy of Jolie was a stunt pulled out my the medico-industrial complex and it has nothing to do with woman’s right on her own body or any other feature of feminism. The surgery was superfluous, and I say that as a doctor and a cancer biologist, not as a misogynist.
        And in case you don’t know, Taslima is trained as a doctor too (hence the argument).
        By the way, I don’t know what your credentials are, but it’s not prudent to bang your fist on the keyboards simply to give out an asinine answer on a topic you hardly comprehend (which by the way wasn’t even addressed to you).

  10. chalchiuhtotolin says

    @people claiming that this mastectomy was unnecessary

    Cancers are normally very genetically complex, but this specific gene-cancer link is not normal. This is the BRCA1 mutation. Women with this mutation have a 80% risk of getting breast cancer before the age of 90. A mastectomy is unnecessary for most women, but not for women (and some men) with this mutation.

    The BRCA1 gene itself is responsible for repairing DNA. That itself should explain why it’s so linked to cancer.

  11. says

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  12. Urmila Mathonkar says

    This is another disadvantage of not having a penis. Your breast and cervix at risk of cancer. Life of being a female is hell.

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