Friday, January 31, 2014 at 5:52 AM

Forget Angelina! Hannah’s the Breast-Cancer Survivor Worthy of Praise

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Angelina Jolie famously elected to replace her healthy breasts with implants because she feared she might develop terminal cancer … someday. And she won near-universal praise for doing so. TIME magazine even ran a May 27, 2013 cover heralding “The Angelina Effect” she would have on women.

AngelinaJolieTombraiderI, however, stood virtually alone in pooh-poohing the hosannas to her. And I received near-universal flak for doing so. Notably, women got their panties in a twist because I dared to question whether Jolie was more interested in preserving the look of her two most bankable assets than in preventing cancer.

On Tuesday the New York Times published an op-ed by actress Angelina Jolie on her decision to have a double mastectomy. Almost immediately she became the subject of media beatification the likes of which we have not seen, well, since Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president of the United States in 2008…

You’d never know from this coverage that tens of thousands of women, including lesser-known celebrities, have talked openly about having a double mastectomy. Alas, in our celebrity-obsessed culture, having an A-lister like Jolie do so somehow makes it okay, perhaps even fashionable…

Jolie did not opt to remain au naturel (i.e., flat chested). Tow that would have been heroic, and truly worthy of media beatification. Instead, she got a boob job … too.

Which raises the question: why hail Jolie as the patron saint of breast-cancer survivors when all she did was elect to look like every other actress in Hollywood who makes a living by showing off the most titillating fake breasts money can buy?

(“Angelina Jolie’s ‘Heroic Decision’ to Get Breast Implants?” The iPINIONS Journal, May 16, 2013)

Even more shocking and dismaying, however, is that my critics seemed not in the least bit chastened five months later when Professor Kefah Mokbel of the London Breast Institute issued the following warning, which the New York Post reported on October 3, 2013:

We’re seeing a large number of women requesting a preventive mastectomy for peace of mind, women who’ve been diagnosed but don’t have a genetic predisposition so wouldn’t benefit.

These are patients who say, ‘Can you do for me what Angelina Jolie had done?’ They’re on the increase.

Not even when, around the same time, researchers at the University of Minnesota presented a report at the 2013 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, which included the following dispositive finding (as reported in the October 7, 2013 edition of the Daily Mail):

Women who have a healthy breast removed over fears they might later develop breast cancer may not improve their survival rate, according to new research.

article-2547914-1B0D390200000578-367_306x423Well, given that scientific evidence did nothing to disabuse Angie’s avengers of their misguided praise, perhaps the sublime image of what a real patron saint of breast-cancer survivors should look like will. And, thanks to the March 2014 issue of Cosmopolitan no less, Hannah Foxley is a vision to behold, posing proudly, I dare say even seductively, with her bare, scared chest where her pert breast used to be.

Hannah Foxley, who recently had a mastectomy, says she wants to show women you can still be beautiful even when you’ve had parts of your body removed.

‘I have learnt to love it and adopt a positive body image and I want to empower other women to do the same. I want them to see my pictures and say ‘she looks beautiful and I can too.’’

Surely no woman in her right mind would praise the fake, Playboy-style body image Jolie represents over the real, naturally beautiful body image Foxley does … right?

But let me hasten to clarify that nothing I’ve ever written on this subject is meant to convey any disrespect for women who opt for post-mastectomy reconstructive surgery.

I just think a woman like Foxley is far more worthy of being hailed as the patron saint of breast-cancer survivors than Jolie. Don’t you?

Related commentaries:
Angelina Jolie
More about implants than cancer

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