Yahoo! Canada readers weigh in on Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy

Hilary Hagerman
Shine On

Earlier this week, Angelina Jolie made news when she revealed in a New York Times op-ed that she had a preventative double mastectomy. Jolie carries the BRCA1 gene, which she says gave her an “87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer.” Her surgery drastically reduced that risk, and now, the actress is trying to raise awareness about what she went through.

While some people (including Brad Pitt) said Angelina’s decision was heroic, other’s didn’t quite feel the same. Yesterday, we asked Yahoo! Canada readers to weigh in, and received more than 600 comments.

The verdict? Many Yahoo! Canada readers think Jolie should not be classified as a “hero.”

“She is nowhere near being a hero, no more than any other female that has [gone] through this,” writes user Mark T. “Why would this even be an issue? ‘Cause she is a celebrity? My grandmother went through this years ago when there was less tech and with nowhere near the money this lady has.”

“Are you serious, a hero?,” agrees Gary K. “Saving yourself from danger is not heroic, it’s self preservation.”

Also see: Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy raises questions for women

“Why would she be labelled hero? Because she did what many women have already done, and what many, many women wish they could do but cannot because they aren't gazillionaires…?” writes user Insensitive. “This 'hero' who didn't have the courage to come out and say what was happening before her new, perfect fake breasts were already installed? Hero? Hardly!”

But, some users still say what Jolie did was brave and encouraging, even if it wasn’t exactly heroic.

“I wouldn't use the word hero to describe self-preservation,” writes user KissandMakeup. “I will say that I respect her and think she is incredibly brave to have taken this step, especially in an industry where appearances are everything.”

“In this day and age with the focus on women's breast, Jolie going public with her story encourages women to believe that they are not their breasts,” comments user Elaine. “If breast cancer runs in the family then a double mastectomy might be the best route to go.”

“Angelina, like all beautiful women, is used to controversy or people hating her. You can please everyone, but Jolie is true to herself and her children,” Like Funny Stories writes. “Hero or not, to me, just coming out to say she has mastectomy, is simply a message to women that this is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Also see: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: A romance evolved

“I think that she made the announcement because she wanted other women to be confident to make this choice. As a sex symbol it was a big thing for her to be public. In any event she should be given credit for doing what she felt was right,” user True Fan says.

And some users even commented that if this doesn’t classify her as a hero, other things she’s done sure do.

“I think Angelina Jolie is a hero, not just because of this but for everything that she did to help others,” writes user Paradis. She participates in so many charities and helped so many. She is a hero...”

But is it really our place to judge? Several users raised the point that since we’re not actually the ones in this specific situation, we don’t know the circumstances.

“This woman did what she felt she needed to do. Who are we to judge?” asks SJ.

Who do you agree with? Let us know in the comments below.