Melissa Etheridge Critiques Angelina Jolie’s Cancer Decision

melissaetheridgeLast month I lauded Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy in order to prevent breast cancer. Jolie has an 87% for breast cancer and 50% for ovarian cancer due to her genetics. There has been controversy about Angelina’s decision. But now singer Melissa Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor herself, says that Angeline’s pre-emptive surgery is because of fear, not bravery.

Here’s what Etheridge told the Washington Blade:

I have to say I feel a little differently. I have that gene mutation too and it’s not something I would believe in for myself. I wouldn’t call it the brave choice. I actually think it’s the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer . . . I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion.

CNN had an interesting discussion yesterday with another breast cancer survivor who admires Angelina Jolie’s choice. According to E.D.Hill, Angelina Jolie made her decision because she wants to be a good mother. Here’s the full video so you don’t have to click over. ;) [Read more...]

Angelina Jolie Receives Preventative Cancer Treatment

Angelina-Jolie-13Film star Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about her decision to receive preventative surgery to decrease her risks of breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie has a high risk of developing both forms of cancer because of her genetics: 87% for breast cancer and 50% for ovarian cancer. Jolie says:

I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventative double mastectomy. . . I hope that other women can benefit from my experience . . . and then take action.

I admire Angelina Jolie for her decision. Her risk of developing breast cancer has dropped from 87% to 5%. I think Jolie makes a very important point in the op-ed when she says: “I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.

Film stars like Angelina Jolie are often sexualized by their fan base, as are musicians like Beyonce. Women’s breasts are viewed as a commodity, rather than a part of the body. Jolie did not get a “boob job.” She took preventative measures to protect her health and continue to continue her role as a mother. And yet “fans” have been posting comments on Twitter that show the sexism that is so prevalent in popular culture (and American culture in general).

Jolie is lucky that her partner Brad Pitt has been 100% supportive throughout the surgery process. He has publicly called her a hero. I say thumbs up to Brad.
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Is Breastfeeding Mandatory for Mothers?

Last week we started a discussion about women breastfeeding in public. I interviewed to women who said that they love breastfeeding. They told us that at some point, it just makes practical sense.

But what about mothers who can’t breastfeed? Should they receive criticism for bottle feeding? There is more than one side to this discussion. Here’s how Erin Strange feels about bottle feeding.

I don’t breastfeed. Shortly after Elliott’s birth I realized that I wasn’t producing enough milk. He was jaundiced and his numbers continued to rise even after the typical peak days. In order to get the jaundice out of his system and avoid light therapy, we had to supplement with formula. I am producing about 4oz daily, and we were trying to breastfeed while supplementing, but he rejected the breast and became frustrated. In order to get him to eat we had to bottle feed. I still pump daily and give him the 4oz I get.

I am really insecure about the fact that I’ve got to bottle feed. People close to me have been supportive when they know that I’m unable to breastfeed, but it’s hard to be asked all the time if I’m breastfeeding and then feel like I have to explain why I’m not. [Read more...]

Should Breastfeeding Be Allowed in Public? (Part 2)

erin durbanLast week I started a discussion about the debate over breastfeeding in public. I shared a story from Maureen Shaw, one of the Feminists for Choice writers. Today I am sharing the experience that Erin Durban has had with breastfeeding.

Breast feeding is the best option for me and my baby. The primary reason I chose breast feeding was because of the immunities and health benefits that babies get from milk. As we both worked really hard the first month to get breast feeding established, I kept that in the forefront of my mind. However, there are so many other benefits to breast feeding: intimacy, convenience (once everyone gets a hang of it), and cost savings since formula is so expensive. It certainly isn’t easy, though, and I know there are a lot of good reasons why other folks do not breast feed. We were lucky to have a lot of support from our birth center, my partner, my sister and brother-in-law, and our friends. I know that has made a huge difference in terms of being able to continue breast feeding.  [Read more...]

Should Breastfeeding Be Allowed in Public? (Part 1)

Last week Elin and Hennie discussed a Youtube video of mothers breastfeeding in public. Those mothers received death threats in the video’s comments section, and the video has subsequently been removed from Youtube.

Some mothers in Indiana staged a nurse-in and breastfed their babies outside of a pizza restaurant where a mother had previously been ask to leave because she had breastfed on her previous visit to the restaurant.

There is obviously a lot of controversy about breastfeeding in public, but there is also a debate about whether women should breastfeed at all. I interviewed three women to ask them what breastfeeding means to them. These stories show that there are many sides to the debate. [Read more...]

Breastfeeding Moms Receives Death Threats

A Swedish organization attempting to assist parents with issues relating to breastfeeding created their own take on Gangnam Style with a video showing mothers breastfeeding in public. The organization wanted to discuss public breastfeeding in a humorous way, making it less dramatic. In a few days the video was played over 34,000 times on Youtube (it has now been removed) and surprisingly many people raged over the content of the video, even going as far as posting aggressive comments and death threats in the comment section that were directed towards the women.

We have previously discussed a variety of Feminists For Choice connected to public breastfeeding. We discussed breastfeeding at the playground and touched on the subject of breastfeeding and the sexualization of women’s breasts[Read more...]

Kansas Weighs New Anti-Choice Laws

The South Wind Women’s Clinic in Wichita may offer a place for women to receive abortion care, but anti-choice legislators in the state are hoping to impose new restrictions on the procedure. Both the state House and Senate have passed a bill that would define life as beginning at fertilization, and anti-choice Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign it into law.

The bill does more than include language about when life begins. It would also mandate what information clinics must give women about abortion risks—including the medically inaccurate claim of a possible link between breast cancer and abortion—and fetal development; prohibit clinic employees from providing sex education in schools; ban terminations performed solely because of the sex of the fetus; and prohibit the use of tax credits, tax preferences, and public funds for abortion services, as well as prevent public health-care services provided by the state from being used in any way to carry out abortions.

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Antis Freak Out Over Nothing; Also Known As Monday

A recent op-ed by Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post shows off the anti-choice movement’s flair for using emotionally manipulative language and glossing over the facts. In “Planned Parenthood’s Defense of Infanticide,” Thiessen claims that a Planned Parenthood representative was “caught on camera defending infanticide.”

During a recent political hearing in Florida, Planned Parenthood’s Alisa LaPolt Snow was asked what the organization’s response would be if, in the case of a failed abortion, the fetus was born alive. Snow’s answer? “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

That seems like a perfectly reasonable response to me. After all, who else should be asked to make a decision in that moment? Isn’t that what happens with any child, whether they’re five minutes old or five years old? Let’s say that a five-year-old was gravely ill. Who would be in charge of making his medical decisions? His parents and physician. That doesn’t mean that I’m advocating killing five-year-olds. It means that in America, as in much of the world, parents are the ones that make medical decisions for their children.

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Hospital Refuses to Accomodate Pregnant Employee, Places Her on Unpaid Leave

Late last month, the National Women’s Law Center filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Amy Crosby, a pregnant hospital cleaner in Florida. Crosby was forced to take unpaid medical leave when her employer, Tallahassee Medical Hospital, refused to accomodate Crosby’s doctor’s request that she not be required to lift anything heavier than 20 pounds. At the time that Crosby was placed on leave, she was 23 weeks pregnant.

Tallahassee Medical Hospital’s response is particularly puzzling because they had previously allowed other employees who had temporary physical disabilities or on-the-job injuries to be transferred to lighter duty. Yet in Crosby’s case, she was told that if she did not return to work by April 11, she will be fired even though the hospital still refuses to follow her doctor’s request.

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Getting Over the Pill

I know when the romance started for me. I was at summer camp, where all the best romances begin, getting a windbreaker or a jean jacket–some outerwear-oriented excuse for busting in where I wasn’t supposed to be. contraception_591At the sink, I saw my counselor, older, cooler, and in my memory, always blonde, popping a candy necklace pill out from a plastic flip-top compact.

I knew I wasn’t supposed to know what I was seeing. But I did. She was on the pill. Having sex. Which somehow made me feel a few steps closer to having sex myself. Inside that pink clam shell was the secret of adult life. Everything I needed to know about sex and men in its own handy dandy carrying case.

Now, of course, I realize she might not have been having sex, and I want to swaddle my younger smartypants self in a thick blanket, knowing when and how she’ll have the easy answers bruised out of her.

But there was no reasoning, then. And no reason to reason … I was in love with the pill, and as I grew up, I could see I wasn’t alone. It was the hot girl’s one and only punchline in Sixteen Candles and Roseanne’s cool-mom badge of honor, and long before that, Loretta Lynn was singing its praises for good reason. The lyrics make it clear how much the pill could change the fundamental facts of a woman’s life.

You wined me and dined me when I was your girl
Promised if I’d be your wife you’d show me the world
But all I’ve seen of this old world is a bed and a doctor bill
I`m tearing down your brooder house ’cause now I’ve got the pill

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