This morning the world awoke to the eloquent and deeply personal Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times by actress and activist Angelina Jolie; where she revealed to the world that she recently underwent a preventative double mastectomy due to being a carrier of a cancer causing mutation. Jolie is not just any actress, she is a high profile actress and she is partnered to a high profile actor, Brad Pitt. Jolie is known as much for her humanitarian work as she is for the roles that she plays and she is a mother.
The media and world were immediately on fire discussing this revelation, after all Jolie isn’t exactly Jane next door, so this was news. The problem is that for many of us in discussing this news, we forgot that at the center of the news was a very real human being with thoughts and feelings.
I am embarrassed to admit that I forgot for a moment that attached to this news was a fellow mother and woman striving to make the best choices or herself and her family. Instead in a moment of thoughtlessness, I launched into a twitter rant about how not all women have the ability to make such preventative choices. While that is true and even Jolie has acknowledged the inequalities that exist, today was not the time and place as a long time BGIM reader and supporter told me and she is right.
For some reason living in a ramped up news cycle fueled by 24/7 access to the media, we often feel the need to speak when the better response is silence. When it comes to public figures we and I am guilty of this myself, feel the need to say something because somewhere along the way it became easy to not afford public figures the same level of respect and treatment that we would give to our friends and loved ones and it is wrong.
Being mindful and respectful should not be limited to only people in our personal circles; it should be something that is extended to all people. Social inequalities exist and unless one is under a rock in a cave, we all know that. However on this day, I will sit and just admire a woman and mother who in light of her very public life and status made a brave choice and feel honored that she chose to share that with the world.