It’s her body – by L. Samsarah Morgan
The internet has been abuzz with discussion of Anglina Jolie’s decision to undergo a radical mastectomy. She’s done this because her mother and her aunt died as a result of breast cancer.. She came to this decision after genetic screening showed that she had a rare genetic mutation which gives her a higher probability than the general population of contracting cancer in her lifetime. This particular gene, is called BRCA1..
Corporate TV hailed her, calling her decision brave and she held herself as a role model of a woman taking control of her health. I do not agree with this assessment.
I voiced this opinion on a few Facebook discussion threads, and I was greeted with the statement, “It her body. She can do as she pleases with it.” Of course that is very true, but I also feel that this is a rather simplistic statement. Ms. Jolie isn’t just any woman – other wise why call a press conference to announce that she is having a medical procedure? The press showed up because of who she is, and because sadly, in this culture, the actions of a movie star, has more weight than that of parents, teachers, or clergy. Her words were touching the hearts and psyches of young girls and women. And the message is that medicine is the way to health. Surgery is the cure for cancer.
The reality is that Ms. Jolie is now a corporate spokes person for Myraid Genetics. To this company that she paid 3,000 to for the test for the BRACCA 1 gene. This same company owns the patents on those genes. Yes you hear me right, a corporation hold a patent on human genes. Not only this gene but the BRCA 1, but BRAC2 genes, as well as the entire genetic sequence! This also prevents other scientific research into these genes. As well as prevents others from discovering a possibly less severe treatment for these cancer lines, perhaps at a lower cost!
This same corporation is the only one in the country where this test can be done. My concern is with now with this convenient monopoly – geared up now to make millions on the fears of women. Women who fear sickness, and who may possibly be grieving family members who died from cancer.. These women motivated by this fear may be overlooking the fact that they are being denied an opportunity for a second opinion. Honestly, if one is going to undergo such an extreme procedure, should it be possible to attain an un biased second opinion?
News reporters were decrying the fact that poor women and women of color are in danger because they have no opportunity to be tested and know if they have the BRACA1 and 2 genes. They make a case for universal health care, not mentioning what a cash cow this test would be to one American corporation.
To me, this is all maddening. So I’d like to share some things I know.
Just having cancer in your family or even carrying the gene for a specific condition does not mean you have to get it. There are many factors which decide who will contract such diseases, such as cancer. Stress, live style, exercise, diet, exposure to toxins, even early childhood abuse and or neglect all potentially play a role.
A family propensity can and should be viewed as a reminder that one must be even more conscientious to live as clean a life style as possible, have a positive and life sustaining inner life. One must have regular exercise, clean air, fresh water, no GMO foods. Our food animals ought not endure torture, pain, abuse and antibiotics before you purchase them in your supermarket. Rather than inspiring the population to activism – the press fed our fears and pointed us to a fake salvation. Towards this test and the option of removing a perfectly healthy body part in order to be safe! I find this appalling!
There are no guarantees, we can do every thing “right” and still become ill. However, if we keep accepting the toxic soup that our lives have become, we do guarantee that many more if us than necessary will fall ill with all manner of disease – whether we have a gene for the illness or not.
How I’d have preferred a celebrity hold a conference to let the women and girls of the nation know that our bodies are physical manifestations of divine energy. That our bodies have a profound inner wisdom which always seeks wholeness and health. That our bodies require loving care and attention from the moment we are present in our mommas bodies until the way we die. And if we give our bodied the very best of this attention – the odds are dramatically in our favor that we will live a healthy and whole existence. Healthy on the levels of mind, body and spirit!
What a wondrous and hopefully rallying cry I imagine! A call to activism, and call for us to fight for our lives via the restoration of our earth…
What we got instead was a commercial – and a huge dose of fear.
To Ms. Jolie, I truly wish the very best. I do not know her, nor her thought process in this regard – that’s not my business really. I do wish that she had had the opportunity to garner that second opinion before allowing the removal of breasts which were healthy at the time of their removal. (She also plans to remove her ovaries.)
As a holistic health counselor and educator, it is my duty to point out and refrain from participating in the almost constant fear mongering which results in millions for corporations.
I believe that Ms Jolie, and all of us deserve much better than this.