Sunday 17 December 2017

Colette Fitzpatrick: Angelina is right, women are not just the sum of our breasts and ovaries

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
Drink dialling
Eva Mendes
Jeremy Clarkson

THE following words from Angelina Jolie's article in the New York Times about why she decided to undergo a second round of preventative surgery, resonated most with me.

"Regardless of the hormone replacements I'm taking, I am now in menopause. I will not be able to have any more children and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared."

As one of the most beautiful women in the world Jolie would herself no doubt admit that her looks, her physical self and her sexuality are a massive part of her identity and who she is.

Yet she is not letting a body part, a physical part of her, define her femininity or her sexuality, who she is.

Women's bodies, especially breasts and sexual organs, have always been linked to their femininity and sexuality.

Breasts in particular, are, for many, the physical manifestation of how we perceive elements of female sexuality and mothering (through breast feeding) and of being a woman. Indeed, many are wholly fixated with women's breasts.

Some breast cancer campaigns in other countries have boldly acknowledged the appeal of breasts. The United States has a 'Save the Ta-Tas' campaign.

Some of the fundraising merchandise includes t-shirts with the slogans, 'caught you lookin' at my ta-tas' and 'I love my big ta-tas'.

Canada has a 'Boobyball' gala. It previously ran an ad 'You know you like them, now it's time to save the boobs', all reinforcing the notion that they're one of the most appealing parts of a woman.

That's why projects such as the Monokini 2.0 project are essential.

This is where designers created a range of swimsuits for women who'd lost a breast through cancer.

It was powerful because it corrected the view that women are only feminine/appealing/sexual with two breasts.

It reminded us that you can be whole and sexy with just one breast, no breasts at all or with a reconstructed breast.

That was the very point Angelina Jolie was making. That ovaries and breasts do not the woman make. That who you are, is not what you are a made of, physically at least. Rather what you are made of mentally and emotionally.

Jolie's role in being proactive about her health will encourage more women to have genetic testing for the disease and possibly the same surgery.

Making a decision as big as this, having your ovaries removed, following previous surgery to have a mastectomy, is possibly the best decision Jolie made as a mother.

This mama bear knows it's now less likely that her kids will have to say: "My mum died of cancer."

Brave, decisive, protective, and in charge of her destiny and life, Angelina Jolie is all woman.


Surprise, surprise, most drunk-dialling is done to hook up with someone

Drunk-dialling is when a drunk person makes calls that he or she would not likely make if sober. Often it's calling former love interests.

In Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse, the main character describes his tendency to drunk dial: "I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the phone. I get drunk...and then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that, from whom I have not heard in years."

1969 is earlier than most would have thought for the phenomenon of drunk-dialling. It's not like the second phone call made by Alexander Graham Bell after the famous "Mr Watson, come here. I want to see you" call was "I'm so wasted but I was just thinking of you" - at 2am.

There's even been studies on this. 'Drinking and dialling: An Exploratory Study Of Why College Students Make Cell Phone Calls Intoxicated' concluded that people drunk-dialled because "they had more confidence and felt less accountability for their actions".

Drink dialling

Or because "they thought it was funny and to have a good story to talk about later". Or "to tell a friend or romantic interest that they love or miss them" (most likely to end with a restraining order, I would have thought). Or, finally, the drunk dial booty call "to initiate sex, or to 'hook up' with someone".

Now an app called Drunk Mode is available which allows users to block contacts for up to 12 hours and promises to make it impossible for users to ring someone during that time. It's already been downloaded 300,000 times.

This says more about our relationship with alcohol than with technology. If you follow the breadcrumbs back from a drunk dial, you find you were usually drinking to have a good time or to forget bad ones.

Either way you were never going to keep in those feelings that you thought were buried. No matter how 'over it' you think you are, alcohol will make sure to remind you that you most certainly are not.


Sweatpants don't cause splits, Eva

Super. Another celebrity giving us their tuppence worth about what we shouldn't be wearing. Eva Mendes thinks sweatpants (aka tracksuit bottoms) are the number one cause of marriage breakdown in America. That they're a sort of shorthand for being a slob, for 'letting yourself go'

Eva Mendes

Some celebs are so high up on the fashion moral high ground, they're suffering from a lack of reality oxygen. Of course Eva Mendes doesn't wear them. She doesn't need to wear them. She has someone to do everything for her. She doesn't need to clean or garden or do a bit of DIY like most other people. Also this just in, cotton does not cause divorce.

Clarkson was no everyman punter

IT's been a bad week for those who think it's okay to physically and verbally abuse colleagues and still draw down millions of pounds in a wage. After years of trying not to fire him, the BBC finally sacked Jeremy Clarkson this week.

Clarkson always struck me as privately educated, privileged, white Conservative, well-connected, pretentious man who tried his best to be viewed as a man of the people,  but was the least 'everyman' presenter I can think of. 

Jeremy Clarkson

He's been accused of disrespecting (at best) minorities and other colleagues for years, and his recent pronouncements showed just how deluded and vain he'd become. His Top Gear had also lost its spark and had become overly scripted. The reality though is that you can already hear the sound of ITV or Sky picking up their phones, probably. Ugh.

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