Angelina Jolie Sheds Light on Preventative Surgery
April 3, 2015
April 3, 2015
Angelina Jolie recently wrote a powerful op-ed in the New York Times about her decision to move forward with a preventative hysterectomy. Tests revealed that she carried a genetic gene mutation leading to a 50 percent chance in ovarian cancer, a disease that both her mother and grandmother died from. Her most recent surgery induces menopause and takes away her ability to have children. This op-ed comes two years after her first one announcing her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy.
Her piece is an important and powerful one for women. Angelina Jolie is an international superstar, and American symbol of sexiness and beauty. These are not necessarily two traits that come to mind when people think of the word menopause. It’s hard for us to imagine such a young vibrant woman going through a stage of life years earlier than she would have if she didn’t have the surgery. But she makes the important statement in regards to her menopausal state saying, “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.”
From a PR perspective, the most influential pieces are those in which the reader senses that the writer is speaking with complete honesty for the benefit of others and not themselves. Jolie has done this quite well by being straightforward about the reasons she made this decision, what the outcome will be, why it’s important, and addressing what readers should take away from it. Her emotions are raw when she talks about her family, and her mother who passed away from ovarian cancer. What is also important to note is that she doesn’t push her decision onto others, and in fact emphasizes that she wants women to understand her decision was not as a result of one gene mutation, but it was the decision best for her; and that surgery is one option, but that there are other options and women should choose the smartest option for themselves and their families.
As a woman, I admire the bravery of another woman who is using her public power for something substantially good. As Jolie says herself, knowledge is power, but her decision to use power to spread knowledge on a topic feared by many is just as important.