In Hollywood, nothing is unusual about a woman having surgical procedures, but most of the time, these excisions are kept secret because they are designed to maintain the look of a 20-something starlet. Then there are women, like Angelina Jolie, who are open and honest about their choices, as radical as they may seem, to maximize their chances of a long life and a long career.
Jolie has had her lady parts removed because she carries the gene that killed her mother and her maternal grandmother with cancer. She uses her celebrity as a channel of communication, a statement of the realities of life, as opposed to the glamour of video.
Janet Hughes of the Western News suggests that Jolie will no longer be attractive “more than for her cheekbones” and goes on to discuss how other stars have used HRT and facelifts to stay young looking. That’s their privilege—it is their bodies, and they make their choices.
But to suggest that Jolie is only cheekbones with no lady parts denies her talent, her intelligence and her backbone. Here’s a news flash: Women are more than lady parts.
Menopause is freedom from unexpected “accidents” of femaleness. Menopause brings its own wisdom, whether from surgery or from moving out of middle age into cronedom. It’s time that this culture grew up, and recognized that according to the 2010 US census, 42% of adult women in the US are over 55, the average age for onset of menopause
(adult = over age 19; 32% of all females, 16% of the total population).
It is ridiculous to imagine that 42% of women in America are no longer viable as human beings—or as actresses. I submit the following as evidence from IMDB:
- Candice Bergen
- Diane Keaton
- Glenn Close
- Goldie Hawn
- Helen Mirren
- Judy Dench
- Kathy Bates
- Kirsty Alley
- Maggie Smith
- Mary Steenbergen
- Meryl Streep
- Olivia Newton-John
- Renee Russo
- Susan Sarandon
An agent once asked me, with a snide grin, if I wanted the main character of my first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother, to be played by Angelina Jolie. The answer is still no, I’d prefer Kathy Bates, but for Maven’s arch nemesis and Fairy Godmother Superior, Jolie would be exquisite. She knows how to make hard choices and how to set priorities for her own life. She is a grown woman, having intestinal fortitude, which is more important than lady parts. Someone explain this to Brittany Spears.