"Poor Brad" (or, Thoughts on Angelina Jolie's Breasts)

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

In case you haven’t heard yet, after discovering she had a gene that made it 87% likely she would get breast cancer, Angelina Jolie had a preventative double-mastectomy.  And I’ve been thinking about two words that have been enraging me:
“Poor Brad.”
See, because, Angelina Jolie’s tits were for Brad’s entertainment, and he had ownership of the best tits in the world, and now they’re gone.  This is a loss to Brad, you see.  As men, we should feel sympathy for him, as expressed in a very common comment left across many news sites.
At which point I try to imagine the pain of being so certain I had testicular cancer that I literally thought, “Well, it’s them or me.”  I envision the anguish of wrestling with that decision to literally neuter myself, of thinking “What if I’m in that 13%?  What if I don’t need to do this?”  All of the medical issues, the pain, that fluttering of identity when a large part what you consider Your Body gets chopped off and you have to come to terms with the fact that maybe all of you could go away.  The realization that my body would be altered in ways I might find aesthetically horrible.  The knowledge that everyone would know about this once I blogged about it.
And then I imagine seeing that comment sprayed everwhere: “Poor Gini.”
Because, you know, I’d be less useful to her without balls.  My whole goal in life is to satisfy her sexually, and if I fail at that, it’s a tragedy for my wife.  In fact, her biggest concern would doubtlessly be my lack of balls, because I had one job, and now I couldn’t do that for her.
Everything I wanted?  Fuck that.  I’m a support role for my partner’s sexual needs.  She’s the one grieving the loss, really.
…except people wouldn’t write that.  I’m a guy.  Oh, there’d be a lot of sympathy for the sex I couldn’t have, but the underlying premise is that as a male, my body serves my needs. If I want to wear a comfortable shirt that hides my pecs or makes my belly look big, then that’s my decision; I don’t have to deal with a societal pressure to display myself appropriately for the needs of others.  If I have to change my body, then that’s what I need to do.  I don’t have to consider, or sympathize with, the feelings of all the women fantasizing about me when I feel like doing what’s medically necessary.
I’m not an object for someone else’s pleasure.
Look, it’s well known that I like big breasts, and I literally cannot lie: I’ve never been shy about blogging my love of sex, or of porn.  And on those occasions women have felt generous enough to allow me the usage of their breasts for my pleasure, it’s inevitably been a wondrous occasion.
Yet I never once thought the breasts were there for me.  They were a part of my partner’s body, and she carried all of the downsides of having them – needing bras, enduring back pain, the difficulties while jogging.  When some of my lovers opted for breast reduction surgery I was supportive, because they weren’t just a pair of tits to me – they were a human being, and an unhappy one.  If reducing their breasts would make the rest of their lives better, then I wanted their lives better.
As Damien W. Grintalis said, “My guess is Brad would rather have her alive and breastless than possibly dead.”  Because a real relationship is multilayered, complex, full of all sorts of supports that go beyond HI YOU ARE SEXY FUNTIEMS NAO.  Gini and I had some difficulties getting back into the swing of sex after my triple-bypass, but I don’t think Gini once thought, “If he doesn’t get better in bed, I’m gonna have to leave him.”
Angelina Jolie was, and doubtlessly still is, a beautiful woman.  But Brad Pitt had his choice of beautiful women, and as such I assume he picked Angelina for reasons that go far beyond prettiness.  I hope he and Angelina are doing all right as they weather today’s storm of media coverage, bracing themselves for the first round of tabloid photos that are sure to arrive.  It’s gotta be a tough day for both of them.
Poor Brad?  Fuck that.  Poor Brad and Angelina.  And I hope, I hope, it gets better for the both of them.


  1. Dale
    May 15, 2013

    When I heard that she had publicly announced that she was having a double mastectomy I had several thoughts. My first was that I hoped that the information she has on her risk is accurate and she fully understands it. I would hate to see anyone undergo elective surgery on a mistake. I felt sorry for her. Sorry that she lost her mother. Sorry that she had to worry about the same risks. Sorry that she faced such a choice in which neither option is good.
    And underneath all of that I deeply admired her. She made a choice to sacrifice a part of her body, for her life and her children. There is no way the rest of us can ever be sure what was the greater motivation, but I suspect that her love of her children made the choice starkly clear. I admire her for the courage to face some things that I know I would greatly fear.
    I admire her making a public announcement. Perhaps a few more people will seek out information about their own risks. Angelina Jolie is a beautiful woman and a celebrity. And in this, she is taking an opportunity to be a role model. I wish her opportunity weren’t so difficult. She is displaying the beauty of character and courage, and the beauty of motherly love.
    I could only possibly say “Poor Brad” if he couldn’t see any of this.

  2. soapwench
    May 16, 2013

    I’m still stupified that she had preventative surgery because she MIGHT get cancer. I don’t understand that at all. That’s like…buying insurance before getting on an airplane. If you know you have the gene, then by all means, please check yearly and watch that shit closely, but why have multiple major surgeries because you MIGHT get cancer. If we’re going to do that and take antibiotics because we MIGHT get an infection then why don’t we just take all the drugs, just in case…let’s just prevent EVERYTHING.
    For some reason this whole thing pisses me off.

    • Saradevil
      May 17, 2013

      How is it your place to judge her. When you have an 87% chance of getting something, when you watched you mother, and her mother, go through multiple cancer treatments, if you know, with a fair certainty that your choices are, could you not make that decision. I’m sorry, if I had that much certainty and the fiscal wherewithal, I’d be right there. No one has any right to judge her for her decisions. And she has done many women a favor by being brave enough to talk about her decision.
      You have no right to be angry. You didn’t have to make a horrible choice and live with the repercussions and judgement of a entire planet. Lucky you, you can just sit and home and judge. For one, I think Ferret got it right, and so did Angelina.

      • Jericka
        May 18, 2013

        Also, once they find cancer, you get to get treated for it. If they find a tumor, and it is cancerous, a lumpectomy and chemo is the LEAST they will schedule for you, though sometimes radiation is in there, too.
        As someone who just went through 6 rounds of chemo, let me tell you, CHEMO SUCKS! It really, really does. I was scheduled for one of the milder chemo combinations, too. Whee! It didn’t feel mild to me. My energy was trashed. My guts couldn’t handle some foods for the week after an infusion. Hair falling out. Everything tasted weird. 6 rounds of chemo, one every three weeks.
        Next I get surgery and radiation.
        This is not a cakewalk.
        I also remember what it was like to be the child of a mom being treated for cancer. I was 11 when my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, and the whole chemo and radiation thing terrified me. I understand Angelina not wanting her kids to go through that.
        If I had known that my breasts had a 50% chance of being cancerous, I would probably have ditched them, too. 87% chance? Holy hell! Get them off!

  3. Jericka
    May 18, 2013

    I’m glad Angelina got to announce this on her terms. I appreciate her mentioning that not everyone can afford the gene testing. I appreciate her mentioning of how supportive Brad has been.
    I’m going through treatment for breast cancer right now. I have finished the chemo(YAY!!!!!) and have a mastectomy planned. After that I get radiation, as well, which would preclude reconstruction in that area at the same time as the mastectomy. They won’t be ale to use the skin from the radiated area, if I chose reconstruction; the surgeon would have to take skin from elsewhere on my body to use to recreate the breast.
    I am incredibly lucky to have a boyfriend who is more focused on MY survival than my boobs. I am also incredibly lucky that my metamour is fantastic and sat with me through most of the chemo infusions. I love them both so much.

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