Location

BTSU 314

Start Date

27-3-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

27-3-2015 11:30 AM

Description

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers; yet public discourse about and understanding of the disease is limited. Metaphors used to discuss the ovaries and ovarian cancer may have a role to play in the limited public discourse about the disease. In this article, I offer a critical analysis of the limited visibility for ovarian cancer in the public sphere using Angelina Jolie’s case as an example. Jolie announced in 2013 that she had had double mastectomy and may in the future remove her ovaries because of an inherited faulty BRCA1 gene and a family history of cancer. I argue that presentation of Jolie’s decision as coming from an informed woman who understood her medical choices, coupled with public perception of the breast as a symbol of sexuality, made the public to be more receptive of the decision. I contend further, however, that making her plan for preventative treatment of ovarian cancer secondary to that of breast cancer even though her risk of dying from ovarian cancer is higher, points to current public notions of ovarian cancer. The breasts are sexualized in American culture hence the “heavy” media presence of Jolie’s mastectomy but an absence of public discourse about ovarian cancer. By using Angelina Jolie’s situation as a case in point, I do not mean to suggest that her decision was right or wrong; neither am I advocating for removal of healthy ovaries. I am only using her case to highlight how current discussion (or non-discussion) of ovarian cancer does little to bring the severity of the disease to the public radar.

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Mar 27th, 10:30 AM Mar 27th, 11:30 AM

Panel 2: Angelina Jolie’s ovaries: Influence of metaphors of the ovary and ovarian cancer on public discourse of ovarian cancer

BTSU 314

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers; yet public discourse about and understanding of the disease is limited. Metaphors used to discuss the ovaries and ovarian cancer may have a role to play in the limited public discourse about the disease. In this article, I offer a critical analysis of the limited visibility for ovarian cancer in the public sphere using Angelina Jolie’s case as an example. Jolie announced in 2013 that she had had double mastectomy and may in the future remove her ovaries because of an inherited faulty BRCA1 gene and a family history of cancer. I argue that presentation of Jolie’s decision as coming from an informed woman who understood her medical choices, coupled with public perception of the breast as a symbol of sexuality, made the public to be more receptive of the decision. I contend further, however, that making her plan for preventative treatment of ovarian cancer secondary to that of breast cancer even though her risk of dying from ovarian cancer is higher, points to current public notions of ovarian cancer. The breasts are sexualized in American culture hence the “heavy” media presence of Jolie’s mastectomy but an absence of public discourse about ovarian cancer. By using Angelina Jolie’s situation as a case in point, I do not mean to suggest that her decision was right or wrong; neither am I advocating for removal of healthy ovaries. I am only using her case to highlight how current discussion (or non-discussion) of ovarian cancer does little to bring the severity of the disease to the public radar.