Angelina’s Boobs: Cock-Equivalent?

MV5BODg3MzYwMjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU5NzAzNw@@._V1._SY314_CR20,0,214,314_I can’t believe Angelina sacrificed her boobage!

I don’t know one guy who would cut off his cock in the name of cancer-prevention. I wouldn’t!

That’s the DJ blather I had the misfortune of hearing on my morning commute the day Angelina Jolie announced her double mastectomy to prevent cancer.

It made me wonder.

Why would these guys choose their cocks over life?

And boobs are a cock-equivalent?

The male member makes babies and gives pleasure (not necessarily in that order), and eliminates waste. Breasts do just one of the three — and they are not the only route to pleasure. In fact, the clit works better.

And while men love looking at Angie’s boobs, women are less enamored of the male package, or gazing at it, anyway.

And of course, some guys think a bigger cock means a bigger man. (Not true.)

I’m not sure that women see their breasts in quite the same way. Sure, they’re seen as a sign of femininity and some women want bigger ones to feel more womanly. Yet others are secure in their femininity, regardless of size: Keira Knightley, Mila Kunis, Paris Hilton, Kate Middleton and her sister, Pipa, for instance.

And as Angelina now says,

On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.

So what about a man choosing his cock over his life? A male student of mine wrote a piece I will be posting called, “Doing dumb stuff to prove manhood.” Maybe this is an example?

But of course, breasts have been a defining trait of Angelina Jolie – take those away and there’s nothing left if you happen to be a boob-obsessed guy? A kind of death, as far as they are concerned?

Or, if a woman is defined by her boobs and her man-appeal, maybe some dudes are just pissed that a woman would think that her body and her life are for herself and not for them?

Are others just disconcerted? Angie’s hot — even without natural C-cups. How could that be?

Boobs are a big thing, but in one stroke they’ve lost a chunk of cultural power, says Alexandra Bradner at Salon,

She absolutely robbed them of their cultural, symbolic power. And what’s so completely thrilling about this, is that she did it on her own, one single woman — one single decision — against the machine.

Imagine, valuing women for themselves and not for their breasts. For some, that is plenty disconcerting. No wonder there’s a bit of a backlash on the man-o-sphere.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on May 17, 2013, in body image, feminism, objectification, psychology, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. This is a grood article about our marketing-“man”-ufactured cultural quirks around body image and body part attitudes. But what I like best is your word “man-o-sphere”. Another good one, my friend. 🙂

  2. Georgia–I work for two cancer hospitals that test genetically for breast cancer genes. Hell, yes, women make this choice on a daily/weekly basis, and choose to lose their breasts in favor of their lives. I salute them, and we all should, as well. As this form of breast cancer is hereditary, these women have seen their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and cousins die of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene-associated breast cancers. Not a good way to go. Most women who carry the gene also go on to have their ovaries removed, as those two genes carry an increased lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. To not choose life over organs not necessary for survival is bullshit, and anyone who says they would not have their male/female equipment touched if they had cancer is clearly not a survivor. Men have surgery to remove their testicles and, yes, in some cases, to have some (or all) of their penis removed to stop cancer from killing them.

    People reacting as above are, however, suffering from another terminal illness–complete and total stupidity.

    All that being said, there are counselors who work with cancer survivors (and people who go through preventive mastectomy, as well) to help deal with the social and psychological impact of these surgeries on the rest of their (hopefully long and healthy) lives. Thanks for sharing this.

    • I’m sure that if these fool-guys actually had cancer and needed to have a “man-part” removed they would.

      Still, their comments are suggestive of something unfortunate in our culture as they deride a woman’s very significant decision.

      • They most certainly do, and it sickens me. Reminds me of a passage from “valley of the Dolls” where a woman killed herself rather than face mastectomy.

      • Yes. That is thought-provoking.

      • Peter Pagrefor

        It’s called testicular cancer but it isn’t mentioned in the media as much as the breast cancer.
        I have seen men wearing a pink ribbon and supporting rallies for the awareness of the breast cancer, which is very good.
        But there are not many women that care about testicular cancer.

      • Maybe that’s because

        1) more women die of breast cancer
        2) men are motivated to save the ta ta’s
        3) men need to advocate and educate more

      • Peter Pagrefor

        You could ask your students. How many female students would care and support a rally about testicular cancer.
        They would give the most bizzare look “why would I even care about that”

      • I should ask my male students if they care to support a rally about ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer… They would give the most bizarre look “why would I even care about that”

  3. I think your being unkind to men here – after all, if they lose their penis what are they going to think with! It’s a hard choice.

  4. I love the point you make about a woman’s body and her life being for men, not for themselves. As if Angelina should die of cancer just so these guys can enjoy her breasts a few months longer. I get the feeling that most of the women in the gym are shaping their bodies for the pleasure of men, not for their health. I could be wrong. It would be interesting to study. Certainly, eating disorders place a women’s attract-ability (I’m assuming attraction to men) over their health.

  5. Rohan 7 Things

    God, I don’t know why anyone would be bothered having a strong negative reaction against this. Surely there’s more important things to worry about in their own lives. Journalists and “shock jocks” I can understand though, they just want the ratings and hits.

    Anyone who thinks a cock is in anyway representative/equivalent of/to breasts is either incredibly ignorant (and therefore should be ignored) or trying to incite some kind of reaction (and therefore should be ignored).

    It’s nobodies business but hers. That’s my opinion on it anyway.

    Rohan.

  6. I think it is pretty ignorant for anybody to think having bigger breasts is more important than someones life. I can see how difficult it can be to make a decision like this when the media is constantly waiting to point out anything that goes against the social norm. I do think though that if any woman could do this and not be completely criticized it’s Angelina. She is already at the top among celebrities and is still popular.

  7. Yes! i just seen this on the news a few mornings ago and i couldnt believe my ears! Honestly, i think you really need to be a strong and self confidence kind of woman to do such a thing like this. I do not in any way think that it was a bad idea. Angelina now has kids and if she did this to save her health in possible future problems then i think it was a wonderful idea. The fact that she is probably wanting to save her life for her children. It is very true that many men only look at women because of her breasts and a lot of women want them to be showing off or to look big! Its obviously all for the attention which i think is sad! A women is a beautiful living being and theres more to her than her breasts. Recently i’ve had a conversation with my sister-N- law about her wanting to get fake breasts because hers are not “big” enough. I told her i thought the idea was dumb! She responded to me and said no, just because yours are big you may think its dumb, but it helps me and other ladies have self confidence. She said to me for example, you want to have a flat stomach to feel good about yourself, well for me getting bigger breasts will make me feel better. I completely disagree because losing weight in the end it is still your natural body you just worked hard to feel and look better. On the other hand getting bigger breasts are fake and there changing your body! Completely different in my opinion. As for men, i dont EVER think i have heard a story where they have cut there penis off. I know a lot of men who have visectamies but thats still different from removing the whole object. I admire Angelina for what she has done! She has proved to me that she is a strong individual and she isn’t afraid to lose any self confidence!

  8. I’ll admit, a certain part of me WAS disappointed she did it. No, that’s not right. I was disappointed that it happened, but not that she did it. The difference is small, but I think that the distinction is important.

    Anyone who pays attention to Angelina Jolie knows there’s a lot more to her than just being willing to flaunt a pretty body in badly written action movies. Her activism is well noted, as is her talent. That said… she IS also a beautiful woman, she knows it, and she isn’t afraid to take advantage of it. By the standards of current society – of which I am a member – she will likely be less beautiful afterward than before.

    It remains to be seen whether or not that will have an effect on her career.

    I do wonder what goes through the mind of the people who claim they’d sooner die than go without a penis, though. Protip: If you don’t have a penis, you have a harder time participating in activities that require one. If you’re dead, it’s impossible to participate in activities that require a penis.

    In the “impossible versus difficult” equation, I’ll pick difficult every time.

  9. It’s quite depressing that some people are more concerned by a celebrity removing her breasts for her own health, than by the fact that thousands of girls lose their clits everyday for religious/cultural reasons.against their will. Now THAT’S the equivalent of losing your penis, you fools!

  10. Peter Pagrefor

    Α woman having her clit removed would be a terrible, horrible thing.
    But a man having his penis removed would be even worse. How could he possibly reproduce? It’s utilitarian organ.

    • Women have their clit’s — and more — removed in some cultures. It’s painful, and where they lack antibiotics, about 1/3 die. When they die, they can’t reproduce.

      Many of the rest are crippled and live their lives in pain. Sex is painful if more is removed. Wedding night, groom cuts her. She’s in pain, blood all over. He has an orgasm.

      Google fgm.

  11. Definitely life before boobs. Even though women are so defined by there breasts, they don’t need to be. I believe that you are just as much a woman with or without them. It is pretty shallow to believe anything else. Anytime you have to lose something it can be vey painful, not only physically but emotionally. I think what she did was brave and instead of 100% supporting her decision people are acting like she’s crazy for getting rid of her best feature. Really? Health comes before anything else. I’m sure it was a tough decision for her, but one that can help her out in the long run. Breast cancer is a real issue and one that can be very devastating. When you faced with such a serious matter, you do what you have to do. You have to think of what is best, not just what you want.

  12. I agree that a woman does not view her breasts the same way that a man views his cock. The way a man defines his manhood is by the size of his cock, therefore most men believe that if he no longer has one, then he is no longer a man. Angie knew that removing her breasts would save her life. She was alright with the fact of loosing them because she knew she would still be able to live life even if it meant she no longer had breasts. She did not define her women hood by her breasts so she was able to make the difficult decision to part with them. However, to a man, his cock is everything, and removing that piece of him would be removing a part of his life. He just would not be able to bare such an unfathomable idea.

  13. F. Naghiniarami

    when it comes to our health consequences, beauty has no place unless that person who choose beauty over her/ his health is suffering from extreme mental illness. so, I believe Angelina made a wise and rewarding decision in order to take care of her family and herself. Boobs might not or might be a cock- equivalent. however, it has nothing to do with femininity in some point that our health is the first priority and that is same for men and their manhood even if a man couldn’t get his sexual arousal for ever anymore. Off course that is dumb to don’t cut off the sick part of the body because of proving manhood. I’m wonder is there still these kind of stupid people in the world?

  14. Part of the trouble here, of course, is that we perceive celebrities as owned objects as much as genuine people. Angelina Jolie’s a talented actor and does a great deal of good work, but the core of her celebrity rests largely on her ‘sex goddess’ looks, an image of unreal perfection that we want to keep intact and worship. So we resent real life for taking control of her away from us.

    The penis is a core part of male self-identity. We obsess about our cocks, especially their size – whether we should or not. We worry about sexual prowess, the ability to get hard and stay hard and control the point of orgasm to make sure we can satisfy our partners. The idea of losing the penis terrifies us. The thought of testicular cancer or any kind of cancer there is too horrifying to contemplate… and so we don’t. It will never happen, and even to joke about it will bring a shiver of fear.

    Are boobs a cock-equivalent? Of course not. But… is the created divinity of Angelina’s body equivalent to the created divinity of the penis?

    I can’t answer that – the question is too disturbing even to ask. But that is the state of unreality that lets a man say, “I don’t know one guy who would cut off his cock in the name of cancer-prevention. I wouldn’t!”

    However, smack a man across the face with the reality of cancer, and everything changes.

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