My beautiful friends, sisters, angels and salty mistresses alike… I know it’s the same old song but trust me.. it could save your life. About 12% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives, many of whom will have a mastectomy to remove one or both of their breasts. My mother has had a double mastectomy and each generation of women in my family before her - have battled breast cancer.
Please download the free “check yourself” app by The Keep A Breast Foundation in the app store and commit to always loving your boobies. Be aware, get educated and save your own life // ✿
Frustrated. Degraded. Belittled. That’s how I felt after he left the room, a man whom we had invited to celebrate International Women’s Day with, but it unfortunately seemed as though he had missed the message. This, however, was last year.
This year, I organized an IWD event at the local Women’s Center (Nedi Neswi) and invited a powerful woman: my real mom. My parents’ visit lined up so well with the event that I just had to take advantage of that. We facilitated a breast cancer awareness workshop, which I hope I made a little more relatable to the women by telling them my mom’s story, and she then showed them how to do self-checks. I told them that she is a two-time survivor of breast cancer, had had a mastectomy, but was now very healthy and happy. I encouraged them that they should not be afraid to get a mammogram every year, as they are free in Tata, and they could save their lives, like they did my mom’s. And of course we had a tea party complete with a language-free knitting tutorial from momma.
I see the stark difference between these two IWD events as a milestone in my service. Last year at this time, I was a trainee, close to the end of the stressful and exhausting CBT period. We hadn’t planned anything for IWD, but our teacher insisted we host some sort of event. Last minute, we invited a girl from town who attended university in Fez, and a male community-member who spoke English, to drink tea and talk about the feminist movement in Morocco. To put it simply, this man was not a fan of the movement. I won’t go into detail.
Fast-forward to my current service. Lately I’ve found myself thinking a lot about women’s and girls’ empowerment work. I’ve learned more about my community’s history of girls’ access to education and marriage patterns. For example, I just recently learned that girls started going to school in my town in 1995. That’s the year I started kindergarten. Had I grown up in my town, would I have been in that first co-ed class? Would my parents have allowed me to go to school, or would it have been considered a radical thing? Probably the latter, as I know many women my age who are illiterate mothers. Putting things into that perspective has motivated me more than ever to focus my youth development work specifically on girls. This doesn’t mean I’m not still working with boys, because a girl’s access to education is just as important as the boy or man’s opinion of it. Here’s a story that made me realize that.
In late February, I started thinking about different activities for IWD (I wanted to do an event at the Dar Chebab as well as the event the Nedi Neswi, since the latter would be more of a women’s health event.) I had couscous lunch at one of my English student’s houses, an 18-year old girl named Kenza. After we had sat with her family under the warm sun and spooned my moist, flavorful couscous in my mouth, as the other women and girls balled it up with their hands and then popped it into their mouths, Kenza’s mother took out her Arabic textbook. The mosque has started literacy classes for women, since they certainly missed the boat on starting school before 1995. There’s also an association in town where a young girl, university educated, volunteers teaching literacy. My host mom has been going this whole year, and took me once, which proved itself a fun social gathering complete with gossip, laughter, and a little bit of Arabic reading.
Fatima’s studying encouraged Kenz’a to grab her English textbook and review vocab with me. The unit they had started just so happened to be called “Women and Power,” so it was a perfect segue into brainstorming ideas for an IWD event. I was pleased that despite my limited vocabulary on the topic of women’s rights (most advanced words here use FusHa, the standard Arabic they learn in school), we had a productive conversation about the issue.
We talked about how even though most women in town don’t have jobs, most American women do. We talked about how the public opinion toward women leaving the house and working in Morocco is changing, and more young women are starting to work. When we got this far, I’m thinking wow, this is so great, we are really getting somewhere! But then I asked her about herself.
“Like you, right? You’re going to take the BAC and go to college and, inchallah, get a job.”
“No, no,” Kenza answered. “Baba doesn’t want me to go to college. He says I can finish high school, but no college.”
I was pretty surprised about this, since Kenza is one of three daughters. Public universities are free in Morocco, and Tata even has free transportation to Agadir for university students. I know many girls in town who have taken advantage of this. Wouldn’t Kenza’s father want at least one of them to have a good education, start a good career, and support the family? But their father also has three sons, Kenza reminded me. She said, “My little brother will go to college inchallah. But not me.”
This little conversation really stayed with me, after I left Kenza’s house, thanked and kissed her mother, and said I’d be back again soon. I thought about her two younger sisters, who are both in my Kid’s Art Club. I had recently given them the assignment of drawing themselves ten years from now, to encourage goal-setting. Knowing what I now knew about their inability to go to university made my activity seem almost cruel. It made me think about all the other activities, or just conversations, I had had with little girls, simply assuming that they will have the opportunities other girls in town, or other girls in Morocco, have had. When the reality is, they just might not.
Now it seems almost each month I learn that one of my female students is committed to marry another boy in another town. So even if they do get that university education, will their husband let them work instead of starting a family right away? Another experience that left a bad taste in my mouth happened with my neighbor, Soukayna. She’s twenty, which is the closest-aged friend I’ve got since I spend most of my time with girls under 18 or women over 40. Back in October, I had sat in her house sipping tea and telling her I was just about to go to the Nedi. She asked me about a million questions, like, what did I do there, was I learning to sew, how much did it cost to joint, etc. I convinced her come with me and see for herself. And she did! She spoke with the director’s daughter, and told her she’d pay the 50 dirhams if only to get a chance to leave the house every day. When a few days later I found out that she had actually joined, I felt a twinge of pride. This was back in October, mind you, when I hadn’t started much work I was particularly proud of. So I took this one concrete success I could claim I had some part in. She would learn a trade that maybe she would continue throughout her life, and maybe, in my wildest dreams, earn some income from it. For a few solid months Soukayna went Mondays through Fridays and learned how to sew and crochet.
But one day on our walk there, she told me she had a secret.
A boy in another town, whom she had never met, wanted to marry her. But don’t tell anyone, Malak, because he hasn’t asked his mother yet. He had seen a picture of her from her older brother who lived in his town for work. I couldn’t help but feel a little crushed. In the nicest way possible, I asked “But you don’t know him. Is this what you want?” She said yes.
So that was that. A few weeks later the 23-year old boy came to her house with his parents and presented her with two silver rings and two suitcases full of beautiful handmade clothes. The engagement was official.
Since these little experiences, I’ve been more attentive to my girls. I ask more questions. I don’t want to assume or offend. Just because I can’t imagine marrying young and missing out on a career doesn’t mean that’s what other girls want too. Or if they do dream about that, it may only dwell in their minds as distant fantasies. But a big part of me does want to shake the men just a little bit and make them see that their daughters deserve the same level of opportunities as their sons.
But I can’t really do that kind of work as a Peace Corps Volunteer, now can I? I can’t change fathers’ perspectives. I can’t change their culture. So instead, I continue with my work and just hope I’m electrifying the right spark in the right heart, motivating the right girl in the right ways. And even if I’m not, even if at the end of it all my work has no effect on their future, I’m still bringing them joy and laughter, of the same kind that the women a generation before them seek at the literacy classes, like my host-mom.
My site-mate and I did end up doing another IWD event at the Dar Chebab. We showed a movie in Darija, made by PCVs a few years ago, about five women around the country who had created their own jobs by identifying need within their communities. We had an inspiring discussion afterword with both women, girls, boys, and men. With events like these, coupled with the changing global climate of women’s rights and access to education, we can only hope that, shwiya b shwiya, little by little, the global value of girl’s education will shift. I personally can only hope that the daughters of these girls will not face any of the challenges their mothers know.
I don’t want my words to offend any males, or any population at all. I understand that not all males hold the beliefs I have discussed, and many are big advocates for women’s rights in Morocco. I have no doubt that fathers of Morocco love their daughters just as much as their sons. I do not meant to sound like I am judging any cultural beliefs.
Women’s History Month Trivia: I’m a mother of 6 children. I had the courage to have a double mastectomy and get my ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed to reduce my risk of breast and ovarian cancer. I was brave to share my journey with the world so other women with the same risks can explore their options. Who I’m I?
With Women History Month coming to a close, we wanted to raise a toast to all women known and unknown who exhibit courage and bravery everyday. Here’s to you gapmusers!
Diary of a Surgery - LOS ANGELES - TWO years ago I wrote ... (Angelina Jolie Pitt/New York Times)
Angelina Jolie Pitt / New York Times: Diary of a Surgery — LOS ANGELES — TWO years ago I wrote about my choice to have a preventive double mastectomy. A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
At the end of the show this woman came up to me and shared how she used to have breast cancer and had just gotten a mastectomy a few days prior to the benefit tonight. She thanked me and said she felt like my poetry spoke directly to her. It’s easy to forget just how powerful we really are. Here’s to all the warriors out there who have survived and beat cancer. So honored to have helped contribute to tonight’s wonderful event in support of weSPARK.org. Onward in solidarity.
The Independent Hollywood star Angelina Jolie wrote a “harrowing” screenplay a few lady who has a double mastectomy as a result of her mom is dying of breast most cancers, 16 years earlier than she underwent the operation herself. Jolie wrote the screenplay entitled Skins again in … EIGHT members of Angelina Jolie’s household have fallen sufferer to lethal most cancers geneDaily Mail Jolie…
Angelina Jolie is such a great mother. She’s so supportive of her kids, you can tell that they’re always at the forefront of her mind.
When she had a double mastectomy last year and then a couple of weeks ago when she had ovaries removed a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t get over how brave and inspirational she is. She said she wanted to be sure that she was never going to be in any danger of leaving her kids because of cancer and that’s incredible.
I don’t think I’d be able to do that in all honesty, I just think she’s an incredible woman. With her child John as well she’s been so brilliant as well, her and Brad haven’t made a huge fuss about it and instead have left John to lead John’s life as John sees fit and that’s really commendable parenting. I think it’s so brilliant that they haven’t come forward and said ‘John’s transgender’ or ‘Shiloh’s going through a phase’ or released a statement at all. It just makes me so happy. John’s just doing John and obvs Brad and Angelina are happy to leave it so if and when John is ready to talk about who John is, John can.
Just 10/10 parenting. I mean, even her wedding dress. They are both so family orientated and it’s such a beautiful thing to see.
I AM ANGRY THAT I HAD A RELAPSE IN SMOKING. I AM ANGRY THAT THERE IS STILL SNOW ON THE GROUND. I AM ANGRY THAT I AM SO PREOCCUPIED WITH THE FACT THAT MY BOY IS GRADUATING SOON THAT I CAN’T ENJOY THE PRESENT. I AM ANGRY THAT MY FINANCES ARE SO LOW. I AM ANGRY THAT MY FACE WON’T CLEAR UP. I AM ANGRY THAT EVERYONE AROUND ME HAS NICE SHIT AND I DON’T. I AM ANGRY THAT I’M HERE PLAYING COLLEGE WHILE MY GRANDMA IS HAVING A MASTECTOMY AND I CAN’T BE WITH HER. I AM ANGRY THAT MY MEDS MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR ME TO STAY ERECT AND EVEN MORE DIFFICULT TO ORGASM. I AM ANGRY THAT I AM ON MEDS. I AM ANGRY THAT I DON’T SEE MORE DOGS ON A DAILY BASIS.
wowie kablowie that felt very very very goody good. time to let this negativity flow away ~~~~!!!
This Is a salute to all #strongwomen out there who makes every Day choices, and fight to make a better World, No matter how big their accomplishmets and results at the end are! 😇👏 …It is not all just #beauty and #talent. #AngelinaJolie is simply a phenomenal woman, overwhelming and stupefying. She is the only A-list #actress who has no publicist, and has more than l5 #tattoos all over her body and keeps getting more. One of her early #arabictattoos is the #Arabic word “ #AlAzima ”, meaning ‘strength and will’. As for #publicity she provides enough every time she steps out of her door and when she does, it is most likely she is heading for some strange place where people are suffering.
Angelina has stunned the world once again by announcing that she underwent a preventative double-mastectomy as well as a hysterectomy and oophorectomy ( #removaloftheovaries ), after discovering she was #BRCA positive. Though not a common procedure, Jolie’s choice was hailed by the medical community, the #Hollywood community, all #cancer victims or family members who have watched a loved one die of the disease. Sometimes i wish My mother where that strong, And we would have a Chance to Discovery her cancer earlier… God bless her 😇👏 …. “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” #AlbertSchweitzer (1875-1965) #bestoftheday #likes #instalike #instadaily #picOfTheDay #photoOfTheDay #Beautiful #amazing #artist #swag #tbh #woman
LancasterOnline Sisters Jen Garman and Lonnie Kopcha helped each other through their double mastectomies. Both carry a genetic mutation and have a family history that increases their risk for getting cancer. Buy this photo. Did You Know? THE ANGELINA EFFECT:. Angelina Jolie Cancer Surgery News: ActressHas Ovaries,…
Le cancer du sein est une maladie qui peut souvent se soigner par des radiothérapies. Malheureusement, au Venezuela, ce traitement n’est plus une option pour de nombreuses femmes à cause de la crise financière touchant le pays. Une situation qui rend impossible le remplacement de matériel cassé et oblige ainsi les médecins à réaliser des mastectomies en série.
Angelina Jolie's 1999 screenplay features 'harrowing' double-mastectomy - 16 years before her own
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie wrote a “harrowing” screenplay about a woman who has a double mastectomy because her mother is dying of breast cancer, 16 years before she underwent the operation herself.
things i know about my gender identity (probably):
i want top surgery if not a double mastectomy and chest contouring then a breast reduction i am heavily considering hrt but i don’t feel comfortable deciding on that until much later i like she/her but i also like he/him pronouns im not interested in bottom surgery i dont think i could ever comfortably call myself a transman because i dont think that im 100% male so i think genderfluid might be a good id until a later date and until im more confident in my feelings presenting masculine makes me feel comfortable and happy not wearing a tight sports bra makes me really uncomfortable and upset (going to invest in a binder for sure)