[Marxism] Counterpunch at a new sexist low, still digging

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Fri May 17 21:46:19 MDT 2013


I don't know what the required genetic tests cost now but I do know that at
the 2011 NES one company was demonstrating a machine about the size of a
large refrigerator that cost about $100,000 and could sequence a human
genome in about an hour, so those costs are bound to becoming down and
drastically.

If Ruth Fowler's whole critique rests on how expensive the tests are, it
will soon find itself along side the complaint that color TV is too
expensive for the working man.

But don't get me started on Fowler, she was a nightmare at Occupy LA.


On Fri, May 17, 2013 at 8:28 AM, Dan R <proletariandan at gmail.com> wrote:

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> https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10151448011833589&id=172470146144666&comment_id=26085153&reply_comment_id=26092078&offset=0&total_comments=44&notif_t=share_comment
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> http://socialistworker.org/2013/05/16/they-owe-women-an-apology
>
> Why CounterPunch owes women an apology
>
> Sharon Smith argues that Angelina Jolie deserves better than derisive and
> sexist "humor" for making public a health decision that all women dread
> being faced with.
>
> May 16, 2013
>
> Angelina Jolie
>
> BREAST CANCER is no laughing matter--certainly not for the roughly 232,340
> U.S. women who will be diagnosed with it this year, or the 39,620 women
> expected to die from it.
>
> Yet the editors over at the CounterPunch website were apparently guffawing
> over Angelina Jolie's recent decision to undergo a preventative double
> mastectomy. Their e-mail promo for an article posted on the site on May 14
> reads: "Ruth Fowler unsnaps Angelina Jolie's bra and exposes privilege,
> health care and tits." Presto! A double mastectomy morphs into locker room
> fodder.
>
> Fowler's article never actually mentions the word "tits." But like smirking
> adolescents, the editors insert it yet again in their contemptuous title:
> "Angelina Jolie Under the Knife: Of Privilege, Health Care and Tits." One
> can almost hear them howling with laughter at their own perceived
> cleverness. Presumably they also laughed their way through Seth McFarlane's
> sophomoric "We saw your boobs" spoof at the Academy Awards, while millions
> of women cringed.
>
> But using boob jokes to introduce an article about undergoing a double
> mastectomy to prevent a potentially deadly disease constitutes a descent
> from sexism to misogyny.
>
> Like so many Hollywood actresses, the sexual objectification of Jolie's own
> face and body has been a key component of her fame. Jolie should certainly
> be commended for her courage in choosing to make her double mastectomy
> public--in order to help reassureother women confronting the possibility or
> reality of mastectomy to understand that losing one or both of their
> breasts does not mean losing their sexuality. In her May 14 op-ed piece in
> the New York Times, she wrote, "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."
>
> In a society as sexist as ours, in which women are so often judged in
> relation to the perceived desirability of their individual body parts--as
> if in suspended animation from the rest of their personhood--this message
> could not be more timely.
>
> The essence of this message is entirely lost on the CounterPunch gang. They
> seem blissfully unconcerned that their own use of the degrading term "tits"
> is yet more evidence of the damaging impact of the sexual objectification
> of women. The fact that they do so under the guise of left-wing commentary
> only compounds this damage.
>
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>
> FOWLER'S ARTICLE is devoid of boob jokes, but is also teeming with contempt
> toward Jolie.
>
> Fowler ridicules Jolie for "your elaborately reconstructed chest and your
> incredible bravery in submitting to top-end, essential preventive
> treatments in order to avoid a painful and abhorrent death," as if Jolie
> endured multiple surgeries over a period of months as a colossal act of
> narcissism.
>
> But Angelina Jolie made the decision to undergo a double mastectomy because
> she heard the news that every woman dreads: She tested positive for a
> faulty BRCA1 gene, which gave her an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a
> 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. The fact that her mother died of ovarian
> cancer after a nearly 10-year struggle at the age of 56 is a further
> indication of what the future would likely hold.
>
> One might reasonably ask why Jolie has been singled out for such scorn.
> Fowler's article uses reverse (some might even say reactionary) logic: She
> disparages those who do have access to quality medical care instead of
> demanding that all women gain access to the same standard of care. Thus,
> Fowler dismisses the option of genetic testing in asking: "[W]hat good is
> knowing that there's a test out there only privileged rich people can get?"
> This is bad advice for women facing the possibility that they carry a
> defective gene.
>
> Jolie is far from silent on the issue of access. As she argued in her op-ed
> piece:
>
> Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the
> World Health Organization, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. It
> has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing
> and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background,
> wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than
> $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.
>
> Fowler dismisses Jolie's comments above as offering merely "a trifling nod"
> to class inequality, asking, "Why don't you raise our awareness of your own
> overpriced, privileged medical treatment a little more, and continue to NOT
> raise awareness of any actual fact?" Yet since Jolie's op-ed was published,
> the Internet has been abuzz with debate and discussion about this important
> subject, demonstrating that Jolie has indeed opened a much-needed
> conversation.
>
> Fowler's resentment is misplaced. Hollywood actors neither created nor can
> resolve the health care crisis. That responsibility lies squarely with the
> medical-industrial complex, including its government lackeys, who sustain
> the class disparities of the for-profit health care system. The conditions
> are ripe for a movement that demands health care for all, but it must take
> aim at the appropriate targets to be effective.
>
> It should not be difficult to understand why millions of women who, facing
> an epidemic of breast cancer, breathed a sigh of relief on May 14 upon
> reading Jolie's honest and eloquent account of removing her breasts to save
> her life.
>
> And I strongly suggest that those who find her struggle amusing lift their
> snouts out of the trough long enough to discover why so many women are not
> laughing. An ounce of empathy for women's health and dignity would go a
> long way.
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-- 
Clay Claiborne, Director
Vietnam: American Holocaust <http://VietnamAmericanHolocaust.com>
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