What is the appropriate response to a celebrity making public the details of their private life - especially one who has been so outspoken of her right to privacy in the past?
Angelina Jolie's op-ed column for The New York Times, in which she announces and explains her decision to have a preventative double-mastectomy, is laudable for its candidness. And whilst the majority of responses have been supportive and impressed by her bravery the question hovers, unspoken, behind many of them: how does her fame impact motivations for speaking publicly about this?
Whilst it's true that Jolie's experience will be different (in some regards at least) to that of most women in the same position, to write off her story as inapplicable seems uncharitable. This is not a move calculated to draw attention to the actress but to the issue. It's commendable that a notoriously private individual is willing to expose herself in this way in service of increasing awareness of the possibilities of modern test methods and preventative measures. It is flawed logic to claim that it's only news because it's Angelina Jolie, when it is precisely her notoriety that she has leveraged. And to good ends.