@MandyMcAwesome Oh don't worry, you're right. I'm washing my hands of the situation. Hopefully there'll be another tough girl in his classes to keep fighting him in class, but I'm done with him.
And @Ragged But Right, Thanks! I think taking these people are life lessons in combating sexism is probably the best way to look at them.
@Dirty Hands Haha so tempted to reply that.
@TheLetterL Thank you :)
@fata morgana So here's our conversation:
Hi Mr. ----,
Hope the end of the year is treating you well.
I saw an op-ed (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?_r=0) today in the New York Times that reminded me of you and the Bioethics class I took back when I was a senior at St. E's. I don't know if you remember my class's segment on prophylactic mastectomies–– we did some readings and watched a video clip of a married woman, the mother of two children, who had the surgeries in her forties, after a genetic screening showed that she was likely to develop cancer, like her mother and grandmother and sister had. You said it was a fine choice, or maybe even a good one, but that you "guaranteed" that if she hadn't been married, she would not have decided to do it, because she would have struggled to find a husband post-mastectomy. When I told you that I was sure many women would prefer to live a long, healthy life than be a sickly pinup, you told me that though it might come as a surprise to me, "some women actually like looking attractive."
Now that Ms. Jolie has come forward to talk about this, saying that it was awful, but necessary, and that she "do[es] not feel any less of a woman," I hope that you'll reconsider your thoughts about prophylactic mastectomies. Ms. Jolie used her platform as a very famous woman, noted for her beauty as well as her talent, to say, "I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."
Bioethics with you was a very thought-provoking class, and I really did learn a lot. I hope that the young women who are taking it with you now and in the future are also finding it an intellectually challenging class, and I hope that they aren't receiving the message that they should prioritize their desirability above their health.
Again, thanks for all you did as my teacher. I hope the end of the year goes smoothly and that you enjoy the summer.
And here's what he said:
Hi fata morgana... It's great to hear from you and also it is nice that you remembered my class and considered it worthwhile. I remember the tape of the 2 sisters very well.
I personally do not think that breasts or for that matter any physical body part should define a woman, man or any person. That would to me be shallow. However as that tape showed, the younger
Sister did not share that sentiment. If it were I, I would definitely choose the operation and life over having breasts. However, I will still maintain that there are those who would disagree with both of us and maintain that cutting off healthy tissue is primitive . Unfortunately we live in a society that puts a premium on "looks". I guess that is why it was an interesting discussion.. because there is no 'right' answer.
It was great to see Ms. Jolie tell her story but wouldn't you agree that she is not the typical woman in looks, lifestyle and economic wealth??
It really is great to know that our class discussions have stayed with you.
Keep in Touch
DONE. I'll tell you all if I get a response...
What an impressive and brave use of her fame!
When I was in high school, I took a bioethics class where the teacher was a real tool. We were talking about prophylactic mastectomies, specifically the case of a woman in a 20/20 segment or something, who chose to have the procedure done in her forties, as a married mother of 2. My teacher said "It's a fine choice, but I guarantee if she wasn't married, she wouldn't have done it. If she were still trying to catch a man, she wouldn't want to be damaged goods." (I swear. Who is this man????) So I raised my hand and said, "I think lots of women would rather be alive and healthy than a dying pin-up." He said, "You may not know this, fata morgana, but some women actually like looking attractive." I shut him up by staring him down and asking him to repeat that so I would have the wording right when I told my parents, but still! I was 15, and we were in an all-girl's school. So unacceptable.
Now that AJ has come forward and told this story, I'm seriously considering emailing him the link with a little comment recapping our conversation and saying something like, "I hope you're no longer giving the girls the impression their sex appeal should come before their health."
@fata morgana She would also sometimes scold us for talking or not paying attention by saying we'd never make it on Broadway.
Aileen Quinn is the daughter of my middle school drama club teacher. She used to come and direct all our (very very dinky) school plays and musicals and we all though it was a huge deal. She was really sweet and friendly, but also possibly milked the image of herself as a big time movie star? I guess having 20 awkward Catholic children be completely starstruck around you can be kind of seductive.
@darklingplain Hugs. I am so sorry.
OMG, this is fantastic. Please do one for Private Practice too!