Thank goodness for Madhulika Sikka’s new book on breast cancer. She talks brilliantly about our new cult of breast cancer victims and survivors as being pressured to become our new contemporary Super-Woman stereotype.
There is so much insistence that women fall into this “all-powerful, self-realized, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, get my children into the right school and give great head to my husband without ever appearing vulnerable" vision of true womanhood. It’s rot. And it has so many negative ramifications.
Hell, it’s taken me years to admit that I don’t like Vagina Monologues outside my closest group of friends. I have always felt that I dare not say it. But I don’t like it. (longer story)
I’m glad that Sikka has the guts to say that we have to stop suggesting that women put aside their extraordinary fears and become these fearless combatants.
Yes, great. I want my friends to fight their cancer, and I’ve watched dear friends die from it. I do not want any of them to feel that competitive, one-up"man"ship (that women know really well how to do) over their disease. I want them to cry and carry on and do whatever they feel like they need to do to be honest about the emotions going through them.
For some women, cancer is going to kill them. And it won’t have been their fault. We need to examine where we all set women up for that. It’s shameful.