Stories about the victimization of women have been so prevalent of late—from the rising number of assaults in the military to the awful Cleveland case—that Anne Taylor Fleming has been both disgusted and infuriated when catching up on the news, she writes at Reuters. And then along comes Angelina Jolie with her brave, "breathtaking" op-ed piece explaining that she had a double mastectomy. This was "a woman refusing to be a victim, refusing to live in fear with a sword of Damocles hanging over her head," writes Fleming. "She doesn’t know she would get the cancer. Nobody knows. But she wasn’t going to hold her breath and wait for the sword to drop."
Jolie's vibrant life, from the nutty stunts, to her career as an actress and director, to her serious work with the UN, should be an inspiration to all women that they don't have to be "pigeonholed"—that they have choices, medical and otherwise. Jolie reminds us "that life is big and should be; that you can love kids you adopt as much as those you give birth to, that you can risk looking foolish and gorgeous all at the same time; that having your breasts off does not reduce your femininity, and that you had better look for a life partner who supports you in the choices you make." Plus the big one: "That you don't have to live in fear." Click for the full column. (Read more Angelina Jolie stories.)