Miss DC doesn’t deserve hate


By Holly New

Sometimes looks aren’t everything.

Allyn Rose isn’t the typical woman. Aside from holding a B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland, being a four-sport All-Conference player and a champion a competitive ice skating, she was crowned Miss District of Columbia in 2012. Despite the fact that she competed in the Miss America pageant Saturday, Rose has generated quite the buzz over something else entirely: her decision to undergo a double preventive mastectomy.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a “preventive mastectomy (also called prophylactic or risk-reducing mastectomy) is the surgical removal of one or both breasts in an effort to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer.”

Rose decided to have this operation because she lost her mother, grandmother and great aunt to breast cancer. Because her mother was first diagnosed when she was 27, Rose decided a preventive mastectomy was her best chance for survival.

However, the saddest part of this story is not her potential for developing breast cancer. Instead, it is how Rose has received hate mail because of her decision.

Some tell her that what she is doing is self-mutilating, while others think it is more important for her to keep her figure intact. The worst, however, are those who accuse her of undergoing the operation simply for the publicity. They accuse her of using her situation to make her more “media-friendly.”

Alternatively, Rose is using her ironic situation to raise awareness for breast cancer. Rose has established a very successful pageantry career that is dependent on the way she looks. Altering her looks will most likely end that career, but that is a risk Rose is willing to take.

“If there’s something that I can do to be proactive, it might hurt my body, it might hurt my physical beauty, but I’m going to be alive,” Rose said, according tot he New York Daily News.

A situation like this would not be easy for most women. Breasts are as much a part of a woman’s body as an arm or hair; there is an emotional connectedness one has to their body and losing a part of it, no matter which, can be traumatic.

I applaud Allyn Rose for her choice, not necessarily because I agree with her drastic decision, but because she is willing to stand up for the choice she has made. I have not had to deal with the expectation of a disease because nothing runs in my family quite as brutally as Rose’s. I do not know if I would make the drastic choice Rose has, but I must respect her desire to take control over her own health and future.

Some think that Rose’s beauty will be tainted with surgery, but I think she would agree with the words of Martha Beck: “Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld.”