Tuesday, Jennifer Aniston took to the Huffington Post
to write a powerful blog on being "fed up" with the rumors and paparazzi. She addresses how in society today women are seen an incomplete
if they're not married or having a baby.
How media puts endless pressure on a woman's appearance and what not.
Read the powerful entry below:
Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have
never done. I don’t like to give energy to the business of lies, but I
wanted to participate in a larger conversation that has already begun
and needs to continue. Since I’m not on social media, I decided to put
my thoughts here in writing.
For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m
fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily
under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity
Every day my husband and I are harassed by dozens of aggressive
photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to
obtain any kind of photo, even if it means endangering us or the
unlucky pedestrians who happen to be nearby. But setting aside the
public safety aspect, I want to focus on the bigger picture of what this
insane tabloid ritual represents to all of us.
If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I
am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our
mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The
objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and
disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection
of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped
standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different
perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective
acceptance... a subconscious agreement. We are in charge of our
agreement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive
or otherwise. And it begins early. The message that girls are not pretty
unless they’re incredibly thin, that they’re not worthy of our
attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover
of a magazine is something we’re all willingly buying into. This
conditioning is something girls then carry into womanhood. We use
celebrity “news” to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of
females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids
turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she
eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks
because the camera detects some physical “imperfection”?
I used to tell myself that
tabloids were like comic books, not to be taken seriously, just a soap
opera for people to follow when they need a distraction. But I really
can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and
objectification I’ve experienced first-hand, going on decades now,
reflects the warped way we calculate a woman’s worth.
This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we
define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. The
sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to
simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time...
but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that
women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not
married with children. In this last boring news cycle about my personal
life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the
Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy
issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.
Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or
without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves
what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and
ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young
women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision
consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married
or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever
after” for ourselves.
I have grown tired of being
part of this narrative. Yes, I may become a mother some day, and since
I’m laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let
you know. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete
in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to
believe. I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is
changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a
weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.”
Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being
congratulated by friends, coworkers and strangers alike on one’s
fictional pregnancy (often a dozen times in a single day).
From years of experience, I’ve learned tabloid practices, however dangerous, will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change
is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages buried within these
seemingly harmless stories served up as truth and shaping our ideas of
who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served
up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world
through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just
stopped buying the bullshit.