Jennifer Aniston Calls Out the Media’s Portrayal of Women

Jennifer Aniston isn’t pregnant. I want you to sit down and say that out loud to yourself and then take a few breaths and move on because after this post, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. So let’s say it together:

Jennifer Aniston isn’t pregnant.

And she told us herself, so there.

In a piece written for the Huffington Post, the actor went for it: calling out the gossip she’s been plagued by since the mid-1990s (actually), Aniston said what so many of us have wanted to whenever we’re asked about starting families.

“For the record, I am not pregnant,” she wrote. “What I am is fed up.

“The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing,” she continued. “The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of the way we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty.”

Which, like, amen. A-fucking-men. And she kept going:

“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. We don’t need to be married or be mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

Honestly the whole thing is amazing, so just read it in its entirety here. But also, Jen? Thank you. Thank you. Because it still seems as though no matter what we accomplish or what we’ve been up to or what projects we’re starting or where we live or what we’ve done, “So are you with anyone? Do you have kids?” is still a question that comes up before “Wow, tell me more about that cool fucking thing you just told me about.” And, as per usual, we only pose those types of questions to women.

I mean, think about it: Jennifer Aniston is one of the most realistic reflections of the double we standard we hold women to. We don’t write about Justin Theroux, we didn’t scrutinize Brad the way we did his ex (or Angelina Jolie now), and we certainly don’t follow men around asking if they want to have children or if they are or if they will. But for nearly two decades, the state of Jennifer Aniston’s uterus has earned more headline time than issues that actually matter.

So, let’s throw this out there right now: a woman’s choice to have children is none of your business. A woman’s marital status (or lack thereof) is also none of your business. They’re also smaller parts of a larger story, so to be defined by either thing completely negates the concept of a woman being an actual person. If you’re a mother and a partner/wife, that’s the jam — but it’s also not who you are now (as in: only those things). They may play big roles, but as soon as we prioritize coupling up and procreation over anything else, we send the message that nothing else matters; that your degree doesn’t matter, your friends don’t matter, your job doesn’t matter, your life experiences don’t matter.

The only person who gets to prioritize a life is the woman in question. Mainly: if you want kids/marriage to be your identity, that’s your call. Yours. The rest of us don’t get to sidle in to try and manifest our own agendas, trying to re-instate the mandate women have spent actual decades trying to distance themselves from. Marriage and kids are great — if that’s what you want. But if it isn’t, everyone else gets to fuck off.

And it sucks this is still a conversation we have to have. It sucks especially that a movie star had to pen a blog about Feminism 101, and then it sucks even more that so many people seem surprised by it. Especially when we’ve all been on the receiving end of pure, unfiltered sexism in similar capacities. And we know that it sucks, and we know how disheartening it is, and we know that the double standard is real, but also it never feels quite as real as when you’re experiencing it yourself in real time.

So shout-out to Jennifer Aniston, and shout out to anyone else who’s stepped up to defend a woman’s right to choose (in this case, her own life story), and then especially to anyone who’s endured feeling the way I know we all have at some point. But I guess also shout-out to you, anybody who’s made somebody feel shitty about their life choices, knowing they’d never interrogate men in the same way.

We’re over it now, and done with you.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, topstory

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