Jennifer Aniston has been a household name for decades: a Friend, the star of dozens of Hollywood movies, and People's Most Beautiful Woman not just once, but twice. That kind of larger-than-life fame comes at a price. She's the constant target of overzealous paparazzi and acid-penned writers, scrutinizing her appearance and personal life. Now, in a poignant blog post on HuffPost entitled "For The Record," she's taken a stand against the media scrutiny that affects all women, and gives us — both those that create media and those that consume it — plenty to think about.
She opens the article like this:
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... 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 news.'
Aniston goes on to discuss how the way media portrays women affects young girls, and creates a vicious cycle that needs to be broken:
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.
Tell it, Jen.
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.
The Cake actress didn't mince words about her stance on the shaming that happens all too often. Enough is enough:
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.
Later on, Aniston shut down those irritating and inappropriate pregnancy rumors once and for all:
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.”
Finally, she closed with a strong call to action for us to take control of shaping our own ideals and attitudes about beauty and womanhood:
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.
As Aniston says, this is a conversation that needs to continue.
You can (and should) read Jen's full blog post here.
Share your thoughts in the comments! <3