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It's high time that the tabloids stopped bullying Jennifer Aniston

There’s a ridiculous double standard for men and women.

IT ONLY TOOK a week of Jennifer Aniston being single before the Daily Mail was at it again calling her ‘sad’ and ‘sullen’.

RonWeasleywtf Source: Warner Brothers

From the moment Jennifer and Brad Pitt split in 2005, tabloids like the Daily Mail belittled and bullied Jennifer for her marital status. They incessantly portrayed her as a pitiful figure of loneliness who was lacking in life because she didn’t have a husband or children.

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The coverage of her as lonely/sad/insert-your-own-adjective relented somewhat when she married actor Justin Theroux in 2015. However, the coverage depicting her as a ‘childless woman’ to be pitied seemed to increase.

Any weight fluctuation she had, completely normal for any woman but especially one in their 40s, was met with huge headlines; ‘Is she pregnant?’; ‘Why isn’t she pregnant?’; ‘She can’t get pregnant but shes’ desperate to get pregnant’.

RAchel Green omg Source: Warner Bros. Television

The harassment for photographs and the never-ending coverage became so intolerable that Jennifer made the uncharacteristic move to personally address the rumours she was pregnant in July 2016. Writing an op-ed piece for the Huffington Post, Jennifer began by saying:

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

Jennifer rightly asserted that the scrutiny she was under for her life choices and the body shaming she was enduring was part of a wider story about how women in society are viewed.

 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…

The relentless narrative of Jennifer as sad and desperate for a husband and/or baby is reflective of how we judge female celebrities, and women.

We put them into one of two boxes: ‘sex object’as soon as they become ‘legal’, and, ’wife and mother’ after the age of 30.  If a woman doesn’t fulfill either of these roles society has laid out for her, we think that a) she must be feeling miserable and b) that here is something wrong with her.

rachel green sassy Source: Warner Bros. Television

Think back to coverage of other high-profile women, like Prime Minster Theresa May  who was said to not be a good enough candidate BECAUSE she had no kids. Or Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who within 7 hours of her historic achievement of being made the youngest leader of the Labour party was asked about her lack of children.

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Compare Jennifer’s treatment in the media to that of George Clooney.

Jennifer is a funny, beautiful, talented woman who has had a wildly successful and financially lucrative career – Forbes says her networth is $200million!

In all aspects, George Clooney is her equal. Both began their careers on hit TVs hows (Friends and ER), and have successfully transferred to the big screen. Both of them have been married more than once, and both were childless until last year when Clooney (aged 55 at the time) had twins with Amal, his Human Rights lawyer wife.

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Despite the clear similarities between them, there is a stark contrast in how the media treats them. When George was single, he was portrayed as a handsome God-like playboy, who led a carefree life whilst dating a merry-go-round of ever-younger models.

His life, the media seemed to say, was one that all successful men should be envious of and aspire to.

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Meanwhile, despite Jennifer dating successful actors and musicians, such as Vince Vaughan and John Mayer, her ‘bachelorette’ life was never afforded the positive framing that George Clooney or Leo DiCaprio got for dating Victoria Secrets models who were young enough to be their daughters.

Tabloids tried to frame Jennifer as a warning to young women to settle down before they were past their sell-by date.

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Jennifer captures this sentiment perfectly in her article:

The sheer amount of resources being spent right now…(on whether I’m pregnant) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children.

Jennifer concluded her op-ed piece with this amazing conclusion, that should be the epilogue of every Disney Princess movie made before 1991:

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Jennifer’s  article was welcomed by many women who felt extreme gratitude to her eloquent summary of the frustrations they felt as being portrayed as ‘lacking’ if they did not have a husband or children.

For standing up for women and saying that they are not merely companions for men and that their sole function is not to procreate all we can say is…

yasqueen

 

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