Jennifer Aniston has written an open letter to the media saying she is “fed up” with the “absurd and disgusting” “objectification and scrutiny” women are subjected to.
Tabloids had recently begun speculating whether or not the actress was pregnant, prompting her to write the piece.
“Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done,” she wrote. “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 news.”
She went on to recount some of her experiences with “aggressive photographers”, saying they stake out her home and “will go to shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo”.
“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,” she continued. “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”?
Aniston argued that the “sheer amount of resources being spent” by the media to try and work out if she was pregnant or not could be better used covering “more newsworthy issues” like recent mass shootings, wildfires and the presidential election.
Towards the end of the piece, she urged women to decide how to live their lives and feel complete “outside of the tabloid noise”.
“Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child,” she wrote. “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.”