Jennifer Aniston takes on tabloids in scathing essay about pregnancy rumors

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She’s rich, famous and thin – but the actor is fed up enough to take on the press, which has focused its lenses on her and her flat belly for ‘the bajillionth time’

Jennifer Aniston takes on tabloids in scathing essay about pregnancy rumors
The latest swirl of pregnancy rumors led Jennifer Aniston to erupt in the Huffington Post about the ‘body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism’’. Photograph: Allstar/Columbia Pictures

News flash No 1: no, Jennifer Aniston is not pregnant.

News flash No 2: if she ever is in the family way, she will tell you first, honest.

Now, will you just leave the woman alone?

Or as she put it in a scathing essay in the Huffington Post on Tuesday: “[Women] 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 … We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

Yes, she’s rich. Yes, she’s famous. Yes, she’s talented. Yes, she’s thin. Thin enough so that every burrito becomes a baby bump shortly after swallowing.

But the actor is also fed up enough to take on the tabloid press, which has focused its many lenses on her and her very flat belly for “the bajillionth time … but who’s counting”.

And if Twitter is any indication, much of female Hollywood is firmly behind her. “AMEN!!!!!” was actor Anna Paquin’s short but emphatic response. “i loved this”, tweeted lower-key and lowercase singer Sara Bareilles. Comedian Margaret Cho: “Good for her!”

A few filled up most of the 140-character space with support, like singers Tegan and Sara, who piled on to the media-bashing with “YES. The media needs to cover REAL news. Stop shaming, stalking + grading womens bodies/lives”.

Responding to Aniston’s essay on Entertainment Tonight, actor Melissa McCarthy said she supporting Aniston’s stance “one hundred thousand billion percent”.

“Everyone needs to stop tearing down women,” McCarthy said. “It’s always about the way we look – saying, ‘He’s very interesting,’, ‘He’s a good writer,’ ‘She’s looking older than she was last time we saw her.’”

The latest swirl of pregnancy rumors led Aniston to erupt in the Huffington Post about the corrosive nature of the “sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism’, the ‘First Amendment’, and ‘celebrity news’”.

It’s not, she pointed out, that there hasn’t been other news to cover beyond her non-pregnancy, her non-divorce, and did we mention her non-pregnancy?

“In this last boring news cycle about my personal life,” she wrote, “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.”

Google “Jennifer Aniston kids” and the results are creative to say the least. She is variously “expecting a boy”, “adopting two girls”, “welcoming first child via surrogate” and, with husband Justin Theroux, has “decided to adopt kids to save their marriage”.

No wonder she’s annoyed.

Women like her – and you and your mom and your sister and your grandmother – are being judged daily, she writes, by a toxic standard of beauty and cultural norms that “define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status”.

In other words, you have to be thin. And pregnant.

“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,” she fumed. “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.”

At 47, Aniston is nearing the average of menopause for US women – not that that’s any of your business either. Although she does raise the reproductive issue in her rebuke to the tabloids: “Yes, I may be a mother some day, and since I’m laying it all out there, I’ll be the first to let you know. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way.”

Along with her anger, though, Aniston did express a sliver of hope that women – famous and otherwise – could actually fight back.

“We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up,” she wrote, “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.”

To quote a tweeting Keltie Knight, Canadian television presenter and former dancer for Beyoncé and Kanye: “Bravo #JenniferAniston (and for the record I also, just god-forbid ate a sandwich.)”

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