Jennifer Aniston — actor, producer, director and superfamous adult woman who has not had a child — penned a pretty amazing essay on the Huffington Post today about the role of women in the world, being valued only for motherhood or being “conventionally attractive,” and the scary impact this has on girls.
The extremely private star pretty much just went H.A.M. about the constant speculation about whether she’s pregnant or not, which literally goes all the way back to her first marriage to Brad Pitt …16 years ago.
She writes, “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 highlight how she feels the objectification and scrutiny women are put through is disturbing, writing, “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.”
Just a few weeks ago, she was subjected to yet another round of speculation, which her rep denied in the most perfect way, saying, “What you see is her having just enjoyed a delicious big lunch and her feeling safe on private property.” For some reason, this rumor pops up year after year with Aniston, and it feels particularly cruel. Even though celebs like Halle Berry and Kelly Preston have given birth past 45, trying to get pregnant at that age is often difficult and can be heartbreaking.
Of course, that’s assuming that she wants to have children and that a woman’s value and self-worth are based solely on her ability to do so, which Aniston addresses head-on in her essay.
“This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time … but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children,” she writes.
The aspect of all this that the tabloids never address, in their gross fretting over if she will “give Justin a baby,” is that not being a mother does not mean women are incomplete, or that they have failed somehow. Aniston is not alone in this. According to the 2014 U.S. census, 47 percent of women ages 15 to 44 don’t have children.
“I have grown tired of being part of this narrative,” Aniston writes. “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.”