The stars blistering essay is no Hollywood whine. It demands that every one of us is seen as more than a body, a mate or a mother
Not long ago, I took my father to a film premiere to celebrate his 60 th birthday. I got to do this because I am a writer and comedian, and I result a strange, lucky life in which I occasionally get to stand within waving distance of talented people of great renown and excellent bone structure. We stood amidst the upscale crowd in Manhattan, two overgrown kids from Jersey in fancy shoes from Nordstrom Rack. I pointed out Kendall Jenner and explained who she was. I pointed out Josh Ostrovsky and explained who he was( this took much longer ).
And then Jennifer Aniston walked by.
Needless to say, Anistons presence involved no rationale. My father turned to me and whispered, Now thats a real star.
I knew what he meant. There were plenty of celebrities around us, one of whom was the brilliant writer-actor-producer Justin Theroux, himself a real superstar who happens to be married to Aniston and whose back muscles were featured in one of the most stirring HBO ad campaigns I can recollect( The Leftovers, season one. Google it. Youre welcome ). Some of the folks in the crowd had found attention and success through YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter( Does anyone use Vine anymore or did it going to see wherever Angelfire websites went ?) But none of these pretty people occupied the rarified place in the popular imagination that has long been held by the Jennifer Aniston.
It resulted to me then that I couldnt remember if she had any social media accounts( she does not ). Good for her, dammit, I supposed. Then I ran and get free fancy popcorn.
So I was particularly astonished today when Aniston, who has long engaged in a most revolutionary act of self-care by refusing to talk shit in public, wrote a marvellous piece on the Huffington Post on Thursday. In For the Record, she does not engage in gossip or trash-talking. She does briefly discussed her frustration at being constantly hounded and stalked by paparazzi who bother her endlessly about pregnancy rumors. And then she quickly puts her experience in a wider context 😛 TAGEND
If I am some kind of emblem 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, spouses, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The route I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we find and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards only need a different perspective so we can see them for what they actually are a collective adoption … a subconscious arrangement. 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 fairly unless theyre unbelievably thin, that theyre not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover-up of a publication is something were all willingly buying into. This conditioning is something girls then carry into womanhood.
It wasnt Anistons way with words that surprised me. Its that she chose to share them at all. The media has been obsessed with her body in general and her fecundity in particular since I was in the eighth grade. I am now 35 years old. Her reluctance to become a brood mare for tiny Instagram props seems to frustrate the hell out of some people. And she knows it, and she knows where its coming from 😛 TAGEND
Heres 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 is necessary to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Lets construct that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as instances. Lets make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We dont need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own happily ever after for ourselves.
Jennifer Aniston, “whos not” now and never has been your or my girl next door, just fell some fine truth on us. And because shes Jennifer Aniston, many folks whove never deemed the notions of body image and a womans worth will now consider them, at the least for a moment.
In the United States in 2016, there are many women( though still not sufficient) who have the freedom and the privilege to choose to remain child-free. We may leave the option open for the future; we may not. We each have our own reasons. Nearly all of us share experiences with friends, household, or even complete strangers who demand we justify our utilize of family planning, or our miscarriages, or our abortions, or our struggles with fertility, or our ambivalence about motherhood. Its a real pain in the ass, to be honest.
Jennifer Aniston gets it, and she gets that shes a big deal, and she gets that if she writes about something universal, itll draw more attention because shes a big deal. And maybe, in using her privilege( earned and unearned) for a good reason, shell help some of the rest of us out.
Now thats a real star.
Read more: www.theguardian.com