Gemma Styles: Jennifer Aniston Has Had Enough Of Your Opinion, Thanks
Gemma Styles: Jennifer Aniston Has Had Enough Of Your Opinion, Thanks. read full opinion on the continuous pregnancy rumours at MTV.co.uk
Bravo Jennifer Aniston this week - after years of harassment and speculation, the poor thing has finally snapped and spoken out on the intrusive and unfair commentary by the media over her personal life. In particular, Jennifer is making a statement about the state of her womb - it's empty by the way. Not that that's any of our business.
I've seen a quote from her piece on the Huffington Post shared a lot online this week: "We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves." This seems to have struck a chord with a lot of women. Jennifer Aniston, who has had her pregnancy speculated approximately fourteen million times in magazines, is just one example of how tabloid journalism pries into the most personal of affairs in a very unforgiving way. Women who are childless are portrayed as unfulfilled, and especially as they age it's all talk of biological clocks about to explode and misplaced sympathy that they haven't been blessed with a baby.
I understand that it's human nature to be interested in other people's lives. It's part of who we are, pack animals, and our celebrity-oriented culture heavily reflects this. But I can't help think about the damage and pain that all this pointing and whispering can cause. At best, it's going to be annoying. At worst, it's a torturous reminder of a deeply emotional misfortune. The fact is that, unless they're unusually transparent about it, you don't know how other people feel about their own reproductive situation. We don't know if someone can't have children, has lost babies, doesn't want children, can't afford to have children, etc etc etc. There are a thousand possibilities and by constantly evaluating something like this, we just don't know what kind of trauma we're inflicting.
Aside from this aspect of it, a constant obsession with whether women are or aren't pregnant is also fuelling an unfair pressure on women to conform to a very traditional view of happiness and gendered roles. We still assume that all women are programmed to want children and this just isn't the case. I can sort of understand the assumption; personally I do want children, so it's easy to imagine that other women will automatically feel the same - but it doesn't take much to engage your brain and recognise that this doesn't make sense. We don't assume that everyone has the same taste in music, people, politics as we do... yet when it comes to popping out babies it's automatically assumed that we all want the same thing.
I can see that not all of the wondering about Jennifer Aniston comes from a mean place - a lot of people seem to more be saying, oh yay, it finally happened for her! Perhaps they'd want to send a card. But even if the interest and hope comes from a place of motherly camaraderie, it's still miles wide of the 'helpful' mark. Let's stop projecting our own desires onto other women - while celebrities might often be seen as fair game, exactly the same behaviour will soon be bounced back onto the rest of us. Empower women and girls by freeing them from the pressure and expectation of having children - and just congratulate them when it's welcomed.
- By Gemma Styles.