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9 key takeaways from Jennifer Aniston's essay on being 'fed up'

Catch Team | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Jennifer Aniston is going viral today. Not because of an engagement, or pregnancy, or movie rumours, link-ups, or any misquoted comment. But, refreshingly, because she wrote a carefully articulated, scathing piece in the Huffington Post titled 'For The Record' against the culture that is clamouring to see her pregnant.

Aniston has always been a paparazzi favourite - right from her relationships, engagement, marriage, and now rumoured pregnancy (rumours she's now put to rest) - to the point of being stalked and talked about endlessly in tabloids.

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A household name, thanks to the TV hit F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Aniston's life, right down to her hairstyle, has been followed like a rule-book by pop culture fanatics and crazy fans alike.

It is fitting then that she set an example in open debate about how women are consumed in the media. Not one debate, mind you, but nine.

We've listed them out for you.

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1. On the space for open debate, feminism and the responsibility to speak up

"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."

2. On stalking in the name of 'journalism', and how that harms actual reportage

"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'."

"In this last boring news cycle about my personal life 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."

3. On how celebrities are seen as the ideal, the coveted, and therefore, their lives are replicated

"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."

4. On how, as adults, we're responsible for the things we agree with

"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."

'We are in charge of our agreement.'

5. On how the media plays its part in body image issues

"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."

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6. On how women are seen as baby-making machines, no matter how successful and self-actualised

"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."

7. On the need for female agency

"We 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. 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."

"We don't need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own 'happily ever after' for ourselves."

'We don't need to be married or mothers to be complete.'

8. On fat-shaming and constant scrutiny of the female body

"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. I resent being made to feel 'less than' because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: 'pregnant' or 'fat'."

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9. And lastly, on the need to react, not be complacent, and call out tabloidism

"I've learned tabloid practices, however dangerous, will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages buried within these seemingly harmless stories served up as truth and shaping our ideas of who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what's being served up, 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."

First published: 13 July 2016, 10:50 IST
 
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