Jennifer Aniston Writes Scathing Essay: “I Am Fed Up”

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a conundrum unique to editors working in today's culture of fast news and social media–driven traffic. In Touch Weekly had just come out with a cover screaming: “Jen’s Finally Pregnant!” complete with “11 amazing photos” showing the “world exclusive of the first bump pics.” Although I made the call not to participate in the speculation, it would be a lie not to admit that I didn't at least briefly entertain the idea.

Generally speaking, there’s not a lot of upside to speculating about someone’s body—be it a person you know privately or a celebrity in the public eye. But the fact of the matter is, our culture is obsessed with it, constantly scrutinizing and debating every physical detail, pressuring media outlets to further fuel the conversation in exchange for traffic or sales. Some may make the argument that celebrities expect or deserve it—part of the job of being famous—but the irony is, this type of behavior says a lot more about us as the speculators than it does about the person being criticized.

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After decades of silently being on the receiving end of intense and unwelcome media scrutiny, 47-year-old Jennifer Aniston is finally speaking up and calling out this huge problem—yes, about the media, but also to the general public that just can’t get enough.

In an essay titled “For The Record,” Aniston writes in the Huffington Post, “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.”

She continues: “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. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty…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. We use celebrity 'news' to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical imperfection?”

“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,' Ansiton writes. “Here’s 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 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.”

  • Eleanor
    Posted on

    anybody who knows how long a woman can safely still give birth to a healthy baby, would realize, Jennifer time is over. She is close to fifty and that is when most women go through menopause. (your menstrual cycles end). So even, let's put this to bed!.. She decided "no children" and if she was a man in Hollywood, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

  • InspireAsmiletoday
    Posted on

    Hear hear! This is the message I hope to spread. There's also a model named Iskra who is absolutely stunning and prefers to be published untouched. She also speaks for an eating disorder organization that helps young girls regain their self esteem. I'm so for sending positive messages to girls. I think it's absurd what we, as women, are criticized for. I'm fed up too Jennifer! And you've always been a role model to me, I've always thought you were so classy. Inside and out.

  • Penny
    Posted on

    Jennifer, you're wonderful. I love that you stand up for yourself, others, especially young girls. Body image, even in grade school is just too much pressure. Our bodies are unique, so are our souls. I'm grateful we are different in both body and soul. If not, wouldn't we be clones?

  • Chrystie
    Posted on

    Im 74 and could not say this better. Thanks Jennifer for you comments.

  • Diane H
    Posted on

    Well said...I was upset when I saw that picture because it was a time when Jennifer Anston was relaxing and spending time with her spouse, and she didn't need some obsessed journalist invading that moment. Whether a women is in the early stages of pregnancy or just gained a few pounds is not the worlds business just because she is an actress. It is a shame the media doesn't spend more time focusing on positive things famous people do that are a benefit to society and stop fixating about the external appearance of actresses. This obsession of female perfection is not healthy for girls and boys because it causes unrealistic perfection of the female body and feeds an already unhealthy attitude in regards to objectiving the female body. As a society we need to start looking at the whole person, healthy externally and internally, someone who has balance in their life should be what the media is showing. Personally, I am tired of all the disfunctional reality tv shows and Internet news...people who have become rich or richer because they have opened their lives so we can watch or read about the negative lives they live.

  • Bob
    Posted on

    I have the privilege of working with women in a teaching situation and I agree with Jennifer that none should be judged on the basis of exterior appearance alone. If they are all treated the same and given the same consideration and respect it does not matter how they look, they are all an important and wonderful part of our society. Way to go Jennifer.

  • Lynn
    Posted on

    People get a vicarious thrill from seeing others shamed, suffering and humiliated. Sadly, they feel better about themselves when they watch someone famous appear to falter. It is disgusting. Thank you for standing up to the bullying.

  • Kim
    Posted on

    Bravo Jennifer!!!

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