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Jennifer Aniston Pens Scathing Post About Sexism + Body Shaming

Jennifer Aniston
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Jennifer Aniston has been on the receiving end of misogynistic vitriol and sexist tabloid headlines since the start of her career. But after several news outlets circulated pregnancy rumors earlier this year — stemming from photos of the former Friends actress walking around in a bikini post-lunch — Aniston decided to speak out against the body shaming and sexism that is continually propagated by the media.

“For the record, I am not pregnant,” she wrote in a Huffington Post article titled ‘For the Record.’ “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 makes the point that what consumers see in magazines is reflective of society’s thoughts on women in general.

“The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing,” she continued. “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.”

Like many before her, Aniston warns of the dangers of focusing on an unrealistic standard of beauty and highlights the unsafe ways in which tabloids contribute to upholding a false physical ideal.

“I used to tell myself that tabloids were like comic books, not to be taken seriously, just a soap opera for people to follow when they need a distraction,” she continues. “But I really can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and objectification I’ve experienced first-hand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculate a woman’s worth.”

But Aniston takes it further, pointing out that the media’s years-long obsession with whether or not she’s pregnant or engaged exemplifies the way society bases a woman’s worth on marriage and motherhood.

“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,” Aniston wrote.

She ended the impassioned letter by urging consumers to make decisions about their self-worth on their own terms, and to not allow the media to dictate completeness to them.

“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,” she wrote. “Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

Head over to The Huffington Post to read Aniston’s full letter.

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