Jennifer Aniston Says Not Having Kids Doesn’t Mean You’ve Failed As A Woman

jennifer-aniston

Feminism these days has become such a complicated and misunderstood word, thanks in large part to a handful of key celebrities who A) say they don’t identify as a feminist because B) *insert frustrating definition that isn’t actually what feminism is about*.

We’ve heard them all: bra-burners, man-haters, all lesbians, marriage-despisers, women who have no respect for babies, women who want to usurp men etc etc. Thankfully there are many, if not more, celebrities also speaking out about why they are feminists and explain the movement with the greatest of ease, because realistically, it should not be complicated. Do you believe in equality? If yes, that means you are a feminist! Hurrah for you! Now the next step is to identify inequality and injustice in society and be passionate about evening out the balance in some form.

Everybody’s fave comedy actress Jennifer Aniston thankfully is one of those women who have no problem setting the record straight, and also use their own experiences to reiterate why gender equality is of the utmost importance to them.

Although she is an A-list actress who has her pick of hit movies and seems to regularly land on those “most beautiful” and “sexiest woman” lists time after time, you’d be surprised to know how passionate Jennifer is about feminism.

She has spoken before of her close friendship with Women’s Liberation leader and feminist icon Gloria Steinem, and how that relationship framed her way of thinking about the treatment of women. One of the coolest things about Jen is that she is totally against plastic surgery, and is a huge advocate of natural beauty and embracing who you are. And being a woman whose physical appearance is constantly under the tabloid microscope, that’s a pretty awesome thing to say!

In her upcoming film ‘Cake’, Jennifer goes through the Charlize Theron-‘Monster’ treatment (which won her a Best Actress Oscar in 2004) where she gets “uglied up” and there is speculative talk this movie could win her an Oscar! She is nominated for multiple Best Actress categories during the 2015 awards season, and it’s a testament to studio executives as well as audiences who for so long have pigeon-holed her just as a “bimbo” pretty rom-com actress. Let’s not forget that Reese Witherspoon was also stereotyped in the same way, then took home the Best Actress Oscar in 2006 for her role as June Carter Cash in ‘Walk The Line’. Bet ya didn’t see that coming from Elle Woods!

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Nevertheless, Jen tells Allure Magazine that it’s kinda stupid that a woman only seems to get respect for anything other than her body when she isn’t playing an attractive woman.

“A woman going physically unattractive is where you get recognition and some sort of respect. You read things like, ‘Oh, finally, she’s acting!’ [It’s] Quite sexist, to be honest, because men don’t get that.”

When asked about her thoughts on why the word “feminism” is fraught with so many complications these days, Jennifer has the easiest explanation.

“Because people over-complicate it. It’s simply believing in equality between men and women. Pretty basic.”

Yeah, no kidding! And wait for it, here comes the conversation about motherhood. For some reason, the activity of Jennifer Aniston’s ovaries have become a topic of public opinion. And despite the sweet image we often see from her in interviews and in the media, she isn’t afraid to share her annoyance on the topic.

“I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women—that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering—dogs, friends, friends’ children.”

She has a point. It should not be anyone else’s opinion or business what she major life decisions she makes, nor does it make her any less of a woman (or feminist) should she decide not to have kids.

“This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is.”

Back in February 2014 when Jennifer interviewed her pal Gloria Steinem at the Makers conference, she asked her the same kind of questions, which Gloria has also been dogged with her whole life from many critics.

“How do you react to [the fact that our value and our worth is basically associated with our marital status or whether or not we procreate, especially] in the 60s or the 70s… the time when women weren’t necessarily seen as a voice, but as barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen,” jen asked.

“I thought, ‘I’m getting married and having children, I’m definitely doing that, just not right now’… I put it in the future. Then, fortunately, the women’s movement came along and made me realize I was actually happy alone and that there were more ways to live than one,” answered Gloria.

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Jennifer also asked her what she thought about the fact that even today (actually more-so than ever) women are primarily being valued for their external appearance.

“You said, ‘Boys are told that their bodies are instruments, but women are made to feel that they are ornaments, not instruments.’ What did you mean by that?” she asked.

“We are valued too much for how we look on the outside. Boys actually suffer and men too because they are made to feel healthier. If you ask men about their body image, they’ll tell you they look better than they do, and if you ask women they’ll tell you they look worse than they do. We each need to come to some point of reality,” said Gloria.

Gloria was asked the same question Jennifer was by Allure: why feminism seems to be so complicated to some people.

“Because it is such a big revolution. It is taking away the biggest unpaid labor force in the world… and the control of reproduction. Some people are against it because they don’t know what it means. Some are against it because they do know what it means,” she answered.

It’s kinda cool to see the synergy between both Jennifer and Gloria, two women who traditional mindsets would never pair together, but that’s the beauty and essence of feminism: it transcend barriers while also aiming to break them down.

The message that society shouldn’t deem women a “failure” simply because they aren’t ticking all the boxes of expectation, such as having kids or being married by a certain age, is an important one. It is something that isn’t often discussed out in the open, but we are glad Jennifer is willing to have this conversation.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Jennifer Aniston Is Fed Up With Media Scrutiny Of Her Ovaries...And Frankly So Are We! - GirlTalkHQ

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