Jennifer Aniston hits back at 'disturbing' media scrutiny

'I'm not pregnant, what I am is fed up with the sport-like body shaming,' says actress

(Image credit: Mike Windle/Getty Images for smartwater)

Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston has penned a blistering essay lambasting the tabloids for their relentless objectification of women.

The 47-year-old actor has long been the target of persistent media scrutiny, with much of it focused on her relationship status, body and maternal status.

"For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up," she writes in the Huffington Post. "I'm fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of 'journalism'".

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
See more

The latest round of speculation was splashed by In Touch magazine, which claimed to have the "world exclusive" of images of Aniston's baby "bump".

Her publicist instantly condemned the tabloid, saying: "Shame on In Touch. What you see is her having just enjoyed a delicious big lunch and feeling safe on private property."

In her essay, Aniston says she and her husband, Justin Theroux, suffer daily harassment by "dozens of aggressive photographers" who will go to "shocking lengths" to obtain a photo.

She continues: "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 past month in particular "has illuminated for me how much we define a woman's value based on her marital and maternal status", she adds.

She concludes by saying she may or may not become a mother at some point in the future, but that does not determine her worth as a woman.

"We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child," she writes. "We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone."

Urging women to help change the celebrity tabloid culture, she says: "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 humanised lens because consumers have just stopped buying the b*******."

Aniston has been widely praised for her powerful essay, with writer and comedian Sara Benincasa saying it is "no Hollywood whine" but a reality for women all over the world.

"It demands that every one of us is seen as more than a body, a mate or a mother," she writes in The Guardian.

"There are many women who have the freedom and the privilege to choose to remain child-free," adds Benincasa." We may leave the option open for the future; we may not. We each have our own reasons.

"Jennifer Aniston gets it, and she gets that she's a big deal. And maybe, in using her privilege (earned and unearned) for a good reason, she'll help some of the rest of us out."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.