Jennifer Aniston is the latest Hollywood star to take to the internet to share her thoughts on the current culture of celebrity news and tabloid journalism. In a new article posted on The Huffington Post, Aniston calls out celebrity gossip publications and tabloids for their “sport-like scrutiny and body shaming.”
The actress writes, “Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done. 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.” For Aniston, the decision to write the piece is both very personal and very timely, as the actress is currently undergoing yet another round of is-she-isn’t-she articles centered entirely on the often chattered about possibility that she’s pregnant. The actress sets that question straight immediately.
“For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up,” she writes.
Aniston then goes on to detail the daily impact that paparazzi have on her life — “every day my husband and I are harassed by dozens of aggressive photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo” — and why the current state of this kind of journalism is so insidious.
“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… Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive or otherwise,” Aniston writes.
She continues, “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. 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.”
For Aniston, the effect that tabloids and celebrity news have on her is both deeply personal and emblematic of larger societal issues, and she’s very clearly done with all of it.
It is, however, worth noting that Aniston’s claims that she doesn’t “like to give energy to the business of lies” isn’t one hundred percent accurate, as the actress has repeatedly granted interviews to outlets like People magazine (as noted by BuzzFeed’s Anne Helen Peterson in a tweet from last night):
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) July 12, 2016
Yet Aniston’s decision — or, perhaps more realistically, her publicity team’s decision — to be interviewed by influential outlets doesn’t actually detract from her desire for actual truth to be printed in their pages. In fact, by being interviewed by various outlets — including tabloids, or publications that look more and more like tabloids with each passing year — she’s trying to deliver her own story in her own words. That such outlets don’t abide by that isn’t Aniston’s fault, it’s the fault of the publications and the people who continue to by them, which is exactly what Aniston is demanding be changed by her HuffPo piece.
As she writes, “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.”