Jennifer Aniston says she is “fed up” with the “absurd and disturbing” media scrutiny of women as she denied reports suggesting she is pregnant.
The 47-year-old US actress issued a lengthy statement criticising tabloid claims that she and her husband Justin Theroux were expecting their first child.
“For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up,” Aniston wrote in an essay headed For The Record published by the Huffington Post.
“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’.
“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 Friends star said young girls were absorbing “toxic messages buried within these seemingly harmless stories”.
“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,” Aniston wrote.
“This conditioning is something girls then carry into womanhood.
“We use celebrity ‘news’ to perpetuate this dehumanising view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation.”
Aniston said she and her husband were harassed every day by “dozens of aggressive photographers” who went to “shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo”.
The latest reports about her personal life had come at a time of “mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that ‘journalists’ could dedicate their resources towards”, she added.
“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’,” she wrote.
“Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being congratulated by friends, co-workers and strangers alike on one’s fictional pregnancy (often a dozen times in a single day).”
Aniston said she had experienced “stalking and objectification” for “going on decades now” and the latest pregnancy rumours showed her “how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status”.
She added that she may become a mother in the future but said she believed “we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child”.
“We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete,” Aniston wrote. “We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves. I have grown tired of being part of this narrative.”