I just finished reading Jennifer Aniston’s article For The Record and it made me want to stand up and clap. Jennifer’s fed up y’all. And honestly, most of us are or should be. Fed up with what you ask? The media’s portrayal of women. Rather than go into a lengthy diatribe, I’ll just highlight three things that irk me the most where this issue is concerned.
No matter our accomplishments as women, what people (i.e., the media, men, women–yes, we do it to one another too) want to know about are our physical attributes, our marital status, and our maternal status. Our role and contributions are boiled down to these three things that supposedly define us for our entire existence.
Let’s break this down a bit, okay
Let me tell you something, as a kid I thought I wasn’t beautiful unless I had long hair so I was often found running around with a towel over my head so I could pretend my hair was flowing down my back. As a young adult I was obsessed with my weight and body shape. It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable in my body and appreciate it. So the screaming headlines on magazines “**insert public figure** loses 50 pounds, find out how she did it!” or “**insert public figure** gains 50 pounds, a look inside their troubled world” and lastly, “**insert public figure** spotted out and about looking frail, close friends say they’re worried” irritate me to no end. As a child, the images I saw on magazines and television shaped my idea of beauty.
2. Relationship status
Again, no matter what goals you’ve achieved as a woman, one of the first things people often want to know is “are you married”. As if any of your achievements must either be because a) a significant other was there to offer support (financial, emotional, etc.) or b) you were single and didn’t have responsibilities (i.e., husband, children, etc.) which meant you had time on your hands to accomplish said goals.
3. Maternal status
A close second to the question “are you married” is “do you have children”. Now, I happen to have neither so I think that stumps most people when they ask. After all, these questions are like threads designed to expose commonalities between people, right? It’s as if there are no other intersecting points of interest between individuals if you don’t answer yes to either of these questions. If we’re a sum of our experiences then shouldn’t we try harder to connect on levels that extend past these two subjects?
We live in a culture that objectifies and scrutinizes women.
What do you think of what Jennifer had to say? Do you think women are scrutinized in ways that men are not?