Jennifer Aniston has been my spirit animal since way back in her overall-wearing Rachel Green days. So when I saw the pics of her in a bikini last month looking a little more round than usual, I couldn't help but excitedly begin to speculate about whether or not she was pregnant and expecting her first child with husband Justin Theroux.
"For the record, I am not pregnant," she writes. "What I am is fed up. I'm fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body-shaming that occurs daily... If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. 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."
She's not wrong.
"Yes, I may become a mother some day," she continues. "And since I'm laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let you know. But I'm not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe. 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."
I love that Aniston is slamming the body-shamers here, but I do think the 47-year-old has opened herself up to that stuff, to some degree, by gushing endlessly to the media over the last 20 years about how disciplined she is when it comes maintaining her enviable size zero bod. You can't really have it both ways, now can you?
Plus this isn't really specific to women. Remember how viscious the tabloids were when Matt LeBlanc put on a few extra pounds? I mean, they called him "Fat LeBlanc"!
But Aniston makes a different, really important point here—that despite society's expectations, not all women want or need to become mothers to feel whole.
Sure, we may all really, really want her to be pregnant, and we may have even spent the last 10 years or so anxiously awaiting the announcement. Because since the day Angelina Jolie first swooped in to humiliate our Golden Girl by stealing Bratt Pitt and reinventing herself as a modern-day Mothern Theresa, we've all been collectively rooting for Aniston to finally get her fairy tale ending.
Only this is not our story to write, and so we do not get to decide what that ending is. This is Jennifer Aniston's story. And after years of staying silent, she is finally taking ownership of it.
"The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time...but who's counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful or unhappy if they're not married with children," she explains. "We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. Let's make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. We don't need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own 'happily ever after' for ourselves."
So. Much. YES!
It's a truly powerful message, made all the more so because it's coming from the lovely Rachel Green—the girl we fell in love with on "Friends," commiserated with when Mr. & Mrs. Smith first hit theaters, and silently applauded for always biting her tongue and taking the high road, no matter how bad things got and how untrue and unflattering the gossip about her may have been.
Now Aniston has finally spoken.
And that, my friends, is what they call closure.