It’s 2019, which means it’s about time we stop making unmarried celebrity women feel guilty for not settling down to tie the knot and have kids.
During their chat, and like many other journos and interviewers have done before, Stern asked Aniston about her love life. “I’m very busy,” she told the shock jock. “For now. I’m promoting [The Morning Show]. I’m prepping for next season.”
Instead of taking Aniston’s hint that she’d like the conversation to move away from her private life, Stern offered to set her up with someone. “Hey, listen, I just don’t like being set up,” she told him. “I don’t like it. I hate it.”
While Stern most probably didn’t mean to offend or pry, his questions are like a broken record that Jennifer Aniston has been forced to listen to since her split from Brad Pitt 14 years ago.
In fact, there has been so much concern for Aniston’s love life over the years that the phenomenon even has a name: the ‘Poor Jen’ narrative. It’s a narrative I not only want to remove myself from (thanks Taylor Swift) but the world needs to ditch altogether.
Jennifer Aniston isn’t the only female celebrity to follow the same “unlucky in love” story in the tabloids. Kylie Minogue, Sandra Bullock, Courtney Cox, Sheryl Crow, Renee Zellweger, Padma Lakshmi and more are consistently interrogated for their lack of marriage.
Cameron Diaz faced the same scrutiny after her ‘failed’ relationships with Alex Rodriguez, Justin Timberlake and Jared Leto. However, in 2015 she settled down with Benji Madden and suddenly, the glossy mags spared her their critique.
So, why is it that fans, the media, and society in general continue to shame these women for being happily unmarried? Maybe humans struggle with recognising that the role someone portrays on-screen doesn’t have to correlate with their real life off-screen. Or maybe, the idea that marriage and children equals happiness is so ingrained in our culture that we can’t possibly let the people we admire off the hook.
Following her 2017 split from ex-husband Justin Theroux, Aniston told InStyle, “The misconceptions are ‘Jen can’t keep a man,’ and ‘Jen refuses to have a baby because she’s selfish and committed to her career.’ Or that I’m sad and heartbroken.”
“When a couple breaks up in Hollywood, it’s the woman who is scorned. The woman is left sad and alone. She’s the failure. Eff that. When was the last time you read about a divorced, childless man referred to as a spinster?”
“Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do?” she added.
Jen has a point. Why doesn’t society apply the same pressure to single celebrity men as they do to women? (Leonardo DiCaprio, hello!?) Perhaps it’s time we do away with the sexist rhetoric and realise that happiness comes in all shapes and sizes in 2019, whether you’re happily married or happily single. Live and let live.