It is a truth universally known that Jennifer Aniston doesn't want to be your tabloid fodder. Nor does she deserve to be. In a recent interview with Marie Claire, Aniston remarked that her career comes first and she be judged on that alone, not how many children she does or doesn't have. Aniston has been spent 2016 waging a rhetorical attack against the brutal and unnecessary objectifications women undergo at the hands of the media and, by extension, their peers. For the actress, it's simply unconscionable that women are still demeaned in such sexist fashion in this day and age. Now, she is taking the chance to continue to fight back.
In the interview, Aniston reminded readers that she has spent, metaphorically speaking, half of her career actually working and the other half trying to defend herself against the slings and arrows of showbiz:
My marital status has been shamed; my divorce status was shamed; my lack of a mate had been shamed; my nipples have been shamed. It's like, 'Why are we only looking at women through this particular lens of picking us apart? Why are we listening to it?'[...] I just thought, 'I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human.'
Arguing that it is exhausting to have every piece of yourself picked apart, Aniston instead favors looking at what she has accomplished. Acknowledging that the slant of media can be especially tough, traditional, and sexist, she is championing her work and rightfully contending it has just as much value as motherhood.
Aniston has staunchly refused to be defined by the events in her personal life, most notably her divorce from Brad Pitt and the imagined emotional fall-out the media impressed upon her. Like many women who choose to dedicate their lives to their careers (a completely valid choice, mind you), Aniston has had to deal with the regressive narrative that she is lonely or sad as a childless woman. The legacy of being an ex-wife and somehow, being permanently damaged from the event of divorce, has become an unfortunate part of Aniston's narrative. Laudably (and hopefully without sounding too condescending), it's been wonderful as a woman to watch her fight back so graciously and vigorously to rightfully claim her piece of the pie.
Her Marie Claire interview also allowed her the space to talk about the support she gets from her husband, actor Justin Theroux, and also the fact that she's excited about not exactly knowing what comes next. "I'm at this sort of crossroads trying to figure out what inspires me deep in my core. What used to make me tick is not necessarily making me tick anymore ... The most challenging thing right now is trying to find what it is that makes my heart sing."
Aniston's words resonate deeply to me. As a woman and a person who has chosen a career over any kind of motherhood, Aniston's model for happiness makes clear that there is more than one path to fulfillment. She doesn't denigrate motherhood, marriage, or other career choices simply to make herself look good. Instead, she simply upholds that radical notion that there is more than one way to be a happy woman. For that, Aniston deserves a tip of the cap from all of us.