We, as a celebrity-gossip-guzzling group, have not been kind to Jennifer Aniston. When her former husband, Brad Pitt, left her for the sultry vixen Angelina Jolie, many pop culture fans assumed the break-up was her fault, as if she had somehow deserved such heartbreak. Then we gathered that she was sad, depressed, and lonely, gorging herself on bon bons and Smart Water. We began to equate the failure of her numerous rom-coms to her self-worth. And when she finally found happiness with Justin Theroux, we were quick to assume every moment she was caught not smiling was a harbinger of doom. Now that the breakup rumors have been foiled, Aniston being pregnant is the new ever-present rumor. Aniston's rep denies the story, but why, oh, why do we want this woman to have a baby so badly?
Well, you'd better believe I have a theory about it. There are a few factors working here. First and foremost is a form of physical criticism that celebrity gossip tends to perpetuate. When someone who is known for her impeccable yoga body (i.e. Aniston) shows any small ounce of imperfection (for example, a photo in which Jen displays something other than a flat stomach, oh my), we must find a reason for it. Acceptable reasons do not include:
- She looks great! Who's worried about a little curve in the stomach region? It's a tight dress. Get over it.
- Jen just had a really good meal, and is a little full. Yeah, she knew she was going to the red carpet in a skin-tight dress afterwards, but she didn't see why it should matter because it definitely shouldn't.
- Women's bodies change. Jen's body has changed a bit from the ridiculous expectations we've put on her and her shape. And that is completely fine.
Nope. Not acceptable. She's definitely pregnant. Full stop.
It's completely unfair, but it's also an issue that plagues all famous women. Why does Aniston get our particular pregnancy rumor attention? The most likely reason is that the persistent narrative that all Jen's boyfriends leave her sad and lonely ran its course in the media. Tabloids can only root for Aniston and Theroux's relationship to end in heartbreak, running headlines like "The Wedding is Off! The Fight to End All Fights" paired alongside photos of a crying Aniston for so long. And now that the sad Jen story refuses to perpetuate itself, we need a new one.
Enter a pregnancy. Of course! If a Aniston isn't spending her time embodying a Cathy cartoon, wasting away in a land of broken promises and ex-boyfriends, then clearly, it's baby time. There can be no other marker of a happy relationship, because heaven forbid a woman finds a relationship and is simply happy with her partner.
The story needs to escalate. Aniston's body needs to change so we can utter the phrase "baby bump" and gawk at her clothes, gauging their ability to simultaneously hide the miracle of pregnancy and maintain her sex appeal. We need to criticize her footwear and assess how it might foretell her ability to raise her unborn child, just like we did with Kim Kardashian. And finally, we need to use her completely natural weight gain (or lack thereof, if the non-existent pregnancy looks anything like Kate Middleton's) to predict the end of her relationship with Theroux, because as we all know, famous dudes need to break up with their significant others as soon as their body shifts from its original form — and thus, the sad Jen narrative can continue. Huzzah.
So come on, Jen. Give us a baby. We really, really need it so this crass cycle of complete and total nightmarish bullshit can continue.