Tabloids Need to Change How They Report on Female Celebs, Now More Than Ever
According to the world of tabloid magazines, female celebrities — whether single or married — are always one of the following: a) Single and desperate, b) married and betrayed by their significant others, c) Marriage/baby-crazy, or d) Recently single and lonely. I mean, seriously, how many tabloid headlines have there been about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's marriage allegedly being doomed to fail? Or what about all those covers about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie supposedly breaking up after (allegedly) major fights? And personally, I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen a tabloid cover referring to Jennifer Aniston as "alone" or "desperate." It seems to be something of a formula in the celebrity tabloid magazine industry: When it comes to female celebs, reporting them to be either desperate for a man or planning a wedding to a man is the surest way to sell magazines.
It's, sadly, something that Jennifer Aniston often gets hit with the most often, since her highly publicized break-up with Brad Pitt back in 2005 (aka, ten whole years ago). Even though Aniston has very clearly moved on in the past decade and become engaged to longtime boyfriend/face mask buddy Justin Theroux, Aniston is still, for some reason, painted as the crazy lady who can't get over Brad, or the vengeful ex-wife who hates Angie, or — and this is most often — the sad, lonely A-lister who's desperate for married life and a baby. While I'm sure some level of public scrutiny is something that all celebrities have to come to terms with when they become famous, the tabloid industry has always seemed especially rough on Aniston, despite her great career and even more beloved roles. In a new interview with InStyle , Aniston even acknowledged the trend herself, and totally brilliantly at that:
I realize they need to sell magazines, but it's really getting old...What kills me is when friends send me pictures they've taken at a newsstand. One magazine says, 'Desperate and alone,' and the other one says, 'She's eloped!' I mean, at least consult. Don't make yourself look like an idiot. I'm going to be 50 and they're still gonna be saying, 'She's pregnant!' [...] When I'm pregnant and married, I will let you know.
In addition to being an epic way to acknowledge how she's treated in tabloids, it's pretty jarring to see Aniston spell out the clear trend that hits every female celebrity once they become famous. It's not even that difficult to find a massive store of tabloids saying exactly what Aniston describes in her statement: This listicle from The Daily Beast includes 10 of them, ranging from "It's Over! Jen Catches Justin With This Woman," to "Justin's Ex Warns Jen! Hooked on Mr. Wrong," all the way to my personal favorite, "THE LATEST INSULT: Angie Sabotages Jen's Wedding!"
No matter than Jennifer Aniston is one of the top-earning actresses in Hollywood today, or is getting Oscar buzz for her recent, critically acclaimed role in Cake . Her relationship is clearly the most interesting thing about her, because she's a woman, and finding a significant other is the only thing we all care about, right?
Ugh. Please, give me a break. Is it really that unmarketable to sell an actress based on their career triumphs? Even setting aside the fact that this is deeply unfair to female celebrities for now — though that is important and deserves it's own discussion — it's also one of the most blatant forms of sexism that still (somehow) exists in modern media. Not only is almost every gossip story about some female celeb — whether it be about Aniston, Jolie, Kardashian, or someone else — always based off of some sort of issue they're having with a significant other, but it paints women in very stereotypically sexist ways: Obsessed with marriage, obsessed with having babies, and desperate and alone any time their significant other allegedly leaves them.
Even worse, in some ways, these stories are all the same when you strip them down: Though the alleged facts and "source quotes" change between them, the bottom line that remains constant is that they're always about a female celebrity's relationship with their significant other, and they always seem to go back to the very dated idea that women only care about getting married and having kids — while career triumphs, personal successes, and things of that nature always come secondary in the tabloids.
Obviously, this is not how every woman feels in reality, nor has it ever been — therefore, purporting that it is the reality for female celebrities in a cheap attempt to sell magazines is deeply problematic.
Luckily, it seems that Aniston is above letting the scrutiny and gossip get to her, and it focused on living an enjoying her life the way she knows it to be true. Hopefully, since 2014 seemed to be a banner year for change in the push to raise awareness about feminism and sexism the media, 2015 will result in more change as well — and changing the way tabloids report on female celebrities is a definite start.