Jennifer Aniston denounces tabloid culture in Huffington Post essay

Film star Jennifer Aniston has denounced tabloid culture and the societal attitudes she believes it generates toward women.

“I used to tell myself that tabloids were like comic books, not to be taken seriously, just a soap opera for people to follow when they need a distraction,” the “Friends” Emmy Award-winner, 47, wrote in a HuffingtonPost.com editorial Tuesday. “But I really can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and objectification I’ve experienced firsthand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculate a woman’s worth.”

Stating, “For the record, I am not pregnant” — the most common tabloid trope about her — Aniston said she and her husband of nearly a year, actor-screenwriter Justin Theroux, 44, daily “are harassed by dozens of aggressive photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo, even if it means endangering us or the unlucky pedestrians who happen to be nearby. But setting aside the public safety aspect, I want to focus on the bigger picture of what this insane tabloid ritual represents to all of us.”

The tabloid mindset, Aniston asserted, feeds the “objectification and scrutiny we put women through. . . . 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.” Cultural standards, she wrote, are simply “a collective acceptance . . . a subconscious agreement,” and noted that, “Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement . . . that girls are not pretty unless they’re incredibly thin, that they’re not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover of a magazine. . . . ”

Aniston said, “We use celebrity ‘news’ to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical ‘imperfection’?”

She concluded the nearly 900-word essay by conceding that “tabloid practices . . . will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages buried within these seemingly harmless stories served up as truth and shaping our ideas of who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just stopped buying the [expletive].”