In my mind, Piers Morgan and I are buddies with an exception of the fact that he isn’t sensitive enough. His constant desire to always point out ugly truths is no news and true to his nature, he had a controversial response to Jennifer Aniston article – For the Record.
Reading Jennifer’s article made me love her even more and I would start by talking about the most beautiful part of her letter which of course is where she speaks about women being able to define themselves outside of their standardised expectations.
‘We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child… We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.
Now this is so eloquently expressed and maybe coming from an A-List celebrity, people can really begin to think about this in line with what they want and why they really want what they claim to want. Is it to conform to some social and cultural expectations? Is it just to be perceived as accomplished? Is it to have an illusion of perfection? Or is it because it truly makes you happy and feed the “hum”? What does “happily ever after” really mean to you? Can you stand up in the midst of social, cultural and family expectations and say this is what I want and why? I hope you would understand and approve, but if you don’t, it’s okay still, because I choose to be happy? Sometimes, what makes you happy may actually be having a mate and a truck load of children, great news! Embrace it but do so because it makes you happy and not because you have handed your life over to society to direct. For all we know, you get to live once, why waste time trying to conform and please others…
Now on to the controversial aspect of her letter; worldviews and expectations are great underlining forces that control the lives of people, especially females, all around the world. Our lives are directed by an invisible director called public opinion and expectation. It has been going on for centuries and will continue unless we recognise it and speak up against it especially if your voice carries significant weight like Jennifer Aniston. It is on this foundation that the word Feminism makes the most meaning to me i.e. debunking the world’s view and expectation from me because I have a Va**** as opposed to a Pe***. People should write their own stories, build their own dreams and goals and not feel horrible for it. Women should be able to say they don’t want children and not have the world stare at them like they are crazy or speculate about their medical fitness and if you live in Nigeria, have your mother and mother-in-law hold endless fasting & prayer sessions for the fruit of the womb, that is, if you are able to keep your marriage. Women should be able to put on weight, embrace their “imperfections” without being viewed as ugly.
People should write their own stories, build their own dreams and goals and not feel horrible for it.
This controlling expectation of women in society wasn’t born today. In a fact, it is centuries of culture and tradition engraved in our upbringing and rhetoric. Thankfully, as the world has grown, so also have women begun to take more active roles; dominating and redefining this view.
Nevertheless, women are also the major contributing factor to how this change has slowed and this is where I agree with Piers Morgan. The cake is always sweet until you have had too much and become sick… In his words, ‘Once you put your body up for lucrative personal gain, I’m afraid you have to accept a level of scrutiny and debate that comes with it’.
It is not enough to say the right words and start a conversation on the “objectification and scrutiny we put women through” after you have played a role in creating that image. The image in the media and front pages of magazines have to be changed, the rhetoric has to be changed and a major part of it has to be done by women in the limelight. Enough of the airbrushing and “picture perfect” images! Of course, it sells copies, loads of copies that feeds fantasies but it also reinforces that image that makes you “fed up” down the line. The world already sees you as beautiful, so let’s see the little “imperfections” that actually make you human and ironical, beautiful. If you display them yourself, then, just maybe the prey-hounding paparazzi may be less inclined to show images of these “imperfection”.
The world already sees you as beautiful, so let’s see the little “imperfections” that actually make you human and ironical, beautiful.
Just like Piers Morgan, I love Jennifer; I think she’s witty, intelligent, a fantastic actress and the real girl-next-door celebrity. I love that she lives her life on her own terms and does not succumb to expectations, but let’s be honest, she has helped, even in a tiny fraction, to perpetuate these “cultural standards” she speaks about. The “collective acceptance… a subconscious agreement” of an inaccurate image of beauty that “Little girls everywhere are absorbing – passive or otherwise”. I like that she uses “our” in her letter, maybe accepting her supporting role in the creation of this image.