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Jennifer Aniston on the endless pregnancy rumors: "I resent being made to feel 'less than'”

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Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

On July 12, noted not-pregnant woman Jennifer Aniston wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post. “For the record,” she wrote, “I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up.”

Aniston was addressing the slew of rumors that have swirled unceasingly around her since her infamous 2005 divorce from Brad Pitt and the ensuing birth of Brangelina, as Pitt went on to settle down and start a family with Angelina Jolie. The rumors about Aniston’s certain loneliness have settled down since she married Justin Theroux in 2015, but now the baby rumors have grown ever stronger to take their place.

Most recently, tabloids claimed that Aniston, 47, was expecting a “miracle child” after paparazzi photos showed her with a swollen belly in a bikini. Aniston’s representatives responded by noting that she had just eaten a big lunch and was on a private beach and can she live?

Writes Aniston:

I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.”

As Lainey Gossip points out, Aniston has certainly been complicit in building the tabloid fascination with her private life — doing so has been a major factor in how she’s kept her post-Friends career alive, by posing for paparazzi photos that strategically show off her engagement ring and discussing her dreams for children with Vanity Fair.

But her public persona is not entirely under her own control. The gossip press treats her as America’s beloved younger sister: She’s so pretty and so sweet, and if she could just get her life together — meet a nice guy, have a few kids — she could really turn things around for herself. It seems the tabloids all just want to take her out for a glass of white wine and ask her if she’s tried online dating and does she want to maybe freeze her eggs now, while there’s still time?

There’s definitely genuine affection there. Have you ever been in a movie theater full of middle-aged, middle-class white women when Jennifer Aniston shows up on screen? A sort of delighted coo rises up from the theater: Oh, there’s our girl Jen! But there’s also a sense that she doesn’t really know what’s best for herself and never will.

So Aniston affirms:

We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone.

And the gossip industry clucks and shakes its head. Oh, Jen. She’s going through a rebellious phase. We ought to get together with her soon and have a really good chat about her options, just gal to gal.

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