Jennifer Aniston Reminds Everyone That She’s Not ‘Damaged Goods’

Jennifer Aniston has had enough, and she’s not afraid to say so. She opened up to InStyle for the magazine’s September cover feature, and she didn’t hide how she feels about the pressure placed on her (and all women) to become mothers — and the assumptions made if you don’t. 

As a Hollywood A-lister, Aniston isn’t a stranger to the proverbial peanut gallery. She’s accustomed to people speculating about her romantic partners and other life choices. But the actor rarely addresses the near-constant presumptions about why she hasn’t had children… until now. 

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Talk about her all you like, but with great friends, new projects, and still-perfect hair, September cover star Jennifer Aniston is doing just fine. And at 49, she knows who she is. That means no boundaries, no bullshit, and lots of laughing. “For the most part I can sit back and laugh at the ridiculous headlines because they have gotten more and more absurd,” she tells her close friend @MMcNearney, who interviewed her for her refreshingly candid cover story. “I guess they’re feeding into some sort of need the public has, but I focus on my work, my friends, my animals, and how we can make the world a better place. That other stuff is junk food that needs to go back in its drawer.” Read the full interview at the link in bio. | Photographed by @BenHassett; Styled by @JuliaVonBoehm

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“No one knows what’s going on behind closed doors. No one considers how sensitive that might be for my partner and me,” she said of the “reckless” assumptions being made. “They don’t know what I’ve been through medically or emotionally. There is pressure on women to be mothers, and if they are not, then they’re deemed damaged goods.” 

Aniston makes several salient points. Whether a woman — celebrity or otherwise — goes on to have children is her business and hers alone. And for all anyone knows, it may not even be a choice. For some women, bearing and/or giving birth to a child isn’t medically possible.

Then there are those women who simply choose not to. And that’s more than OK. It’s a valid life choice and in no way diminishes a woman’s experience. “Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate,” Aniston added. “Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do?” 

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Jennifer Aniston has dealt with the tabloids for her entire career, but lately it seems relentless. “The misconceptions are ‘Jen can’t keep a man,’ and ‘Jen refuses to have a baby because she’s selfish and committed to her career.’ Or that I’m sad and heartbroken,” she tells dear friend @MMcNearney in our September cover story. “First, with all due respect, I’m not heartbroken. And second, those are reckless assumptions. No one knows what’s going on behind closed doors. No one considers how sensitive that might be for my partner and me. They don’t know what I’ve been through medically or emotionally. There is a pressure on women to be mothers, and if they’re not, then they’re deemed damaged goods. Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do.” | Photographed by @BenHassett; Styled by @JuliaVonBoehm

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In Aniston’s opinion, that breed of judgment is another form of sexism. 

“I’ve definitely had my fair share of sexism in the media,” she told InStyle. “Women are picked apart and pitted against one another based on looks and clothing and superficial stuff. When a couple breaks up in Hollywood, it’s the woman who is scorned. The woman is left sad and alone. She’s the failure. F that. When was the last time you read about a divorced, childless man referred to as a spinster?” 

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Don’t worry, though — Aniston isn’t ready to pack it all in and give up on acting and its subsequent scrutiny just yet. Although she admits she’s pondered moving to “Switzerland — or somewhere,” she sees herself in the industry for the long haul. 

“I’m grateful as long as people still want me to come to the party,” she said. “I think I’ll always keep acting as long as there’s a desire for me to do it. As long as I’m fulfilled in other ways creatively, spiritually, and all of that stuff, I know that I could do this until they put me in a home.” 

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