Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Jen, and why can't we escape our biological destiny

Jennifer Aniston 2011 by Brett Cove at
via Wikimedia Commons - 
Jennifer Aniston got married - so there's hope for us all.

Never mind that she was already a hugely successful actor, who even had a hairstyle named after her.

She's talented, beautiful, successful, stylish and has been paid loads of money to appear in lots of mediocre films.

But that meant nothing, because she was single. So she couldn't possibly have been happy.

But it's all OK now. She's married some bloke. I don't know who he is. If you're interested, you probably already know.

Celebrity wedding-off

Compare Aniston with George Clooney. Both had high-profile marriages that ended in the 1990s and both have had several different partners since.

Like Aniston, it was speculated that Clooney would never marry. And then he did.

But the media coverage of their nuptials is very different. For Clooney there is awe that one of the world's most eligible bachelors has finally been netted (and as a society we seem to respect Mrs C more for catching Clooney than for her successful career as a lawyer, which speaks volumes).

For Aniston, the media coverage was a loud sigh of relief that she is no longer sitting on the shelf.

And while there was never any suggestion that Clooney might have been losing any sleep over his wifelessness, Aniston was, of course weeping into her Chardonnay every night as 'All By Myself' played in the background, a la Bridget Jones.

Men, women and marriage

The constant depiction of women as incomplete on their own is unhelpful and even demeaning.

Men who get married are traditionally painted as losing their 'freedom'. It's just not seen like this for women.

There are lots of women who most want in life to have a partner and children. There are also men for whom this is their dearest wish.

But there are also women who put other things first - professional success, independence, travel, having fun.

And of course there are plenty of women who would dearly love to have a partner and children, but don't for all kinds of reasons, and are doing their best to enjoy their lives in spite of this.

By perpetuating the idea that women's sole purpose in life is to get hitched and get hatching, we trivialise our other accomplishments. How am I supposed to come to terms with being on my own when the world constantly tells me that, whereas single men can have a great time, I am supposedly pining for a partner?

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