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October 29, 2009

An Elle Reader Makes Me Defend Jennifer Aniston

I'm not a huge Jennifer Aniston fan, so I didn't read the profile of her in the September issue of Elle, but one of the letters about it in the most recent issue caught my eye.

I'm so tired of seeing Jennifer Aniston on the cover of every magazine. I think she's a good actress but not great! Her personal life overpowers her acting career, which is her own fault. What does she think is going to happen when she gets involved with every male costar she works with?! I have no sympathy for her. Maybe it's the media's fault, but with all the relationships she's in and out of, I just can't see her as an independent woman.
Molly, Atlanta
It's interesting that she says "maybe it's the media's fault" in the middle of stating that Aniston has had so many relationships and gets involved with every one of her costars, but doesn't really acknowledge the role of the media in fueling those perceptions that she's stating as fact. A lot of Aniston's alleged hookups are most likely overhyped, exaggerated, or completely invented by the tabloids and gossip sites. That's just what they do, and Jennifer Aniston certainly isn't the only celebrity that they make up rumors about, but she is a favorite target. I wouldn't necessarily argue that the way she handles her personal life in the media is perfect or above criticism, but I think it's a stretch to say that the over-the-top coverage of her love life is entirely her own fault.

And even if we accepted that she does date around a lot and sometimes gets involved with costars...so what? You can't be an independent woman and have an active dating life? It's certainly not like she's the only actor ever to get involved with a costar or two, or the only person ever to have some hookups happen at work. You can say that she's not the best actress or criticize some of her life choices, but I think it's a tough sell to argue that she's not independent based on the number of guys that she's dated. To me that borders on slut-shaming.

Jennifer Aniston
is an Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress who was on one of the most popular and successful sitcoms ever. She's been working steadily in movies since Friends ended, she has her own production company, and she's repeatedly popped up on lists like the Forbes Celebrity 100 and the Richest 20 Women in Entertainment. She has millions of dollars - not because of an inheritance, a trust fund, or a rich husband, but because she earned it in her chosen career. She also happens to be a single woman who should be able to do whatever she wants. But because she's dated (or been the subject of rumors about) too many men for Molly the Elle reader's taste, that's enough to pronounce that she's not an independent woman. Sorry Molly, but based on this letter I just can't see you as anything but a judgmental woman.

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