Here’s Jennifer Aniston arriving back in LA yesterday. It’s been a week since Jennifer Aniston told us that she is “fed up” with tabloid culture and impossible beauty standards and you wondering if she’s pregnant. You’ll recall, Jennifer wrote her op-ed for The Huffington Post. Not The New York Times. Not Vanity Fair. But HuffPo. And, as so many others have pointed out, it’s very possibly because she and Arianna Huffington are friends. In 2015, Arianna hosted a luncheon in Jen’s honour to help her campaign for an Oscar for her performance in Cake. Earlier this year the two did a Q&A together about sleep and Arianna’s book.
In my analysis of Jen’s piece, I wrote that my objection to it was her myopia. You cannot critique the celebrity ecosystem – of which she is a member, one of the most privileged members – without acknowledging the celebrity’s role in shaping and even entrenching the ecosystem’s flaws. It comes back to our buzzword of the week, thanks to Taylor Swift: “narrative”. Taylor claimed to have wanted no part of the narrative between herself and Kanye West, even though she’s been an active participant.
Curiously, The Huffington Post called out Taylor this week for that reason in a post on Monday:
Swift speaks of the “narrative” that she wants to be excluded from: the narrative of her feud with West and now, his wife Kim Kardashian West. And yet, in many ways, she has built an entire career on this narrative. It’s the ongoing narrative of West constantly antagonizing the sweet, innocent Taylor Swift, as she simply waits, bemused, for the world to come to her defense.
Replace Taylor Swift with Jennifer Aniston and the Wests with Brange. Does that narrative work? In the 11 years since the Jen-Brad split resulting in Brange, haven’t we seen a tit-for-tat exchange between the three of them?
And haven’t we seen Jennifer Aniston leverage the narrative of “when will Jen find love again” to her advantage to maintain and increase her popularity? I mean, it’s certainly not solely on the strength of her films.
So…where’s The Huffington Post piece that asks those questions?
And if she’s attacking the media for constantly fueling this “bullsh-t” that she so objects to, where’s the perspective that celebrities use the same media strategically to advance the storylines that celebrities themselves have hand-and-cherry picked to be disseminated?