As a woman counsellor, I can fully understand the pressure that many of my female clients feel – to do and achieve more and more in order to fit (often someone else’s) idea of a perfect and a ‘complete’ woman. This usually requires not just a successful career but a partner and a family too and a permanently beautiful slim body to match. We are made to feel not good enough if we don’t ‘have it all’ – according to someone else’s standards, to feel somehow less of a woman, less of a valuable human being. Striving to achieve it all and keep it that way usually comes at a great cost, and at times we are so busy doing this that we can forget what we actually want for ourselves and lose sense of who we really are.
Someone who has been a target of such pressure and scrutiny for many years is an actress and producer Jennifer Aniston. But after a recent publication of pictures by tabloids which started the rumour that she might be pregnant, or otherwise just ‘fat’, Jennifer decided to speak out. In an open letter, she criticised the obsessive media scrutiny of her body and her relationship and pregnancy status.
Aniston felt that the issue didn’t affect only her but was much wider and it required raising of the awareness of how women are portrayed and valued and how they are made to feel inadequate and incomplete if they didn’t have a partner, a child and a perfect body at all times.
Those of us who liked Jennifer for her TV and film roles will like her even more for saying this: ‘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… We don’t need to be married or a mother to be complete. We get to determine our ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.’
Source: For the Record (The Huffington Post, 12/07/16)