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  • Meet the New Poster Child for Feminism

       January 20, 2005

    Guess who's the latest feminist icon. Is it MIT biologist (and now a big Lawrence Summers critic) Nancy Hopkins? Or how about Condoleezza Rice, who'll soon be America's face to the world as the new Secretary of State? Or even Michelle Kwan, who just won a stunning 9th US figure skating championship? Nope, it's none other than Jennifer Aniston.

    Apparently, the breakup of her marriage to Brad Pitt is because he wants kids now and she doesn't. This makes her a hero to some people:

    It takes enormous courage to say: "Well, this is what I want, I want to make movies, I've worked too hard to chuck it all in for nappies, nipple creams and round-the-clock nausea."

    Aniston isn't just rare, she should be declared an endangered species. It's so refreshingly uncommon to find a woman in her mid-30s whose sense of self-preservation isn't being overridden by the clanging of her biological clock.

    Over at Salon.com, Rebecca Traister seems to be taking this all a little personally:

    The media lesson we're all being fed in the wake of the breakup -- whether it bears even a passing resemblance to the realities of Pitt and Aniston's marriage -- is glaringly clear: You may land a hot husband, ladies, but you'd better pop one out soon, or you won't keep him.

    I think the real media lesson here is that these columnists are acting like Brad Pitt is their mother: "When are you going to get married? When will I get some grandchildren?"

    Some feminists want to jump on this as another case of women only being valued for their uteruses:

    It's a regressive and scary message to women: No matter how rich, thin, beautiful or talented, what really makes us attractive -- after a few years of marriage anyway -- is our ability and willingness to reproduce on demand!

    Personally, I'd hope that Brad & Jen, like most couples, discussed having children before they were married. This is all speculation, but I'd imagine they probably decided to wait until they were a few years into their marriage to start trying. And now that they're at that point, Aniston has changed her mind. When one person wants kids and the other doesn't, there's really no way to compromise, is there? If their marriage ends, is it because Jen won't "reproduce on demand" or is it because she changed the expectations for their marriage after the fact?

    I don't think there's anything wrong with Aniston deciding she doesn't want kids right now. But, I don't see how that makes her at all "courageous" or why it makes Pitt some kind of villain. What I do think is that some people are so threatened by the traditional male and female roles that they'll make a heroine of someone for literally doing nothing.

    Think about it. There are so many amazing women that could be held up as feminist role models: teachers, doctors, lawyers, mothers, soldiers and scholars - women of character and accomplishment. But instead, an Aniston is praised simply for not wanting to take on the traditional role of motherhood.


    Posted by at January 20, 2005 12:20 AM

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    Comments

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Joe R. the Unabrewer at January 22, 2005 04:11 PM

    I agree, it's nobody's business but theirs, and shouldn't mean a damn thing to anyone else.

     
     

     

     


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