Internet High Five to Jennifer Aniston: Women Making Our Own Dreams

Source: fullmasala.com

Jennifer Aniston became my hero a couple days ago when she was interviewed by Carson Daly and she stated that she doesn’t have a checklist for her life, and she does not need to define her womanhood by marriage or procreating. The “checklist” she refers to is an idea our society invented as a list of social norms we all need to follow in order to fit in as American citizens.

America: Home of the free. We think we can do “whatever we want,” as long as we abide by the laws. Right? Wrong! Before you get your panties (or boxers) in a twist, think about this: The American Dream. The beautiful idea our founding fathers invented.

Over 200 years after our country was founded, people still blab on into eternity about this completely fabricated idea. We are taught this “dream” throughout our American education as if it were tangible (spoiler alert: it’s just a dream). And what is that dream? Originally, the dream was to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But over the course of history, societal norms evolved that dream into something a little more specific. Sure, we all want to be happy citizens. Yet in order to fit in with the rest of society, we are required the same things to achieve that happiness. The Checklist:

  1. Education
  2. Marriage
  3. House
  4. Kids (A.K.A. “family”)

Over a hundred years ago, this list did not exist. Before the Industrial Revolution, we married and had children to survive. We were agricultural beings, needing many hands to tend to the fields. Women were second-class citizens and didn’t have the right to so much as own homes. Marriage and children did not used to be social norms; they were necessary for a woman’s survival (unfortunately).

Time travel through those decades, and women slowly became more equal citizens. The right to vote, own homes, have their own checking accounts. Today, some women believe that we have achieved that wonderful sense of equality. Sorry to burst your happy bubble, but it’s not true. Women still have a long road to travel in order to find it.

In the past, marriage and children was required of women and it necessary for survive, but today that’s not the case. If it’s not, why do we get married and have kids? There are a billion potential personal reasons people have. But the main reason? It’s on The Checklist. And the problem is that this list pertains mainly to women.

If we think our American society portrays men and women equally, we are lying to ourselves. What do we call a man who remains unmarried and childless? A bachelor. And we imagine that these men are mainly sexy, like George Clooney (even though he was briefly married from 1989-1993 and has remained a bachelor until just recently).

Source: sofeminine.co.uk

What do we call a woman who remains unmarried and childless? A spinster. Cat lady. We assume she’s barren.

Source: teen.com

Women like Jennifer Aniston are badgered for years when people ask, “When are you getting MARRIEEEEED??? Are you going to have BABBBBIEEEESSSS???” Sure, men are asked these questions sometimes, but not nearly as often as women.

If a man lives alone and never marries, his house or apartment is called a Bachelor Pad. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never heard anyone call a single woman’s house or apartment a Bachelorette Pad. Why? Haven’t you heard? A man living alone is sexy, but a woman living alone is tragic! (I kid, I kid, but some people do happen to believe that crap).

Throughout history, the American Dream morphed into a list of requirements for all citizens (women, more specifically) to achieve by a reasonable age in order to fit into society. While The Checklist applies to both men and women, it appears in our society that for some reason, it’s more necessary for women to cross everything off their list than it is for men. Why? Probably because of American society’s sexist beliefs that men don’t necessarily need women, but women need men.

I am giving an internet high five to Jen Aniston for throwing The Checklist out the window. She is living proof that women can have whatever life they choose. Some may live by The Checklist, but it’s not a requirement. The American Dream should be whatever dream we want it to be. Better yet: Forget the American Dream altogether. Have your own dreams. Create your own list, or don’t write a list at all. We should be free to live the lives we want, not the lives we should.

Source: bicikel.com

Ending on a humorous note, here is a clip from the late and legendary George Carlin. He said the American Dream is called a dream because “you have to be asleep to believe it.”

 

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9 thoughts on “Internet High Five to Jennifer Aniston: Women Making Our Own Dreams

  1. “If we think our American society portrays men and women equally, we are lying to ourselves.” Yep. So many great points in this post! I am so with you. 🙂

  2. I don’t follow celebrity media all that closely, mostly because I don’t know who most of the celebrities are any more (a chicken and egg dynamic, I’ll admit) but I noticed in a tabloid the other day at the grocery store that Jennifer Aniston was pregnant, as she seem to have been for most of the past fifteen years, if I was to believe those tabloids. The determination: either Ms. Aniston has a dozen kids somewhere, has had the longest pregnancy in the history of man, or the most tragic reproductive history in Hollywood (which would have supplanted the pregnancy rumors, of course.) It clearly drives people NUTS that she’s not following the paradigm, nuts enough that her womb is the subject of ceaseless, unfounded speculation. I liked her before–this post only makes me like her more. I always admire a person who carves their own path.

    • That’s so funny you said that it drives people nuts that she’s not following the paradigm. I’m sure lots of celebrities are questioned about their marital status, and tons of tabloids speculating about possible baby bumps, but for some reason, it seems like the media has been more obsessive with Jennifer Aniston. I wonder if it’s partly because when she was married to Brad Pitt, they were “America’s Sweethearts,” and so when they divorced, the media thought that for Jennifer Aniston to be happy, she MUST get married again and have babies. So since she hasn’t, the media has gone crazy.

      I thought it was funny during the clip of her interview when Carson Daly asked her, “Why do you think people who don’t even know you care so much about those things?” and she said, “If you have an answer to that, please let me know.” I thought Jennifer Aniston was pretty cool before, and after this interview, she is now a million times cooler in my book.

  3. Pingback: Figuring myself out (I’m working on it) | Humyn

  4. You know, by any reasonable measure, Jennifer Aniston has already completed a very impressive “checklist” –
    – She was the “it” girl in a TV series that defined not only the 90’s but continues to define TV today (The New Girl is a great show in it’s own right, but it is essentially an updated version of Friends.)
    – She has gone on to have a good movie career
    – She looks amazing
    – She is wealthy beyond anyone’s wildest dreams (okay, MY wildest dreams)
    She really has nothing to prove to anyone at this point!

    • I couldn’t agree more with this! She has done amazingly well for herself, and she is so successful. Through everything she’s always seemed so cool and confident. I agree that she has nothing to prove to anyone. 🙂

  5. This is the first thing I am reading this morning and girl you made my day. I looouuve Jennifer Aniston and her lifestyle choices. About the equality of men and women, I couldn’t agree more. Every word you stated implies for our Indian society. We have a long way to go to prove people we are the leading ladies of our lives and not the society. The saddest part is we are even having this discussion. Equality shouldn’t be what we women try to achieve, it should be a way of life..
    Kudos to your write up.
    I think you can relate to this post of mine https://chinkslounge.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/a-brief-encounter-with-sexism-in-india/

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I love that you said we should even be trying to achieve equality because we should already have it–that is so true! I couldn’t agree more.

      All around the world women still don’t have as much equality as men. I hope with all my heart that in our lifetime, we see America, India, and many other countries progress towards equality for both men and women.

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