Thanks, Piers Morgan, for Mansplaining Jennifer Aniston's Essay on Body Shaming

Professional Internet troll and registered dirtbag Piers Morgan has some stuff to say about Jennifer Aniston's anti-tabloid, anti–body shaming essay, and if you think his commentary was prepackaged, poorly written sexism wrapped in a Daily Mail logo, you are quite correct. Jennifer's argument was basically that tabloid culture perpetuates unhealthy obsessions with women as sexual objects, women as mates, and women as mothers, and not, like, women as women. Piers Morgan giggled and farted, then banged on his keyboard to the tune of "Jennifer's asking for it."

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And it sounded something like this: 

It's this: female stars like Jennifer Aniston deliberately perpetuate the myth of 'perfection' by posing for endless magazine covers which have been airbrushed so much that in some cases the celebrity is virtually unrecognisable ... Once you put your body up for lucrative personal gain, I'm afraid you have to accept a level of scrutiny and debate that comes with it.

It's actually very generous of me to start with this, because this is the most coherent and complex argument he makes in the full thousand words. We'll get to the rest in a minute.

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The question he's asking here is, yes, buried underneath misused adverbs and repurposed victim blaming, but interesting nonetheless: Does a woman who's profited from her whiteness and skinniness and conventional hotness as much as Jen Aniston has have the right to expect a measure of privacy over her body? She willingly (though not deliberately, not by a long shot) played into the media's game of perfection, so does that revoke her right to question the rules?

The answer, I think, depends on what you think about women. Do you think that they're static creatures, unable to grow or progress? Do you think they're inherently responsible for others' conscious choices that impact the woman's well-being? If you think yes to either, then you'll probably come out of this sounding a lot like Piers Morgan. I also think you're wrong.

Jen has the capacity to grow and change, which means that even if she okay-ed a Photoshopped, mostly naked Rolling Stone cover in 1996 or GQ cover in 2014, she can feel differently about her decision now without being a fraud or a flip-flopper. Our present culture is much more open to women refusing Photoshop than it was 20 or even two years ago, but even if she allowed herself to be retouched today, I don't think that's her "deliberately perpetuating the myth of 'perfection.'" It's her taking control over her public image, and that's fine.

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The problem isn't that Jennifer Aniston is a skinny white woman looking perfect on magazine covers. The issue is that for the most part, we only have skinny white women looking perfect on a magazine cover. We need to see fat girls and black girls and Asian girls and wrinkled girls and Latina girls and disabled girls on our magazine covers. Jennifer Aniston is just one really pretty lady. It's not on her to fix this by herself.

So, anyway. Even if Piers Morgan had an actual, somewhat cohesive argument in his essay, I still disagree with him and think he's a robotized compilation of the most ill-natured mansplainers that Internet comment sections have to offer, and one who is pre-programmed to spew sexist garbage even while the world slowly decides to stop listening. And in the interest of presenting my opinion with a constructed argument and factual proof, here's a quick excerpt:

There can be few things more distressing for a woman than for people to look at you and mistakenly query if you're pregnant.

The unspoken implication is obvious: 'You're looking fatter than usual.'

Because he is a middle-aged man who has always been a man, it of course makes perfect sense that Piers Morgan would be our go-to expert on all things distressing to women. In this case, though, it does in fact seem like Jen is more distressed by the parasitic nature of tabloid culture, the notion of being a public figure and what that means for privacy, and our somewhat troubling definition of womanhood rather than a leaked photo of her looking "fatter" than usual. But Piers knows best, right?

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He continues:

I've fallen prey to dropping this clanger several times in my life and can still remember the jaw-dropping look of mortified horror on the faces of the women concerned.

I made them feel terrible and myself even worse.

(Now, I ask all woman I ever meet again if they've lost weight. It makes me hugely popular ...)

What the "hugely popular" Piers clearly fails to understand is that women do in fact have more going on than their rockin' bods, no matter how pregnant they may or may not be. Maybe he should consider talking to them about something that is not their physical appearance or their current state of motherhood. Maybe he should consider not talking to them at all. Wouldn't that be a treat?

Finally, after concluding the "sympathetic" portion of his essay, Piers transitioned into the rest of his deeply unwelcome opinion, which was covered above, with this:

Now, at this point I will put on my tin helmet in anticipation of the furious vitriol that will inevitably pour down on my head from the world's feminists.

Furious vitriol from the world's feminists? You got it, dude.

 

Image via Splash News

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