This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Edwin Thomas. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Dragging Jennifer Aniston Into Brangelina’s Divorce Is Just Plain Sexist

More from Edwin Thomas

By Edwin Thomas:

September 20 was the day we had been training to face our entire lives. The sheer magnitude of global uncertainty, economic volatility and personal heartbreak were up for grabs when Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from her husband of two years, after at least 11 years together. You must have read the obituary – Brangelina is indeed no more.

The devastation and impact was real, apparently at the thrill of another major superstar and accomplished artiste, Jennifer Aniston, who happens to be the ex-wife in this long-running triangular saga.

It didn’t take long for the ‘poor Jen’ narrative to return in triumph to claim the mantle of superiority that she ‘deserved’ after being ‘left’ by a man ELEVEN years ago. The only problem is, it doesn’t corroborate with Aniston’s views on the same. But the take on the person involved does not matter (and why should it?) when these memes take over the internet:

#JusticeForJen is trending and with good reason. You would think from these GIFs that The Golden Globe, SAG Award and Emmy-award winning actress, who was last year’s fourth highest paid, has a net worth of over $150 million and is happily married, was screaming with joy after avenging the ‘injustice’ that was done to her.

The two problems with this narrative is, one, our sexism is out for the world to see and rejoice, and two, Aniston does not need ‘justice’.

This would not be the last time when Aniston will be dragged into this rift. Every public step of the #Brangelina breakup will somehow be linked to her. In fact, the love triangle of Aniston, Jolie and the man in consideration has lasted for more than a decade – longer than both the marriages combined. It’s 2016, but it feels like 2005 because we’re still talking about poor Jen.

Let’s not forget, back in 2005, the Oscar-winning ‘home-wrecker’ Angelina Jolie was accused of conniving and setting devious plans into action as she ‘stole’ away true love from ‘poor Jen’, the girl-next-door turned ‘damsel in distress’. The man in the picture, however, became the cool dude who cruised towards professional success never to be bogged down by personal matters.

Marriages are hard, public marriages make things worse. “Nobody did anything wrong…. It was just like, sometimes things [happen]” said Aniston in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “If the world only could just stop with the stupid, soap-opera bullshit.” Ten years later with a successful career, she is still chased with these questions.

Every private step taken became a victim to this narrative – be it every single time Jolie had a kid with him or when Jen went on a date, or sat with a man, or ate an apple, or got married in 2015.

Let’s break this down because this is not just the result of the popularity of the three parties involved. How we perceive and characterise women who are single/divorced/widowed/’childless’ is highly driven by patriarchal notions of what constitutes happiness and feeling ‘complete’ for a woman. Many of her career moves and the films she has done has been defined in terms of a marriage that happened too long ago and from which both have seemingly moved on. She is aware of this narrative and has tried to use it to her advantage:

For the longest time, before her current marriage, she was the target of countless tabloid headlines on the lines of her being a lonely soul who is depressed and can’t find a date as well as being pregnant. This is because happiness for a woman is only in marriage and pregnancy, it seems. She is, has been and always will be waiting for a Prince Charming (in the form of a husband or a child) to ‘save’ her sinking heart.

Why is it hard to look at her marriage and life in her terms and her terms alone? This must be new to many folks but marriage and/or pregnancy need not ‘complete’ every single woman. Leave it to them to decide what does.

Bollywood too had its share of some pretty intense drama when world icon Aishwarya Rai and Bhai (enough said) decided to end things for good with Rai citing verbal, emotional and physical abuse. Similarly, every single step taken in her personal life became a matter of how she is either trying to get over Bhai or she is trying to fill in the empty void after Bhai left her life (with his antics). It gets crazier:

Be it Ash or Jen, Hollywood or Bollywood, famous or not, we perpetuate and propagate certain notions about men and women. High school romance is a good example of this.

To end with Jen’s words:

“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. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

You must be to comment.

More from Edwin Thomas

Similar Posts

By Rushil Saini

By Ananya Bhuyan

By Barkha Pawar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below