It’s 2017, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that the world would get on board with the fact that women’s dreams for the future don’t solely revolve around love, marriage and baby carriages. Indeed, more women than ever before are choosing not to have children, for a multitude of reasons.
Yet, unlike men, child-free women often find themselves under a harsh spotlight, with friends, family, and complete strangers inexplicably feeling within their rights to ask deeply personal questions surrounding their reproductive choices.
Jennifer Aniston knows this all too well – and has now spoken out again about having to constantly respond to pregnancy rumours, imploring gossips to stop straying into such a “sensitive” topic and “stay in your own backyard”.
For years, now, the media has been positively obsessed with her personal life, running ridiculous and unfounded headlines about her “secret pregnancy” every single time she steps out in a bikini, or a slightly loose top, or, y’know, just enjoys a “delicious big lunch”. So much so that, in 2016, Aniston penned a blistering op-ed, in which she pointed out the inherent sexism of these “absurd and disturbing” claims.
Her words, though, have had little effect on the whirring cogs of the pregnancy rumour mill.
“If your body is in a normal moment of having had a bite or two, or you're having a moment of bloat, then there's arrows circled around your stomach, telling you that you're pregnant,” Aniston wearily explains in the new interview with Glamour.
“And it's like, actually no, it's just my body. Not that it's any of your business to begin with. Having a child, as we know, is no one's business except the couple or individual that's going through it.”
Aniston goes on to point out that, despite what misogynists might have you believe, women absolutely do not need to have children in order to live a “happy and fulfilled” life.
“My ideas of what a happy life and fulfilled life are might be different from other people’s,” she says firmly.
“I think it's to each their own. Nobody's right to judge someone else's choices. No one knows what's going on beyond the four walls of your home, of these people who are having or not having children.
“It's a very sensitive area to go to, especially. It's sensitive to me.”
Aniston finished with a scathing message for gossips everywhere: “Everybody likes to get into each other's panty drawers.
“Stay in your own backyard and let everybody live their lives.”
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves to be honest.
Read more: “Why I chose to have an abortion aged 35”
Aniston is not the first beloved sitcom star to make such a point: Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall has previously spoken out about her frustrations over being labelled “childless”.
“It’s the ‘less’ that is offensive” she says in the interview on Radio 4’s Woman's Hour in 2015. “Childless – it sounds like you’re less because you haven’t had a child.”
“The thing that I find questionable about being childless and child-free – are you really? I mean there is a way to become a mother in this day and age that doesn't include your name on the child's birth certificate. You can express that maternal side of you very clearly, very strongly.”
Cattrall added: “I am not a biological parent, but I am a parent. I have young actors and actresses that I mentor, I have nieces and nephews that I am very close to.
“I didn’t change nappies, which is OK with me, but I did help my niece get through medical school. I did sit down with my nephew when he was [going through] a very tough time to join the army. And those are very motherly things to do, very nurturing things to do. So I feel I am a mother of sorts.
“I am not completely child-free, because I care about the next generation.”
Images: Rex Pictures