Jennifer Garner and Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet
Celebrity

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck: why are JLo and Jennifer Garner always being pitted against each other?

“BLOCK any publication or individual pursuing this narrative. Otherwise you are directly funding patriarchy,” says Jameela Jamil of those tired ’Jennifer Garner vs Jennifer Lopez’ headlines.

After weeks of speculation, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have now seemingly confirmed the romance rumours that have been swirling around them.

In an Instagram post marking Lopez’s 52nd birthday, captioned “5 2… what it do…”, Lopez shared several pictures, including one PDA-heavy snap of her and Affleck kissing.

Check it out:

Elsewhere, JLo has alluded to the relationship in an Apple Music interview, telling Zane Lowe that she is “super happy” and having “the best time of my life.”

“I know people are always wondering, ‘How are you? What’s going on? Are you OK?’” she said. “This is it. I’ve never been better.”

“I want my people who care about me – because I care about them so much – to know that I’ve really gotten to a place in my life where I’m great on my own. And I think once you get to that place, then amazing things happen to you that you never imagine in your life happening again. And so that is where I’m at.”

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No matter how you feel about celebrity gossip, there’s no denying that it’s always nice to hear that someone’s happy. Love is love is love, after all.

What isn’t nice, however, is the inevitable online reaction to this ongoing ‘news’ story – because, you guessed it, Affleck’s ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, has since been dragged unwittingly into the equation.

Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner separated from Ben Affleck in 2015... so what gives?

Thankfully, the one and only Jameela Jamil is on the case, and she’s made a point of calling out all those publications that have dared stooped so low as to run stories comparing the two women.

“ABSOLUTELY not here for the Jennifer Garner comparison to JLo, with paparazzi pics of her working out, put right next to glamorous social media photos of JLo,” she tweeted.

“It’s not the 90s. We aren’t still pitting women against women over a guy… especially when only one of them wants him.”

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Continuing her thoughts on Instagram, Jamil continued: “BLOCK any publication or individual pursuing this narrative. Otherwise you are directly funding patriarchy… [and it] drips down into culture, society, schools.

“We have to actively reject the rot.”

The actor and activist added: “I have lived a life of so many women seeing me as a threat or a competitor, and have never wanted that, nor have I ever seen another woman as anything other than safety in numbers, or someone to be excited about. I’ve also often had men actively try to pit me and other women against each other. This bullshit comes from patriarchy, and is repeatedly infused into our psyche via the mostly (but not only) tabloid media.

“Let the Jens live. Let women live. Let girls live.”

Jamil isn’t wrong; it’s a long-perpetuated myth that women absolutely cannot get along: in fact, for as long as we can remember, we’ve seen women in the spotlight dogged by catfight rumours.

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Don’t believe us? Cast your mind back to the media’s coverage of the all-female Ghostbusters remake, or Sex And The City, or Ocean’s 8, or Snow White And The Huntsman, or, ya know, any film with a predominantly female cast: all were unfairly accused of on-set squabbling, all were forced to issue denials.

And this endless comparison of JLo to Garner seems women cannot get away from this tired old narrative, even when it comes to their personal lives. Even when there’s literally no reason to ever do so. Because, let’s face it, JLo is not the ‘other woman’ who broke up a marriage: she’s just… well, she’s just the ‘next woman’. She’s the woman who, if you believe the sources, decided to go on a date with a guy who finalised his divorce in 2016 – a whopping five years ago. 

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck:
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck previously dated from 2002 to 2004.

Meanwhile, that same guy’s ex isn’t sitting at home pining for him, either: in fact, she’s got four –four – film and TV projects in post-production, she’s posting happy and wholesome content to her own Instagram feed, and she’s apparently in a new relationship of her own (if US Weekly’s reports are to be believed, anyway).

Essentially, then, both Lopez and Garner are absolutely bossing it. Both are living their best lives, and both have yet to publicly say absolutely anything – and we mean anything – about the other. The only thing that’s linking them, in fact, is the fact that they’ve dated the same man several years apart (and, y’know, the fact that they’re named Jennifer).

There is so much more to women than the men they choose to spend time with. There are so many more interesting things to talk about than the who’s who of the celebrity dating world. And there are so many better things we could and should be doing with our time than buying into this ‘comparison culture.’

Why? Well, while it may seem like harmless fun, it doesn’t take long for these little cuts, and digs, and sly jabs to build up into something far more toxic. Because, by these tiny, tiny increments, they give society permission to enforce its more sexist narratives: that women are constantly competing with one another, for example.

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Follow Jamil’s good example, then, and switch off from the noise. Take a stand for womankind. And, sure, celebrate JLo and Affleck’s blossoming relationship if you want to – as we stressed before, love is love.

Just be sure to do so without dragging another person into the situation or putting anyone else down, OK? 

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