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Some women in the public eye achieve phenomenal success, yet still, end up infinitely tied to a narrative that reduces or demeans their accomplishments.

Actress Jennifer Aniston is one of these women. It doesn't appear to matter that she is one of the most prominent women working in Hollywood, one of considerable influence; the media seem fit to think her worthy of nothing more than tabloid fodder.  This is the woman who was left "broken-hearted" and "childless" after golden boy Brad Pitt "dumped" her for Angelina Jolie (she had the last laugh though) and then again with her ex-husband Justin Theroux. "Poor Jen!" is what the world cried. Alone again. And still with no children. 

It never gets mentioned that it was perhaps Jen who chose to end her marriage to Theroux or, her decision to not have children – something that has stigmatised her for her entire career – was due to deeply personal reasons and not because she was selfish and career-obsessed. 

 

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In a new interview with InStyle, she addresses this obsession by the media, in her most candid interview yet.

"It's pretty crazy. The misconceptions are "Jen can't keep a man," and "Jen refuses to have a baby because she's selfish and committed to her career." Or that I'm sad and heartbroken. First, with all due respect, I'm not heartbroken," she said. 

The fact that women are expected to make marriage and children a priority in life is something that the media – and everyone else – latches onto, particularly if they decide to reject this route in life. Aniston identifies with this stereotyping, and says that the insensitivity in such assumptions makes it even harder for women to tell their own story.    

"Those are reckless assumptions. No one knows what’s going on behind closed doors. No one considers how sensitive that might be for my partner and me. They don’t know what I’ve been through medically or emotionally. There is a pressure on women to be mothers, and if they are not, then they’re deemed damaged goods. Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do?"

And by keeping this "Poor Jen" narrative going, all we are suggesting is that she has failed deeply in some way. Remembering that we don't know anything about the ins and outs of the circumstances that lead to her marriage ending or her decision to not have children, no paper seems to ever suggest that this is a woman taking charge of her own destiny. The headlines suggest that she is a very rich and famous spinster, and to reduce her accomplishments to this is deeply insulting. 

 

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"Women are picked apart and pitted against one another based on looks and clothing and superficial stuff," she continues mentioning sexism in her industry. "When a couple breaks up in Hollywood, it’s the woman who is scorned. The woman is left sad and alone. She’s the failure. F that. When was the last time you read about a divorced, childless man referred to as a spinster?"

"In my personal experience, I've been treated worse verbally and energetically by some women in this industry," she said of her experiences with harassment in Hollywood. 

In an elegant op-ed in the Huffington Post last year, she also addressed this topic. “We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”   

 

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But even though she keeps saying it, we keep dismissing her. We keep demeaning her worth, her accomplishments because she lacks a ring on her finger or a baby and those (admittedly adorable) Instagram announcements that come with them.

Jen deserves better. She doesn't want or need our sympathy. She doesn't need us to obsess (because it's generally women that do, not men) over whether she'll return to Brad to mend her supposedly broken heart (she won't). What she needs is to be recognised as being a woman whose life accomplishments are worth more than who she decided to marry. 

She thrived when her supposed golden boy and Prince Charming disappeared; she never needed rescuing.  And she doesn't need anymore I'm sorrys.      

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2017 served as a vital turning point in exposing the widespread nature of sexual harassment in society.

The movement had its own hashtag, #MeToo, the iconic two words that helped multitudes to speak out.

It seems that 2018 has already replaced #MeToo with a different, yet still so necessary, rallying cry: #TimesUp.

300 women in the entertainment industry banded together and wrote a letter of solidarity, which was published in the New York Times and Spanish language paper La Opinión.

Among those involved are Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera and Shonda Rhimes.

Actress Amber Tamblyn described the open letter as a 'call to arms', letting society know that sexual harassment in the workplace will no longer be tolerated.

'To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor….we stand with you.'

'We support you,' the letter reads.

In the open letter, they also thanked the women of the Farm Worker's Union, who reached out to support them in the fight against sexual harassment.

It is a fight that has proven difficult and lengthy.

The piece cites the underrepresentation of women in positions of power for why sexual misconduct has been allowed to continue for such a very long time.

 

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'The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly,' they wrote.

The Time's Up initiative has its own website, with a 'Know Your Rights' section to help those who find themselves being sexually harassed in the workplace.

Of course, reporting sexual harassment is a legal process, and navigating the legal system can be costly. However, Time's Up are working to help those who are financially disadvantaged.

They have a GoFundMe, which has raised over $13 million (over €10.7 million) so far in order to 'provide subsidized legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace'.

It is so heartening and empowering to see these privileged women working to help their sisters.

We definitely agree with them: time's up.

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The uncovering of Harvey Weinstein's sexual crimes in October of this year laid the entertainment industry bare.

For decades it seems, Hollywood has been a breeding ground for sexual predators and miscreants.

And it's an unfortunate truth, but for every person who rightfully places blame at the predator's feet, someone else is ready to place it at the victim's.

This reaction is all the more damaging when women hold other women accountable for the misconduct of men, as Pamela Anderson appeared to do during a recent interview with NBC.

Speaking to Megyn Kelly, the former Baywatch star, who has been candid about her own experience of sexual violence as a child and adolescent, said she subsequently avoided dangerous situations by employing some 'common sense."

"I learned never to put myself in those situations again,” she said. “When I came to Hollywood, of course, I had a lot of offers to do private auditions and things that make absolutely no sense. Just common sense."

"Don’t go into a hotel room alone. If someone answers a door in a bathrobe, leave. Things that are common sense. But I know Hollywood is very seductive and people want to be famous and sometimes you think you’re going to be safe with an adult in the room."

Alluding to certain individuals within the entertainment industry, Pamela suggested that those who fell foul did not properly heed warnings.

"I think it was common knowledge that certain producers and certain people in Hollywood are people to avoid, privately. You know what you’re getting into when you go to a hotel room alone."

Unsurprisingly, the Canadian star has faced serious backlash on Twitter in the wake of the interview, with one social media user writing: "Here’s a very stupid woman saying very stupid things about very brave women."

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The onslaught of horror stories emerging from Hollywood in recent weeks has given Black Swan actress, Natalie Portman, pause for thought.

Initially grateful she hadn't experienced the violence and degradation endured by many women within the entertainment industry, the 36-year-old actress slowly realised that she had, in actual fact, been subject to various forms of threat and manipulation over the course of her career.

Speaking at the Vulture Festival in Los Angeles, the Oscar-winning actress discussed the recent controversies before providing an insight into her experience as a female in Hollywood.

"When I heard everything coming out, I was like, wow, I'm so lucky that I haven't had this," she began.

"And then, on reflection, I was like, okay, definitely never been assaulted, definitely not, but I've had discrimination or harassment on almost everything I've ever worked on in some way."

With more and more women coming forward with their stories of sexual assault and rape, Natalie initially found it hard to place herself within the culture of misogyny, but soon realised she had been exploited many times, although not to the same extent as her peers.

"I went from thinking I don't have a story to thinking, Oh wait, I have 100 stories. And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves, of things that we just took for granted as like, this is part of the process."

Natalie went onto to tell the audience about an incident with a film producer which left her feeling fearful and manipulated.

Having been invited to take a flight with him, Natalie recalled: "I showed up and it was just the two of us, and one bed was made on the plane."

After communicating her discomfort at the dynamic, Natalie explained that the incident did not escalate, but certainly had an effect on her confidence.

"Nothing happened. I was not assaulted. I said, 'This doesn't make me comfortable' and that was respected but was super not OK. That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared."

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Hundreds of people took to the streets of Hollywood this weekend to show support for the victims of sexual misconduct.

Inspired by the hugely successful #MeToo Twitter campaign, men and women marched along Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame, in a effort to combat a “culture of sexual abuse” in the entertainment industry.

The demonstration follows a number of allegations made against prominent figures in Hollywood including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and most recently, comedian Louis C.K.

According to Sky News, Tara McNamarra, a 21-year-old protester at the march said: “I've been sexually assaulted multiple times throughout my life.”

"It's affected me in every aspect of my life."

#MeToo is the brainchild of social activist, Tarana Burke, who created the hashtag in the wake of the Weinstein allegations.

It was later popularised on social media by actress, Alyssa Milano, who shared the message with her Twitter followers.

Ahead of Sunday march, Tarana wrote on Facebook: “For every Harvey Weinstein, there's a hundred more men in the neighbourhood who are doing the exact same thing.”

“What we're seeing, at least for now, is a unity of survivors, a community of survivors that have grown out of this #MeToo viral moment, that I'm just hoping and praying that we can sustain.”

Organisers say they hope the march will help to unite survivors of sexual assault and encourage more victim to tp talk about their experiences.

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As more and more men and women come forward to share their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood, a resurfaced news article from the 1940s shows that this not a new issue.

An image of the 1945 article, first published in The Mirror, began circulating online after it was shared on Twitter by British concert pianist, James Rhodes.

It reports how Irish-born actress, Maureen O'Hara, accused a Hollywood producer of calling her a “cold potato without sex appeal” because she refused to have have sex with him.

“I'm so upset,” she told The Mirror.

“I am ready to quit Hollywood. It's got so bad I hate to come to work in the morning.”

She went on to explain how producers and directors had made attempts to damage her reputation because she turned them down.

“I'm a helpless victim of a Hollywood whispering campaign. Because I don't let the producer and director kiss me every morning or let them paw me they have spread around town that I am not a woman, that I am a cold piece of marble statuary.”

In 2004, she told The Daily Telegraph how standing up for herself harmed her career.

“I wouldn't throw myself on the casting couch, and I know that cost me parts. I wasn't going to play the whore. That wasn't me.” 

Maureen died on October 24, 2015, at the age of 95. She is best known for her roles in The Quiet Man, Miracle on 34th Street and The Parent Trap.

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Over the course of the last month, Hollywood's seedy underbelly has been laid bare after dozens of brave men and women have come forward with stories of harassment, abuse, assault and rape at the hands of some of the industry's biggest names.

As the weeks go on, more and more Hollywood heavy-hitters have decided to open up about the reality of being part of the industry, and the latest to have her say is Transformers star, Megan Fox.

Speaking to Hong Kong magazine, Prestige, the mother-of-three explained that the behind-the-scenes dynamic can have a detrimental effect on those who seek to make their career in movies.

"There are some very dark, negative things that go on on-set, between actors or between actors and directors — specifically to actresses — that we have to go through," Megan told the publication.

"There's no morality or integrity within the studio system. It’s completely about greed."

The 31-year-old actress admits that an actor's self-worth is often broken down during shooting, saying: "People have to go through this crap over and over again because your humanity isn’t even recognised. You’re an object, a means to an end."

"It creates a lot of emotional trauma," she added before explaining that the wellbeing of a star is rarely considered if it negatively impacts production.

Using on-set injuries as an example, Megan explained that asking for shooting to be temporarily stopped is almost unheard of, explaining: "You can’t shut down a movie set  – it’s $2 million a day halted – even though insurance covers it."

"We usually fight through the injuries. As long as your face looks OK, they don’t care and they want you to keep shooting anyway," she added.

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Since the creation of the Hollywood machine, we've known that women have had to fight for both the recognition and roles they deserve.

Paid less than their male counterparts. subject to more intense scrutiny and battling an industry which rarely celebrate the older female, women in Hollywood have to grow a thick skin in order to survive the revolving door system.

And if women do seek to have their voices heard? They're swiftly dubbed 'divas' by industry insiders  – something Blake LIvely addressed in a recent interview.

Speaking to People, the 30-year-old actress admits that fear for her burgeoning career stopped her from speaking up at certain times.

"As a woman, you’re afraid of a label you may acquire by demanding fair treatment for yourself that you know that you’ve earned," she explained.

"I think that sometimes you’re not encouraged to stand up for yourself," Blake added.

“It doesn’t even mean in really dramatic ways,” she added. “That just means that if you’re working too many hours, or you aren’t being paid what someone else at your work level is being paid, or if you’re being treated differently than someone else on the crew, or whoever."

Acutely aware that challenging the norm left her vulnerable to criticism, Blake remained stoic when observing the ins and outs of an industry she joined at just 10-years-old.

"I didn’t feel like I could fight for myself in the same way, because I was afraid of coming across as a diva or difficult or demanding," Blake admitted.

Interestingly, Blake admitted she had no trouble challenging injustices which didn't directly effect her – an approach she wished she could have applied to herself.

"I’d encourage myself to love myself and fight for myself, as hard as I fought for other people," she says of her younger self.

Oh, and one more thing while we have you! Don't forget that you can catch up on all your favourite shows for free for a month right here, so sign up now!

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As more and more allegations against Harvey Weinstein are made public, the people responsible for contributing to Hollywood's misogyny in recent decades are being forced to justify their actions.

Given the sheer number of actresses, reporters and television hosts who are coming forward to share their own stories of harassment and assault, it's no surprise that the entertainment industry is being viewed in a very different light by the general public.

One journalist is, however, keen to remind the public that while the likes of Harvey Weinstein do indeed exist, there are other high-profile men who truly understand the vulnerability women in the industry feel.

Film reviewer, Nell Minow, insists that not only do many men choose not to exploit the women they encounter, but they endeavour to protect them.

Speaking to James Warren of Poynter.org, Nell recalled an encounter with David Schwimmer, which she feel speaks to a more positive aspect of the entertainment industry.

While interviewing the former Friends star in 2011, David suggested they take their meeting from the hotel restaurant to his hotel bedroom due to the dining room's noise level.

Nell recalls David immediately offering to provide a third person in the form of a chaperone to ensure his interviewer's comfort.

"I haven’t thought of that since it happened but the Weinstein stories made me not just remember it but remember it in an entirely different context as an indicator of the prevalence of predatory behaviour and as an indicator of Schwimmer’s integrity and sensitivity," Nell said this week.

Nell is keen to stress the significance of the actor's words by explaining that his approach meant he instinctively knew how women in the industry are treated, and was keen to protect them.

"This wasn’t just about his being a good guy who would not have tried anything. He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe."

Nell added: "I just want to say thank you. And, also, your movie was very good."

While some Twitter users have dismissed Nell's story, arguing that men should not be praised for not assaulting women, others insist David's attitude displayed a level of understanding not exhibited by many men in the industry.

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As discussion continues to rage over the entertainment industry's treatment of women, Jennifer Lawrence has added her voice to the conversation, and gave an insight into the precarious nature of working in Hollywood.

During her speech at ELLE's Women in Hollywood event last night, the 27-year-old star recalls being body-shamed by both male and female production members, and admits that her desire for a successful career often meant she allowed herself to be treated poorly.

In one example, Jennifer highlighted how rampant misogyny is in the industry when a male producer attempted to placate her over her supposed weight issues by calling her 'perfectly f*ckable'.

"One girl before me had already been fired for not losing enough weight fast enough," Jennifer said of an unnamed movie production.

"And, during this time, a female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. And we all stood side-by-side with only paste-ons covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet."

Appalled by the pressure being placed on her to shed weight, Jennifer goes onto explain that she approached a male producer to discuss the matter only to be further degraded under the guise of flattery.

"I asked to speak to a producer about the unrealistic diet regime and he responded by telling me he didn't know why everyone thought I was so fat, he thought I was 'perfectly 'f*ckable'," Jennifer remembers.

Torn between wanting to establish a career and defend herself against prevailing misogyny, Jennifer found herself in a supremely difficult position – something she went on to address during her speech.

"I couldn't have gotten a producer or a director or a studio head fired. I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt like I had to for my career," she admitted.

It seems her supposed attitude on the set of that film cast a long shadow as the actress recalls being criticised in its aftermath, saying: "I was young and walking that fine line of sticking up for myself without being called difficult, which they did call me, but I believe the word they used was "nightmare."

"I didn't want to be a whistleblower. I didn't want these embarrassing stories talked about in a magazine. I just wanted a career," she told the audience.

Jennifer's story is, unfortunately, just one of dozens emerging from Holylwood in recent weeks.

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Women in the public eye face a huge amount of pressure to prescribe to standardised beauty ideals, and being slim is often one of them. 

Gemma Arterton has shed some light on the horrific pressure she has felt in the film industry.

The actress has claimed that she was forced to lose weight by film bosses after they sent her a live-in personal trainer who would film her exercising as evidence for the producers.

'There was one film that I was on and we were out in Morocco and a couple of weeks went past and they literally were like “We need a personal trainer – stat,' she told The Guilty Feminist podcast in June.

‘And they flew someone out overnight that gave up their whole life to be with me and be my personal trainer.'

'They’d measure me and they’d call up the personal trainer at like nine and night going: “Is she in the gym? And if she isn’t, why isn’t she in the gym?' she continued.

‘And then they’d get me in the gym and film me in the gym and they’d have to know that I was there.'

She also told The Guilty Feminist panel how a producer attempted to shame her out of eating healthy snacks while filming. 

'There was one day when I went to get some snacks, they have like snacks on set, and I went to get some apricots, some dried apricots, and the man went, this big, fat, obese producer went: “I hope you’re not going to eat that.'

Thankfully, Gemma paid him no heed, saying: 'I’m going to eat about all twenty, then I’m going to go home and eat all the stuff in the mini bar and then I’m going to vomit it all up.'

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Body shaming can happen to women of any size or shape, and can happen on a public platform when you work in Hollywood. 

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz has spoken out about her firsthand experience with having her physique criticised, and at a seriously young age. 

Chloe spoke to Variety about a horrible instance of body shaming, which happened to her when she was just fifteen. 

 

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'This guy that was my love interest was like, ‘I’d never date you in real life,’ she began.

'I was, ‘What?'” she said. “And he was like, ‘Yeah, you’re too big for me’ – as in my size.”

He was 'one of the only actors that ever made me cry on set,' she continued, declining to name the culprit. 

 

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'I went bawling to my brother and he was like, ‘What happened?’,And I was like, ‘He told me I was too big.’ And my brother was like, ‘What just happened?’ My brother was so angry.'

'I had to pick it up and go back on set and pretend he was a love interest, and it was really hard.'

'It just makes you realise that there are some really bad people out there and for some reason, he felt the need to say that to me.' she continued

 

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'You have to kind of forgive and not forget really, but it was just like wow. It was jarring. I look back on it and I was 15, which is really, really dark.'

Chloe went on to describe another occurrence, in which she was ostracised from her film crew due to the actions of her male co-star.

'They have this inferiority issue and I’m like, ‘You are completely equal to me, you are no different than me. I just happen to be the lead in this movie, and I don’t know why just because you are kind of the smaller character that you’re pushing me into a corner to try and put me down.'”

Kudos to Chloe for speaking out on the dual issues of equality and body shaming.

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