Celebrities are finally getting their own back for unfounded tabloid gossip.
Last month, Jennifer Aniston penned an empowering essay to Huffington Post addressing perpetual gossip that she is pregnant, revealing she is fed up with how society continues to define women by their marital or parental status.
And over the weekend, it was the turn of award-winning actress Renée Zellweger.
In a post titled We Can Do Better, the 47-year-old pens an essay to condemn tabloid gossip that perpetuates the 'double standard used to diminish' the contributions of women by scrutinising their bodies for clickbait.
Addressing years of media speculation about plastic surgery and accusations of an eye-lift in 2014, the actress says:
It didn't matter; just one more story in the massive smut pile generated every day by the tabloid press and fueled by exploitative headlines and folks who practice cowardly cruelty from their anonymous internet pulpits.
Lamenting media outlets that reported on her appearance as if it was major headline news, the star explained she felt compelled to address the gossip surrounding her appearance and shed light on society's obsession with female stereotypes.
I'm writing because to be fair to myself, I must make some claim on the truths of my life, and because witnessing the transmutation of tabloid fodder from speculation to truth is deeply troubling. The 'eye surgery' tabloid story itself did not matter, but it became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way. In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.
Not that it's anyone's business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes. This fact is of no true import to anyone at all, but that the possibility alone was discussed among respected journalists and became a public conversation is a disconcerting illustration of news/entertainment confusion and society's fixation on physicality.
Renée – who won a best supporting actress Oscar for Cold Mountain – explained that ongoing criticism and scrutiny of women's bodies gives a 'problematic' message for younger generations as it propagates the antiquated idea that women should be defined by their appearance.
Too skinny, too fat, showing age, better as a brunette, cellulite thighs, facelift scandal, going bald, fat belly or bump? Ugly shoes, ugly feet, ugly smile, ugly hands, ugly dress, ugly laugh; headline material which emphasizes the implied variables meant to determine a person's worth, and serve as parameters around a very narrow suggested margin within which every one of us must exist in order to be considered socially acceptable and professionally valuable, and to avoid painful ridicule.
The resulting message is problematic for younger generations and impressionable minds, and undoubtably triggers myriad subsequent issues regarding conformity, prejudice, equality, self acceptance, bullying and health.
Maybe we could talk more about our many true societal challenges and how we can do better.
Bridget Jones would be proud.