If you’re in a healthy relationship with a good partner who treats you well, that’s terrific. You deserve this happiness. However, many women suffer from stigmas associated with being single. Jennifer Aniston’s recent piece in the Huffington Post got us thinking about the pressures put on women and how some people think that if women don’t fit into a certain mold–being in a relationship, having a “perfect” body, yearning to be a mother–then something is “wrong” with them. People voice their opinions on these issues in subtle and blatant ways. Either way is very disconcerting.
Happiness is individual
In the post, Aniston addresses the notion that a woman’s happiness is often expected to follow some societal “norm”–she should look for a mate by a specific age, she should dress and appear a certain way, etc. She has shown that a single woman who wants to pursue her career is not an unhappy woman. And it doesn’t mean she never wants to have kids and a husband. Now married to Justin Theroux, she is enjoying her new life. Despite what the media thinks, she’s NOT expecting a child, and she’s okay with that. Says Aniston,“This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children.” Aniston goes on, “We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child….” Each of has a right to define what makes up happy. Happiness can be found in many places and women need to understand that it’s OK to embrace your freedom.
The “standards” are set too high
Aniston also talked about body image. “The message that girls are not pretty unless they’re incredibly thin, that they’re not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover of a magazine is something we’re all willingly buying into,” says Aniston. And it’s true. In the check-out aisle of a grocery store, we’re bombarded with photoshopped images of models on magazines. We see these images on TV, on social media pictures, in our sleep, practically. These messages are everywhere, but it’s our choice whether or not to accept them. We have the power to determine how we want to look and what we want to eat. There’s a huge difference between being “skinny” and being healthy. We should encourage healthy lifestyles, not the need to look stick-thin to be accepted.
The bottom line is, we determine our own happiness. We make choices at different stages of our lives and those choices should be respected.