Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week’s most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
The Lady Problem: Tabloids have been speculating on the state of Jennifer Aniston's uterus since the very moment I emerged from my mother's own. I cannot remember a time when our lesser news media was not attempting to convince me of one of the following scenarios: (a) Aniston is pregnant; (b) Aniston is trying desperately to get pregnant, but failing; (c) Aniston has just miscarried triplets; (d) Aniston is turning her womb into a PokéStop in hopes of luring unborn children into it.
The most recent pregnancy rumor came straight from the gaping maw of The Daily Mail. The proud inducer of human suffering published photos of Aniston looking like a person who had just consumed food — a historically forsworn activity for a celebrity, but a necessary activity nonetheless — and used them as proof that Aniston was full of child. Her long-suffering rep, stuffing her mouth full of hamburger buns to dull the screaming, clarified yet again that Aniston was not pregnant, but rather had just enjoyed "a delicious big lunch" and was "feeling safe on private property."
As it turns out, the only thing actually gestating inside Aniston was blistering rage. This week, Aniston published an op-ed in The Huffington Post, of all places, probably so that moms on Facebook can continue to share it even after the sun itself has fizzled out and died. Essentially, Aniston uses the piece — titled "For the Record" — to issue a massive fuck-you to the entertainment media, many of whom have now quoted and applauded the editorial after years spent doing the very thing she is fuck-you-ing them for.
"For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up," begins Aniston. "I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,' the ‘First Amendment' and ‘celebrity news.'" The issue, she explains, isn't only that her personal privacies are violated by drones on an hourly basis, but that by sounding the uterus alarm every time she eats a burrito, the media is sending a dark message to all women who would eat and enjoy a burrito (so, all women). "If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing," she writes. "We use celebrity ‘news' to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one's physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical ‘imperfection?'"
Aniston adds that the endless speculation about her love life and internal organs perpetuates the notion that women are "incomplete" without a kid or a rangy, aggressively bearded husband. She ends the piece with a call to action for women to stop reading tabloids and start eating burritos whenever they want, even for breakfast, even if it's not a breakfast burrito, even if it has steak in it. "Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child [but not without a burrito]. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies [i.e., a fistful of burrito, with the juice sort of running down the side of our necks]," she writes. "That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples [of where to get the best burritos]."
The Solution: Aniston has already done a solid job coming up with her own solution, which is, in her words, to "stop buying the bullshit." However, this is not nearly creative and diabolical enough for the Lady Problems universe. After we have "stopped buying the bullshit" (OK! Magazine, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style, Star, any website that bombards you with congratulations because you have just won an iPhone 6 just click here to redeem!!!!!), we will stand outside of the brick-and-mortar iterations of these establishments and hand out hot little free burritos.
At first, the "writers" will resist. But humans can only resist free burritos for so long. This is science. By day three, at least one member of the staff — probably a dude, who has less internalized shame about eating meat wrapped in bread and cheese — will cave and reach into our wicker burrito baskets. The moment the burrito touches their lips, we will email an ecstatic birth announcement to every single person that they know.
The Lady Problem: After months of inspiring grown men to act out in ways previously reserved for children possessed by demons, Paul Feig's all-female Ghostbusters reboot finally hits theaters this week. The movie's getting mixed-to-positive reviews — I haven't seen it, but will do so as soon as I finish handing out these burritos — which, for these aforementioned baby men, is an unmitigated disaster. If a female-centric Ghostbusters succeeds, what's next? Women learning to type? Women getting the vote?
As such, these tragic perpetu-bros are purposefully torpedoing Ghostbusters IMDb reviews (h/t ScreenCrush) in a frantic attempt to ensure that Hollywood will stop making movies starring women and continue exclusively making movies about men punching each other in the dicks. This isn't necessarily a new phenomenon: Back in May, we covered FiveThirtyEight's piece on male IMDb users tanking the reviews of shows aimed at women, and Slate ran a piece this week demonstrating that male critics unduly "slime" movies starring women because they aren't primed to empathize with female perspectives. But this particular round of sexist idiocy stems from what's apparently a targeted Reddit campaign, because of course it's Reddit:
The Solution: Each Reddit user/IMDb troll/chronic masturbator who has gone out of his way to shit all over this movie that he probably has not even seen yet will undergo the following: Wake up. Roll over. Punch dog. Run to computer to downvote Ghostbusters. Realize clicking finger is missing. Realize other clicking finger is, as always, inside own tush. Panic. Attempt to downvote Ghostbusters with elbow. Realize elbow is covered in trash juice, as live inside parent's trash can. Attempt to downvote Ghostbusters with knee. Realize knee is missing as sold it last week to pay for internet access. Slowly lower face down to keyboard to downvote Ghostbusters. Realize face is see-through. Realize have become ghost. Realize more importantly have let down Reddit brethren by not contributing to downvoting. Scream and scream and scream and scream. Accidentally slime all over your parents' floor. Get evicted. Roam the streets as a homeless ghost for months. Regret own life. Understand the importance of self-sufficiency. Train in a marketable field. Get a job. Log back on to the internet. Write an accurate Ghostbusters review. Reenter own body. Remove finger from tush. Cut off finger as precaution, in case some other ladies decide to make a movie together in the near future.