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Jennifer Aniston Shares Her Thoughts on the Backhanded Compliment People Give Her

Ryan McLachlan
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Television / justmeredith / MovieStills DB
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Television / justmeredith / MovieStills DB

Jennifer Aniston, 54 years old, is most famous for starring as Rachel Green on the sitcom Friends, which originally aired between 1994 and 2004. Since then, Aniston has become a beauty icon. In an era where people are obsessed with age and the changes that come with passing years, people champion Aniston for her graceful aging. However, as Aniston has talked about in recent interviews, this has led people to give her what she describes as a “backward compliment.”

‘You look great for your age’

Jennifer Aniston attends the 77th Annual Golden Globes in Beverly Hills, California, January 5, 2020.
Jennifer Aniston attends the 77th Annual Golden Globes on January 5, 2020. (Photo Credit: Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images)

If you ever meet Aniston, the only compliment you shouldn’t give her is, “You look great for your age.” Aniston told British Vogue, “It drives me bananas, I can’t stand it.” She went on to say that it reflects our current society. “We have markers like, Well, you’re at that stage, so for your age… I don’t even understand what it means.”

Aniston, making her point, talked about how she’s in better shape in her 50s than in her 20s. She also said, “I feel better in mind, body, and spirit. It’s all 100 percent better.” She also said that people in her family, particularly on her dad’s side, live for a long time and that she wants to thrive. “I don’t want to just be alive.”

Other celebrities speak out against ageism

Brooke Shields attends the 2021 Hampton Classic Grand Prix on September 05, 2021 in Bridgehampton, New York
Brook Shields at the 2021 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, September 5, 2021. (Photo Credit: Sonia Moskowitz / Getty Images)

Aniston isn’t alone in experiencing ageist or backhanded compliments. Other actresses have spoken out about how they have dealt with ageism and their views on getting older.

Paulina Porizkova, a 56-year-old supermodel, has taken to Instagram to say, “Celebrate who we are, wrinkles and imperfections and all.” She has also admitted, “As much as I’m proud of who I am, I’m also broken.” She said that she is still “assembling” herself and that she is not in the greatest place yet, that being said, it will one day be “pretty freaking awesome.”

Brooke Shields has also spoken out about perceptions of aging. She told USA Today that she feels stronger now and more comfortable, and even sexier now than she has for years. Shields also said that now, after becoming comfortable with who she is, she was told, “It’s over,” but, she remarked, “I just won’t accept that.”

A double standard

Sarah Jessica Parker during filming of her new series
Sarah Jessica Parker seen on the set of And Just Like That... on July 14, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)

Halle Berry took to Twitter to talk about how she thought her career would be over once she was in her 40s. She said, “I couldn’t think that I’d be playing an MMA fighter at 54 years old. Yet I did, so it’s got to be changing. I’m proof of that.” Salma Hayek echoed this when she described how she was shocked to get the role of a superhero for Eternals in her 50s. She said, “I felt a sense of gratitude and excitement… for what it meant about the possibilities for the future.”

Many other actresses have spoken out about the double standard in the filmmaking industry. Sarah Jessica Parker told Vogue, “What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?” Some actors, George Clooney, for instance, are seemingly celebrated for aging while many actresses seem to be treated the opposite. Parker said that it feels like people don’t want her and other actresses to be okay with who they are today and that no matter what they do, people enjoy seeing them worry.

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Aniston has summed up her and many others’ views on aging, saying that it is a privilege to grow old and that aging should never be viewed as a negative.

Ryan McLachlan

Ryan McLachlan is a historian and content writer for Hive Media. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Classical Studies and his Master of Arts in History from the University of Western Ontario. Ryan’s research focused on military history, and he is particularly interested in the conflicts fought by the United Kingdom from the Napoleonic Wars to the Falklands War.

Ryan’s other historical interests include naval and maritime history, the history of aviation, the British Empire, and the British Monarchy. He is also interested in the lives of Sir Winston Churchill and Admiral Lord Nelson. Ryan enjoys teaching, reading, writing, and sharing history with anyone who will listen.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching period dramas such as Murdoch Mysteries and Ripper Street and also enjoys reading classical literature and Shakespeare. He also plays football and is an afternoon tea connoisseur.