A Woman Is More Than Her Relationship Status | Emily Bashforth

A Woman Is More Than Her Relationship Status


The inspiration behind this blog post was a recent interview with Angelina Jolie. Not conducted by myself, sadly, but by journalists speaking to her on the set of her latest movie endeavour in Cambodia. As Angelina is such a worldwide star, the interview was then, of course, shared across social media by various news outlets.
It wasn't long before a video of the actress being questioned popped up onto my Twitter feed and I was shocked when I read the headline that accompanied it. The interview was Tweeted by none other than the BBC, who captioned it with the text, "Angeline Jolie has spoken about her separation from Brad Pitt in a BBC exclusive on the set of her new film in Cambodia." I then did some more digging and found other news sources had shared the same interview with similar headlines, all of which addressed the fact that, in this interview, Angelina had mentioned her divorce from Brad Pitt.

Watch the interview that I watched for yourself before you continue reading.



I am now hoping that you can understand my reasoning behind writing this blog post and why smoke is currently coming off my keyboard as I type this with such passion and frustration. If you watched the interview closely, you'll notice that Angelina spoke about Brad Pitt, whom her separation from was announced recently, for, honestly, no more than five seconds. In fact, you needn't even watch the interview closely to see that. You could watch it on mute with your eyes closed and you'd still be aware of the fact that Brad Pitt was not the main focus of that interview.

I understand that Brangelina's, (as they're more colloquially known) divorce sent shockwaves through, not only Hollywood, but the world. as they were THE A-List couple who seemed happily married on the exterior with successful careers and a beautiful family. However, what I cannot comprehend, no matter how hard I try, is why the couple's divorce is the thing being written about in headlines that accompany interviews of Angelina discussing her new movie role. Not only that but, in the interview in question, Jolie also spoke about why she undertook this role and what it meant to her, as well as her wonderful children and about how she encourages them to accept and embrace their diversity. She spoke about a range of topics in that short but sweet video yet, STILL, the press are mentioning her relationship in the headlines as oppose to her career. Okay, BBC, I get it, you want views and mentioning Brangelina's failed marriage in your headlines is probably going to get you more views than mentioning her job would but why must you, and every other news outlet out there, remain so stuck in the past? Why are the media still so utterly fixated on who female celebrities are dating? Why is a woman's relationship status more interesting than her personality? We do not live the 1920s and women are no longer just housewives and mothers. Women are business owners, pioneers, wealthy entrepreneurs, they are speakers, politicians, builders, mechanics, office workers, teachers, musicians...they are all of this and more as well as wives and mothers. There is far more to a woman than who she is dating. We women have hearts, minds and souls. We have a great deal of intelligence which we are often waiting to share with the world. We are kind, compassionate, generous and enthusiastic about so many causes so why must we only be seen as worthy of attention if a man is involved? Personally, I would much rather read an article about Angelina Jolie's, or any other woman's, career than about who her sexual partner is.

The media have advanced a great deal, not much, I will admit, as women are still objectified and portrayed as subservient to men in every article and on every cover. However, the fact that women's careers are even being spoken about on big platforms like the BBC is a step in the right direction so why must we begin to take steps backwards by completely discrediting all the hard work she has done? I mentioned earlier that I was shocked when I read the Tweets that were posted with this article although, actually, I take that back. I'm not shocked because I know what the media is like and I know that journalists seem to get a kick out of writing pathetic headlines. What I am, though, is disgusted. I am disgusted that headlines like the one mentioned above are still being used. The fact that they are still being used is only perpetuating the idea that a woman needs a man to be relevant and that a woman is only as interesting as her love life - both of which could not be more false. And I want the media to start addressing this. I want journalists to start asking women the right questions about their future goals, their dedication to their jobs, their opinions on topical issues and, if journalists do ask about these things, I want it to be advertised. I want the headlines to clearly state that women are intelligent beings with opinions on issues that matter. 10 years ago, women were not allowed opinions and, now that they are, they are not being heard.
I want women to be seen as equal to men in all aspects of life but, in particular, the media. We all have access to some form of media, whether that be the more traditional methods or on our smart phones and, if we are presenting half of the population in a derogatory way, youngsters are only going to grow up with the mindset that its either okay to demean a woman or its okay to be demeaned as a woman themselves.
To me, the headline of this article about Angelina Jolie should read something along the lines of "Angelina Jolie discusses her new film in Cambodia and how she encourages her children to embrace their diversity." She is so much more than a break-up, as are all of you who are reading this right now. She is highly educated and is using her platform to speak about things which need addressing and it deeply frustrates me that Angelina is trying to shine a light on prevalent topics and nobody is listening. Besides, the split of Brad and Angelina is still a sore subject, undoubtedly, for both parties involved, which was evident to me the second Angelina stated that she didn't want to talk about it too much, yet she felt obliged to say something to please the interviewer. Had she had said 'no comment,' she probably would've been reported about as rude and the headline still would've been something like "Angelina Jolie refuses to comment on divorce from Brad Pitt." So, journalists, if you don't want to ask a woman about her career for the sake of gender equality, try doing it for the sake of her personal feelings and emotions. No man or woman needs you opening a can of worms about their personal life when they have no control over the situation. If Angelina Jolie, or any woman, wishes you to know about their relationships, they'll tell you. It just comes down to sheer nosiness and greed. "Hey I'm interviewing Angelina Jolie so may as well slip a question about Brad in there and see if I can get any gossip!" Honestly, journalists can be no better than toddlers because even toddlers know how not to hurt peoples feelings.

I just wish the media would start making the right kind of headlines as, whether you believe it or not, the headlines you read on a daily basis have an impact on you and your view of the world. Headlines ought to focus on the positive qualities women have, how much effort they're putting into their careers, their empathy for the world, their love for arts, their charming character, their aspirations, their life skills or, better still, the adversities they've had to overcome in order to be successful. Every woman is more than who she dates so stop reducing us to our relationship status. We have so much more to offer to the world than our bodies as a sexual objects and conversations about attractive boys, which you may come to realise if you just give us a chance to be recognised in the way that we have been fighting to be recognised in for so long.

Emily.

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