I question two things: one, that Jennifer Aniston is actually a sad person, and two, that anyone really gives a shit whether she is a sad person. The first one is easy enough to leave alone — like I said, without being Jennifer Aniston or her close friend or family member, I can’t speculate about her emotional state.
The second question is more complicated, and it requires deciding whether you think celebrity gossip rags are mirrors to culture, influencers of culture, or perpetuators of stupid cultural narratives that people cling to because diversion from simple, binary understandings of how humans live in the world is hard.
I think taking it for granted that the content of celebrity gossip magazines are accurate reflections of popular opinion is a mistake. Celebrity gossip magazines are accurate reflections of what the people who produce those magazines think will sell magazines. But certainly they stick with narratives that sell, so the Aniston-as-sad-sack narrative must do okay on newsstands. Still, I think we care about this stuff to the extent that we care about reading the instructions on the back of shampoo bottles when there’s nothing else available in the bathroom. It’s something to put our eyes on and pass the time.
It’s true some people are really, genuinely into celebrity gossip and culture. But more people, in my experience, are really into things that assuage their fears and fuel their hopes about what they have been told a good or bad life looks like. We’re interested in the personal lives of celebrities the way we’re interested in the only slightly more fictional-to-us lives of characters in books and films. Humans tell and listen to stories because we are social animals and these are ways we make sense of the world.
Unfortunately, one of the ways we do this is to make sure somebody feels worse than we do — and in a world charged with the electric pulse of patriarchy, that somebody is usually going to be a single woman.”