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How come George Clooney was 'tamed' and Jennifer Aniston 'saved'?

George Clooney’s mother has confirmed that her son is officially “engaged“. She said she’s “extremely happy”.

Please, Mrs Clooney, let’s remember to use the correct language here.

George has been “tamed”. He’s been “tied down”. He’s been tricked into marriage by a lady human, because that’s what lady humans do best.

Oh, and we’re not “happy” about this news. We don’t celebrate the engagement of the world’s most desirable bachelor; we mourn it. Some would say George’s engagement is a sign of the apocalypse – that’s how shocking it is that a famous, handsome man would give up the bachelor lifestyle. Seriously though, real humans who work at The Wall St Journal Marketwatch said this:

As for the woman George is engaged to? Amal Alamuddin‘s greatest achievement in life is convincing a movie star to marry her. Never mind that she’s a humanitarian lawyer with an Oxford education who speaks three languages and used to advise UN secretary Kofi Annan. She’s beautiful and she’s caught a famously single man in her web of sneaky womanliness. She will forever be known as Amal Alamuddin: Bachelor Tamer.

That’s how the media has been spinning this news. Here’s the MailOnline:

Later, they answered their own question:

Apparently, because Amal declined George’s first few dinner invitations, this makes her a marriage mastermind. It was, obviously, part of her master plan to lure George into commitment; she couldn’t possibly have had something else on her mind or been unsure about getting involved with a mega-star.

For tabloid media, Amal is just another woman who’s thinking with her ovaries and her heart. We’ve been rolling out the same tired narrative of Woman Tricks Man Into Monogamy forever.

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That’s why when George Clooney gets engaged, he’s been “tamed” but when Jennifer Aniston gets engaged, she’s been “saved”.

Just think about how we spin the story of Jennifer Aniston, eternal bachelorette. She’s had a very similar relationship history to George Clooney but she’s always described as a lonely spinster rather than a happy bachelorette. She’s never said that’s how she feels, not once – but that’s what we assume because a woman without a man is incomplete; where a man without a woman is free.

The George Vs. Jen comparison is this simple: when Jennifer got engaged to Justin Theroux, was there a single headline that read: “How did Justin tame Jen Aniston?” or “Sorry guys, Jennifer Anniston is taken.” No. Of course not.

You could wallpaper every mansion in Hollywood with the amount of covers that refer to Jennifer’s loneliness, heartbreak, childlessness and her lifelong quest to get married. We barely hear about her career over the noise of all the pity. Because that’s what a female existence is so often reduced to: Operation Marriage and Babies. 

George and Jennifer are both famous, wealthy and extremely attractive. They’re two of the most visible human beings on the planet and every one of their failed relationships makes worldwide news. So why is George allowed to be seen as a care-free, sexy bachelor leading up to his tragic engagement, while Jennifer is labelled desperate and barren until a man finally invites her to walk down the aisle?

Ultimately, it’s because it is still easier to live as a George than it is to survive as a Jennifer.

We’d be able to change that if we started acknowledging that a person’s relationship status is more nuanced than a tabloid headline.