Hera Vs. Aphrodite Vs. Artemis
It finally happened. I picked up US magazine for its cover featuring an Angelina Jolie looking like the cat who ate the canary (despite her demure flowered frock) and trumpeting the headline, "HOW SHE STOLE BRAD."
I was wondering when the tabs, which aren't known for their nuanced analysis of celebrity lives, would start working the "she done stole another gal's man" routine, as they've been doing with wild success since way before Liz stole Eddie from Debbie.
What's so interesting, and a little bit different, about this seemingly typical Hollywood love-mess are the myriad archetypes being played both intentionally and unintentionally by Brad's two women.
Jennifer Aniston, America's wholesome sweetheart, is squeaky clean, funny, endearing, and has a lumpy nose. She's a little bit homemaker Hera and a little bit untamable Artemis the Huntress -- a side of her that became more evident as the media emphasized her independent nature, going it alone hunting good movie roles and refusing to be tied down by motherhood.
I applaud her for it.
And I think that the media has been punishing Ms. Aniston for her failure to fufill her destiny as Bearer of Brad Pitt's Children. Why else would the major publications wait this long to start featuring Jolie as Temptress/Homewrecker?
Here we have Ms. Jolie, literally the "happy angel." Some angel. Look at her in the photo above. Perfect. Another flowy, floral frock, leaning in on Brad as if to show her need for this daddy wanna-be. The media fell for this manipulation with drooling naivetee, fawning over images of Angelina, her married lover, and her adopted 3-year old son, Maddox.
Aw gosh, she just wanted a father for her l'il boy! And Mr. Pitt, who is obviously the Pitts, just wants to be a family man. Is that so wrong?
The "married" part of "lover" didn't seem to bother the media overly much (Excuse me, don't they sell these tabs in the red states?).
Angelina Jolie is an Aphrodite/Medusa who happens to have a child; no matter how often she is photographed with that boy on her hip, she will never sell me on the nurturing-mommy role. It's not authentic, and no matter how good an actress she is, she cannot conceal her true nature. She's a man eater.
And I applaud her for it.
Simultaneously, I do not doubt that she truly loves her son. The two are not mutually exclusive. My critique is that the media has subtly given its blessing to this affair by tacitly suggesting that Jennifer's failure to embrace mommydom was justification for Brad Pitt's infidelity.
My guess here is that Angelina (and/or her publicist?) knew just what she was doing with her appearances in the first months of the scandal. The pritty-pritty dresses and the many photographs of her with Brad and Maddox were all intentional. If she hadn't had the child at her side so often in the early months of this affair she would have been immediately branded for what she probably is: a smokin' hot babe who took up with Brad Pitt (whose archetype I would identify as Jason of Argonauts Fame Meets Li'l Abner)because she felt like it, and because she could.
Tell me there wasn't an image consultant pulled into this sweaty little trio real early on.
*Disclaimer: Please do not write and tell me that there must be more to this story than I can possibly know, etc. etc. etc. I am well aware of that. I am reading images and archetypes as a critic of pop culture. If you want the real, true story of Brad and Jen's marriage and his affair with A.J., you'll have to ask one of them about it.
P.S. I read the entire US article a moment ago, and now I want to take a Karen Silkwood scrubby shower. Yeeeech. There's a lot of "how she won his heart with her womanly wiles" and "we're not going to come right out and say it, but that Jennifer Aniston bi%^* is too ambitious and career-oriented for her own britches and deserved to lose her man" stuff. Apparently if a woman is charming, flirtatious, hangs on your every word, and manages to juggle her life as a famous, gorgeous movie star, international spokeswoman for refugees and mother to a toddler, you just ought to dump your pathetic wife, who can only "manage" to become a multi-millionaire, Emmy-award-winning T.V. star, for her.
Sometimes I really get why some people think of us as the Great Satan.