After 7 years and 6 children together, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally took the first steps towards holy matrimony when it was revealed that private jeweller for the couple, Robert Procop had designed an engagement ring for the Angelina under Brad Pitt’s guidance. Later, Brad’s spokeswoman Cynthia Pett-Dante later confirmed the news, saying: “It is a promise for the future and their kids are very happy. There’s no date set at this time.”
The deal was pretty much sealed and within minutes on Friday, ‘Brad and Angelina’ was trending on Twitter with Twittosphere congratulating the couple and sharing images of the said ring which the 36-year-old actress was spotted wearing on her wedding finger earlier this month at the Chinese Art collection at the LA County Museum, where she was pictured with Brad, 48, and their son Pax, eight.
However, not all tweets were congratulatory as a disgruntled few, mostly of the female persuasion, ranted and raved about the circumstances of how Brad and Angelina got together in 2005shortly after shooting Mr. and Mrs. Smith together in 2004 when Brad Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston with whom he was considered Hollywood’s golden couple.
Some tweets were vitriolic in their scathing of the actress, calling her a home wrecker, a slut and a whore, husband stealer possibly the mildest descriptive amongst the lot of expletives deemed fit for Jolie who had committed the crime of falling in love some seven years ago with someone else’s husband. Clearly, Team Aniston or not, many women still held a grudge for the woes of another woman scorned, showing the kind of emotional engagement you’d think one to be capable of showing to only those in their immediate circle who have wronged.
Not only was it Angelina’s morals but also her mothering that came into question when one Twitter user vented that the actress showed any interest in her children for the cameras.
As the tweets kept rolling and some of the most acidic ones appeared as top tweets, I couldn’t help but think of Angelina as yet another victim of women on women verbal violence – a woman whose integrity, morality and even motherhood shred to threads by the members of her own sex so readily on a public platform.
This does not mean I condone Angelina’s decision to get involved with Brad even though, let’s face it, it wasn’t until early 2006 that Angelina and Brad acknowledged their relationship when the actress revealed she was pregnant. While In October 2008, Angelina told The New York Times that her children loved Mr & Mrs Smith because “Not a lot of people get to see a movie where their parents fell in love”, the actress has maintained that she and the actor remained nothing more than friends until after Pitt and Aniston announced they were divorcing.
“To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not look at myself in the morning if I did that. I wouldn’t be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife,” Jolie once said in an interview.
In a 2006 interview with US Vogue, the actress was quoted as saying she had not known “exactly where Brad was in his personal life but it was clear he was with his best friend, someone he loves and respects. And so we were both living, I suppose, very full lives.”
“Brad was a huge surprise to me,” she added. “I think we were the last two people who were looking for a relationship. I certainly wasn’t. I was quite content to be a single mom.”
Now to the cynics of this world and members of Team Aniston still bitter about Jennifer being dumped after 5 years of marriage, this may seem a top notch PR ploy: Never admit to a sleazy extra-marital affair and make it look all prim, proper and platonic. However, even if it were, and the truth was that Brad and Angelina got embroiled in a passionate love affair on set and Angelina deed indeed snatch Brad from underneath Jennifer’s nose, does this mean she is the only one to blame and hence to target of such vitriolic Twitter outpourings? Isn’t there also a married man in the picture, who would, let’s face it, be equally guilty for entertaining another woman’s attentions and encouraging her feelings, if this were indeed the case?
Admittedly, there was a time I was on Team Aniston and bitterly resented Jolie, secretly blaming her for the break up of what I thought was the perfect coupledom in year, but years have taught me to be less critical of situations I am not privy to and certainly less judgmental of those whose private heaven and hell I will never know of. Much like it’s our guess that the Brad and Angelina dalliance may indeed have started on set back in 2004 while Brad was still very much a married man, it is equally our guess what really went on in Brad and Jennifer’s marriage behind closed doors and the prying eyes of the world.
And let’s say if it were indeed Angelina who was the cause of the divorce, isn’t it time we quit fighting someone else’s battles (Jennifer Aniston’s in this case) and feeling resentful on their behalf and accept the fact that in a courtship that has lasted longer than Pitt’s marriage to Aniston, Angelina and Brad, or ‘Brangelina’ as affectionately dubbed by the media, seem blissfully in love with each other and their brood of kids?
Unfortunately, in this intrinsically patriarchal world (And don’t forget, we’re not fully emancipated as women if our minds are still shackled with age old prejudices that crucify our own sex for the ills of this world), women are still cast in archaic roles of ‘virgin’, ‘mother’ and ‘whore’. If a woman strays even an inch from the ‘virginal’, her morality and even her mothering, as in the case of Angelina, come under attack by a jury of her own peers while the man – often guilty of the same or an even bigger moral crime – often goes ‘scotch-free’ as the clueless victim led astray by the scheming vixen.
We do not fare any better in other spheres not governed by relationships. In the corporate world, if a man is driven to succeed, he is often praised for his hard work and grit while if a woman shows an ounce of ambition, we are fast to label her ‘calculating’, question her business ethics, assume she is flirting – or worse, sleeping – her way to the top, and neglecting her wifely and motherly duties. If a man is demanding, we applaud him as a confident man who knows what he wants and is not afraid to ask for it, but if the tables are turned and it is one of our sex to make demands, she is suddenly a ‘diva’.
Isn’t it about time, as women, we give our own peers a break from the oft hostile critical eyes – whether it is their morals, or their mothering, or their business sense and show a little more compassion and understanding for each others’ flaws and failures?