Jennifer Aniston wants a shower. Now.

    Jennifer Aniston supports several charities, including the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. So it’s hard to know how she can square this with cashing a paycheck from Emirates Airlines, owned by a country with one of the worst women’s rights records on earth.

    Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Jennifer Aniston now stars in a commercial for Emirates Airlines. Aniston plays a passenger on one of the airline’s luxury planes. She is having a terrible nightmare: While a traveler on a lesser airline, she can’t get a shower! And there’s no bar! Thank goodness she wakes up in time to enjoy both of these amenities while flying Emirates.     

    Jennifer Aniston made $5 million for this commercial. She has a net worth of $150 million. One of the 20 richest women in the entertainment industry, she was voted Sexiest Woman of All Time in 2011. Her role as Rachel in “Friends” is considered one of the 100 greatest female characters in U.S. television.

    Aniston has supported several charities. One of them is the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

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    So it’s hard to know how she can square this with cashing a paycheck from an airline owned by a country with one of the worst women’s rights records on earth. Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, is a subsidiary of the Emirates Group, which is wholly owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, a United Arab Emirates government entity.  

    The United Arab Emirates is governed by Sharia law. There is no separation of mosque and state — the mosque is the state. The female fantasy that Aniston portrays in her commercial is a cruel joke compared to facts on the ground. Just how bad are women’s rights there?

    Here’s a glimpse of the status of women in the UAE, as revealed in a paper presented in January 2010 by the International Federation for Human Rights.


    A woman’s male guardian and her prospective husband are the parties to her marital contract. (Though she does get to sign it.)  

    Wifely duties

    Wives are required by law to obey their husbands, take care of the house, and raise the children. (How do they get to be famous, successful actresses like Jennifer Aniston? They don’t.)


    Women can only request a divorce by renouncing all financial rights under their marriage contract, most notably, their dowry. (Would Aniston have lost her $150 million to Brad Pitt if they were Emirati citizens?)


    Women have the right to custody of their children only until age 13 for girls, and age 10 for boys. Then, custody can be re-assessed by the family courts.


    If a woman chooses to remarry, she automatically forfeits custody of her children from her previous marriage. (Luckily, Jennifer and Brad Pitt had no children … but what if they had?)


    Legal — but for only men, not women. Men may have up to four wives. (They may also marry non-Muslims, which women may not.)

    Domestic violence

    Emirati women generally do not report it. If they do, police look the other way. That may be because the UAE penal code actually allows men to discipline wives and children through physical violence.    


    Though a highly serious crime, most victims do not report it, either through fear of bringing shame on their families, or through fear of being accused of adultery.  


    A crime punishable by flogging or death by stoning. (Though “it takes two to tango,” the law applies only to women.)

    Female genital mutilation

    This barbaric procedure is practiced within Emirati families, usually by female doctors or in pharmacies. In the mid 1990s, nearly one-third of girls between the ages of 1 and 5 had been genitally mutilated. This practice is designed to keep women from feeling sexual pleasure, which supposedly makes them more faithful wives.

    Women’s education

    Though there are no official obstacles to women’s education, many Emirati men pursue their studies abroad, at universities far superior to those at home, an option unavailable to most women.


    Women may not work without the consent of their husbands or male guardians, who must approve their jobs. Female domestic workers are often unpaid and subject to long hours, food deprivation, forced confinement, and abuse.

    Freedom to establish associations

    There is none, creating serious obstacles to the promotion and protection of women’s rights.

    In 2013, Human Rights Watch reported that human rights in the UAE have only worsened.

    Jennifer Aniston’s $5 million commercial for Emirates Airlines promotes the image of a glitzy, spa-like flying experience as she travels to a really cool country. Meanwhile, women in the UAE face routine abuse by their husbands; lose custody of their children; and have narrowly proscribed opportunities to work, inherit money, or chart the course of their own lives.

    Emirate Airline’s commercial brags, “Wake Up to Flying As It Should Be.” But be careful, Jennifer Aniston. When a beautiful, independent woman like you wakes up and steps off that plane, you might find that the United Arab Emirates is “Just Not That Into You.”

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