Ashley Judd made waves yesterday with a message directed at the Daily Beast, about the objectification of women, a response to their insults and accusations of the actress possibly having plastic surgery.
Judd began a big promotional push for her new TV show Missing, last month. Around the same time, she found herself the subject of various catty articles — writers were speculating that, because the actress’s face looked fuller than usual, she must have had some kind of plastic surgery. In reality, Judd’s cheeks looked puffy because she was treating a sinus infection and flu with steroids. But Judd argued that it wouldn’t matter even if she had gotten work done; the comments are indicative of a larger problem. As she wrote:
…the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle. The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.”
Women are not only joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance, but are also responsible for shining a spotlight on her “puffy” face in the first place. According to Judd, this proves that patriarchy “is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate… It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.” She concluded her essay by writing that this misogynistic “insanity” must stop. “…As focused on me as it appears to have been, it is about all girls and women,” she wrote. “In fact, it’s about boys and men, too, who are equally objectified and ridiculed, according to heteronormative definitions of masculinity that deny the full and dynamic range of their personhood.”
Judd makes it clear that in her experience much of this stuff comes from women, so much of it is ultimately about conversations women will either choose to have or choose not to have. She says she’s sometimes guilty of it herself. In my experience, even women who would probably never go on about how actresses are too fat think far less of saying they’re too thin, and there are certainly times when what seems to be terrible plastic surgery feels a bit tragic and is awfully hard not to mention. And it’s an interesting dilemma, because if you can’t mention terrible plastic surgery, how do you talk about how much you wish people would just age naturally?
Whatever the case, Ashley Judd took one for the team, and we are NOT mad about it!