Rock On, Ashley Judd!
By: Megan Spears, Alliance Blogger
Many of us love to follow the lives of celebrities…turning on the TV and seeing the latest news on your favorite actress is of course, entertaining. However, it has turned into a game of sorts…TV shows and news articles exist around the best dressed at the Academy Awards or the worst plastic surgery at the Oscars. The celebrities themselves are dehumanized by these red carpet critics and turned into mere objects for the public to love or hate.
Actress Ashley Judd recently fell victim to this image-centered scrutiny when several insulting and inaccurate conclusions were made as to why her face looked “puffy” in her latest episode of Missing. At least five well-respected news sources commented on her “puffy face”. Not to mention, all these comments were made on the same day in March. This would normally be enough to outrage the average woman. The interesting and almost amusing part of this media-driven situation is that each news source managed to have a different reason or explanation for why her face looked “puffy”. You can probably guess by now the ridiculous nature of some of these claims.
Out of several comments, one said that Judd “clearly had work done”, going as far as listing exact procedures done by plastic surgeons she has never met. It was also stated that she is a “cow” and a “pig” and that her husband “is looking for his second wife”. One article said, “Ashley has lost her familiar beauty audiences loved her for.”
“The accusations and lies, introduced to the public, now apply to me as a woman across space and time; to me as any woman and to me as every woman.”-Ashley Judd
These comments struck a chord with Judd, prompting her to write a very relevant and well drafted response to not only the criticism she received, but also the general conversation about women in our culture. In her article, she explains how she previously read everything written about her in the media, and then eventually only the good things. Now, she reads nothing about herself.
“I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside myself.” –Ashley Judd
She chose to give attention to the recent criticism though, as she realized it does not only affect her, but also contributes to the negative conversation happening about women.
“I choose to address it because 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.” –Ashley Judd
Her powerful words are part of a new conversation, one that is empowering and encouraging for women. When Judd and other women stand up to this degrading conversation, the dialogue continues to shift. You don’t have to be a celebrity to make this change, nor do you have to write an eloquent response like Judd. Even by choosing not to participate in this negative talk, you’re making a difference. Ashley Judd’s article makes crucial points. Hopefully, her words will touch her fans and even the people making these harsh comments. Rock on, Ashley Judd!
Click here to read Ashley Judd’s full article.
Megan Spears has worked with The Alliance for the past two years through the Teen Advisory Board and internships, spreading her passion for eating disorder awareness. She is currently a freshman at the University of Miami studying Creative Writing and Psychology.