Ashley Judd is angry. She’s really angry. So angry, in fact, that she wrote about it in The Daily Beast. Over what, you ask? Apparently the endless chatter that occurs in Hollywood circles, entertainment magazines and on talk shows about whether or not she’s had plastic surgery reached some sort of crescendo that demanded her attention. She writes:
“I choose to address [this now] 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. …
That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.
A case in point is that this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact. (That they are professional friends of mine, and know my character and values, is an additional betrayal.)
If you make a deal with the Devil, you’re going to get burned. How many magazine covers has Ashley Judd been on? How many of them have been Photoshopped to hell? How many of them have been marketed almost exclusively to women? She enters into an industry filled with the most shallow, narcissistic and vain clowns among us and then wants to blame a patriarchal system designed to brainwash her female friends into betraying her? Not quite.
Sixteen to twenty-five year old men see women as objects because they’re raging balls of hormones. Literally. The rest of the male world will always appreciate a good-looking woman, but they have more important things on their mind. That’s what happens when you become a man. Although, sometimes, they have less important things on their mind (e.g., the football game). Either way, they don’t give a rip what Ashley Judd looks like…except when she willfully dons a football jersey and poses seductively for the camera.
Do you want to know who does care what Ashley Judd looks like? Women. Specifically, the kind of women who host The View. Angry, catty types who like to say mean things behind the back of others. The kind of women who take great glee in seeing beauty fade in someone they once saw as a rival, or were jealous of simply because she was beautiful. On some level Ashley Judd is even worse, because she’s a good-looking woman who goes around throwing out terms like ‘inter alia’ (unnecessarily) just to rub it in that she’s more beautiful and more intelligent than you. If our pretentious friend wanted to put an end to all the “nasty, gendered, and misogynistic” conversations she could start by having a heart to heart with the person in the mirror.
Below is a picture of Adele. A friend of mine had this to say about her Vogue cover shoot:
“Taking a women who IS in shape, photographing her in a bathing suit and putting her in a men’s magazine is one thing. But that is light years away from taking a woman who is somewhat overweight—who is known specifically for her TALENT—airbrushing her to the point that she looks like she’s had surgery, painting her with makeup and putting her in, easily, the most revealing top she’s ever posed in. Then they point a fan at her and hide her chin with heavy shadows—and FOR WHAT? A magazine aimed exclusively at women? That’s who this is for? That is something [women] all should be ashamed of. Including her.”
Remember how women fought for all sorts of basic rights, and then generations later their daughters and great granddaughters used those rights to turn themselves into Photoshopped mannequins? I do. Note to Ashley: next time you write a piece on the “insidious” women who don’t realize they’re part of the problem, all you have to do is to stick it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and then send it to your home address. The mailman might think you’re a little strange, but your message will be better targeted.