Ashley Judd takes on a misogynistic media culture

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Freedom 55
Ashley Judd takes on a misogynistic media culture


Freedom 55


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The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us. The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted.

As an actor and woman who, at times, avails herself of the media, I am painfully aware of the conversation about women’s bodies, and it frequently migrates to my own body. I know this, even though my personal practice is to ignore what is written about me. I do not, for example, read interviews I do with news outlets. I hold that it is none of my business what people think of me. I arrived at this belief after first, when I began working as an actor 18 years ago, reading everything. I evolved into selecting only the “good” pieces to read. Over time, I matured into the understanding that good and bad are equally fanciful interpretations. I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside myself. I thus abstain from all media about myself. The only thing that matters is how I feel about myself, my personal integrity, and my relationship with my Creator. Of course, it’s wonderful to be held in esteem and fond regard by family, friends, and community, but a central part of my spiritual practice is letting go of otheration. And casting one’s lot with the public is dangerous and self-destructive, and I value myself too much to do that.



If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start. Who makes the fantastic leap from being sick, or gaining some weight over the winter, to a conclusion of plastic surgery? Our culture, that’s who. The insanity has to stop, because as focused on me as it appears to have been, it is about all girls and women. 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. It affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings. Join in—and help change—the Conversation.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Loved this article. Read! Share!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Saw a clip of her on CNN this afternoon - and I've seen her movies. I'm a fan.


That was spot on.


This is really great.  We've become addicted to Missing (it's on in 2 minutes!) and she is amazingly amazing in it.  We heard about it during her appearance on Strombo.  I wasn't really familiar with Judd before, although I knew her name.  I thought she looked great during that interview, which is when those morons are claiming her face was all "puffy".

I really like her face, actually - I find it quite appealing, and I don't mean that as a statement about her sexual attraction, but about the way it works with her various facial expressions.  "Puffy" cheeks?  More like beautifully rounded, smooth cheeks that give her face a very interesting and unique look.  It's amazing how the hollowed-out cheek look has completely dominated the beauty standard so that nothing else is acceptable, and you're accused of botched plastic surgery if your face looks a little fuller than usual.