Following cruel media speculation about the puffiness of her face in recent photos, Ashley Judd wrote a smart, scathing response, from which I quote here.
“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.”
—Ashley Judd, The Daily Beast, April 2012
Later she states:
“I hope the sharing of my thoughts can generate a new conversation: Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? … What is the condemnation about? … How does this symbolize constraints on girls and women, and encroach on our right to be simply as we are, at any given moment? How can we as individuals in our private lives make adjustments that support us in shedding unconscious actions, internalized beliefs, and fears about our worthiness, that perpetuate such meanness? … Is what girls and women can do different from what boys and men can do? …”
I want to promote that conversation, to raise awareness of the power of this issue: the fact that Hillary Clinton got ridiculed for her fat ankles, Margaret Thatcher for her hairstyle, countless other women in power for other bodily features. The patriarchy uses its self-perpetuated weapons of the Beauty Myth to destabilize and brainwash half the population, and we women buy into it, figuratively and literally. With our economic power, we give up our self-advocacy, supporting Madison Avenue thievery via unattainable imagery.
I salute Ashley Judd for responding with reason and respect, and for keeping the conversation moving. Thought precedes action … keep thinking it through.
No photo today, as words speak louder this time around.