In the essay heard around the world actress, humanitarian, Kentucky Wildcats fan and philanthropist, Ashley Judd took the mainstream media to task on The Daily Beast over their recent discussion of her body and her apparent weight gain and/or plastic surgery.
Responding to the criticism- which stemmed from her recent appearance on a talk show while she was undergoing steroid treatment for a nasty sinus infection- she eloquently and strongly delivered a message that should make every woman of every size cheer and think. She calls this obsession with women and their image The Conversation, and she wants us to change.
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? If not in the conversation about me, in parallel ones about women in your sphere? What is the gloating about? What is the condemnation about? What is the self-righteous alleged “all knowing” stance of the media 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? What can we do as families, as groups of friends? Is what girls and women can do different from what boys and men can do? What does this have to do with how women are treated in the workplace?
- Ashley Judd
Her ending, which in my humble opinion is so similar to what we’ve been saying on these pages for the past year and a half, asks that we all take a step back from finding worth in image alone because it is damaging, harmful and not productive:
This 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.
- Ashley Judd
On a personal note, I’m so impressed, not only with her wonderful writing but with the message that she strongly delivers, which takes her friends and colleagues to task for their vicious gossip, the plastic surgeons who weighed in with their “professional” opinion as to what she had done and the media who gleefully reported this “news” – but with her firm analysis that this conversation isn’t just about her and a puffy face, but it reflects on how we treat all women. She reminds us all that The Conversation we have about how we look, how our friends look, and how celebrities look, is more damaging than we think and realize.
And for once I think we can all agree that this celebrity is right on the money. Lets change The Conversation.
Daisy is a lawyer married to a lawyer (insert lawyer jokes here) living in a small condo in a big city with a new baby and beagle. She breaks up the legal-speak by blogging about life in Chicago, which is filled with escapades of urban living. In the summer she enjoys patio dining and in the winter wonders what she was thinking when she moved here. You can read more from Daisy on her blog, Just Daisy.
image via creative commons