I can count on one hand -- even one finger -- an actress with a show up for renewal (btw you should watch Missing it's great and Eddard Stark is alive on that show) who spoke back against the tabloid media in a big, smart way and all of us for the recent press about her how her face looks.
Now let's remember Ms. Judd is a feminist and an activist. She took the job on the show because the producers said that they would address issues that she cared about which include AIDS activism. But working in Hollywood opens you up to a wide range of scrutiny and Ms. Judd has said ENOUGH. She took to the Daily Beast in an essay that has gone viral.
Here's how she started:
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.
She went on to explain in the piece that she had been ill and was on steroids so that contributed to the puffy look of her face.
...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.
But the kicker is this:
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.
The patriarchy effects all of us. I am just as guilty. I sat at my sister's house of Friday night before the Seder flipping through People magazine talking about how skinny Princess Kate was and saying many other things I am not proud of. And there were many young nieces listening to the conversation. I am ashamed and I will make every attempt not to do that again.
As Ashley Judd says we need to change the conversation and we need to be examples for young people so they won't have to deal with this crap as they grow up.
Please read her full piece here