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"[T]here is no winning here as women . . ."
April 9, 2012 12:01 PM   Subscribe

"The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others—and in my case, to the actual public." Actresses and female entertainers are frequently the subject of much ridicule and scrutiny vis-a-vis their appearance. Rarely do they publicly return similar scrutiny those doing the scrutinizing. Ashley Judd writes a searing condemnation of "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" of women's (and men's) bodies.
posted by schroedinger (197 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
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.

*hugs Ashley Judd*
posted by rtha at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2012 [68 favorites]


Nice piece, but oh, that Daily Beast headlining. "Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face..." by Ashley Judd? This has to be an early 2012 frontrunner for some kind of editorial malpractice award.
posted by RogerB at 12:14 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


FUCK YES THIS IS GODDAMNED AWESOME
posted by beefetish at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fantastic, but I am pessimistic about how much change it will effect.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:22 PM on April 9, 2012


don't read the comments
posted by mr_roboto at 12:23 PM on April 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


My favorite bit of Ashley Judd's essay comes right at the end. After the (lengthy) synopsis of her (many, varied & excellent) charity activities, we are told:

She resides in Tennessee and Scotland with her husband, the international racing star Dario Franchitti. They have 8 beloved pets and enjoy a quiet, rural life.

posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:25 PM on April 9, 2012


The comments to that piece are horrifying: blatant hatred of women, exemplifying the exact behavior Judd decries in her article.
posted by spacewaitress at 12:25 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Fantastic, but I am pessimistic about how much change it will effect.

Even if we need to be told 1,000,000 times we are one telling closer
posted by shothotbot at 12:25 PM on April 9, 2012 [27 favorites]


don't read the comments

oh god oh god oh god
posted by shakespeherian at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Addendum: I should have linked to the Daily Mail's Gossip pages, which are the worst offenders.
posted by jokeefe at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2012


don't read the comments

Actually, do read the comments, and see plain as day the everyday evidence of what she's talking about in her essay.
posted by blucevalo at 12:30 PM on April 9, 2012 [21 favorites]


That is some high-level feminist smackdown, right there. Good stuff.
posted by emjaybee at 12:36 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


And this is how it is for women in the industry who fit a very narrow conventional idea of beauty. Imagine how it is for the 98 percent of actors who don't.

It's an especially pernicious expressions of patriarchy. It's so strange how it evolved. Hollywood created a system to create celebrities out of their actors, which wasn't too hard to do, as movie stars have historically been pretty outgoing and attractive, and it's not too hard to craft a fairy tale of them leading fabulous and inherently fascinating lives. But celebrity is essentially the media wing of gossip, and if you are going to encourage people to gossip in a good way, you've also given permission for them to gossip in a mean way -- which is, after all, what most gossip is. It's very hard to say "I want you to talk about how lovely and fascinating our stars are" without people saying "well, I want to talk about how they are homewreckers and monsters."

And so an entire industry has been built around knocking celebrities. It plays directly into people's ambivalence about the culture of celebrity. We're told these people are inherently talented, but we like to hear that they slept their way to the top, because then the fact that they are richer and better-known than us is the result of a moral failing, not because they are better than us. We're told they are beautiful, but nobody is beautiful, not like that, so we like to see unflattering photos and gossip that they have had work done. We hear that they give to charities, and we like to hear that they spend poorly and too much. Etc.

Unfortunately, what bubbles to the top is pure viciousness. And viciousness generally takes socially acceptable forms, and society is a patriarchy. She's right to complain, but it's so endemic, and so profitable, and, for so many, so pleasurable, that she's not likely to be heard.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:42 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


mr_roboto: "don't read the comments"

Metafilter: Don't read the comments.
posted by symbioid at 12:45 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


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.

Fuck. Yes. More of this kind of thing!
posted by odinsdream at 12:48 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Dear Ms Judd--
Ok. Sorry. I will stop doing it."

First we have to catch ourselves doing it. We all are immersed in it. As a woman, I am especially sad to recall that not long ago I said to a dear friend, "You are lucky, you have the kind of beauty that holds up well as you age." What a reprehensible thing to think, much less say, to a person you love. I felt I had reduced her to her appearance and her worth to the ability to attract a mate and that is not at all how I view her. I have internalized our culture's misogyny and it is still in me despite having wholeheartedly embraced feminism. It is so easy to just go along with it, unthinkingly.
posted by Anitanola at 12:49 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Easy to forget that Judd has an MPA from Harvard. Anyone tussling with her expecting an intellectual lightweight is going to be very unpleasantly surprised indeed.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, man, sorry, no. I was with her until her "brief analysis" points.

She sinks to the level she's trying to get us to rise above. Trotting out the "I have an excuse for being puffy," the "flawless skin" thing (ugh), the "I look so young" thing, "I'm usually a size 2/4" thing.

She could have made her case without the humblebrag.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:52 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: a central part of my spiritual practice is letting go of otheration.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:55 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


She sinks to the level she's trying to get us to rise above. Trotting out the "I have an excuse for being puffy," the "flawless skin" thing (ugh), the "I look so young" thing, "I'm usually a size 2/4" thing.

She could have made her case without the humblebrag.


If one must make this assertion this "humblebrag" is simply an example of something Judd speaks of when she says:

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.

and it is certainly no reason to dismiss what she has written.
posted by sendai sleep master at 12:57 PM on April 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


This makes a good companion piece, on the physical-appearance side, to Tina Fey talking about how a woman is "crazy" if she keeps talking after people are done wanting to fuck her.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:05 PM on April 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm very tempted to just congratulate myself on not knowing who "celebrities" are and not caring whether they've "had work done."
posted by grobstein at 1:14 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


It goes on and on and on; it's heaven and hell
posted by Renoroc at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2012


I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk but she didnt have a problem accepting money to model cosmetics and act in roles that were based on her appearance.
posted by Busmick at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2012


I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk but she didnt have a problem accepting money to model cosmetics and act in roles that were based on her appearance.

From TFA:
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.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:17 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk but she didnt have a problem accepting money to model cosmetics and act in roles that were based on her appearance.

We're screwed if the only people allowed to criticize a system are those who have never benefited from it in any way.
posted by straight at 1:17 PM on April 9, 2012 [67 favorites]


I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk but she didnt have a problem accepting money to model cosmetics and act in roles that were based on her appearance.

Aw, you failed.
posted by odinsdream at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2012 [44 favorites]


don't read the comments

The cynical side of my brain has me wondering how many of the nasty commenters are guys who have never and most likely will never be exposed to such obsessive criticism about their appearances. I wonder how much of their ignorance about the subject stems simply from not having to worry about it.
posted by hypotheticole at 1:21 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk but she didnt have a problem accepting money to model cosmetics and act in roles that were based on her appearance.

Does this affect her argument in any way? It seems rather beside the point. If the argument is good, it's good regardless of who makes it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:21 PM on April 9, 2012


What a reprehensible thing to think, much less say, to a person you love. I felt I had reduced her to her appearance and her worth to the ability to attract a mate and that is not at all how I view her.

Yeah, and unfortunate to live in a world where you can't enjoy the nuanced beauty of the human form because of all the patriarchal bullshit ruining beauty for the general population. I mean this not at all sardonically or critically of courtesy (I refuse to use the loaded "politically correct" when I mean being polite) that much like slut shaming ruins enjoying nekkid pics, the pernicious effort to value women exclusively on appearance ruins enjoying pretty ladies, either aspiring to be one, or in other people.
posted by Phalene at 1:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Baby steps.

I know I have definitely participated and instigated snark about women's bodies (my own included).

First you have to realize it exists. Then realize that you participate. Then actively notice when you participate. Then stop yourself from participating.

It's hard to break a bad habit. But I know in my own experience that I'm catching myself NOT participating in it more often. Consciously identifying right away when another person gets snarky and consciously (and unconsciously) not participating.

I'm still far from perfect, but improving. :)

I did not realize that Ashley Judd was such an intelligent and well-spoken individual. Bravo to her and this wonderful letter. If it gets even one more person to realize this kind of snark exists and is a Bad Thing, it is a success.
posted by jillithd at 1:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


We're screwed if the only people allowed to criticize a system are those who have never benefited from it in any way.

Agreed. Are people with PhDs - a pretty strong credential, even these days - not allowed to criticize the educational system?
posted by madcaptenor at 1:28 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does this affect her argument in any way? It seems rather beside the point. If the argument is good, it's good regardless of who makes it.
It does when she continues to make money from her image and acting. She is still part of this system that she is arguing against. Thats my point I dont think shes wrong, I just think shes a little hypocritical. And I understand she mentions that in the article but thats jsut an easy way to glaze over the fact that she still does this.
posted by Busmick at 1:30 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


She is still part of this system that she is arguing against.

But...that's kind of the point about patriarchy, that this is a system that *all* of us (men and women both) are part of. It's literally impossible to speak from "outside" the system.

Unless you grew up on Europa or something. And maybe not even then.
posted by Salieri at 1:32 PM on April 9, 2012 [18 favorites]


And what do you suggest she do?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:33 PM on April 9, 2012


"It does when she continues to make money from her image and acting. She is still part of this system that she is arguing against. Thats my point I dont think shes wrong, I just think shes a little hypocritical. And I understand she mentions that in the article but thats jsut an easy way to glaze over the fact that she still does this."

I'm not sure how it's hypocritical — I don't remember any Judd roles that were about critiquing women's appearances and speculating about their social worth based on how they looked.

I think you're confusing being attractive and having a public image with intentional complicity in misogyny, which is a bit circular and also a bit of an ad hominem attack, discussing the speaker rather than the message.
posted by klangklangston at 1:36 PM on April 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


One of the "related stories" the page offered up at the bottom was, "Is Kate Middleton too thin?"
posted by jbickers at 1:38 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Thats my point I dont think shes wrong, I just think shes a little hypocritical.

Oh, really?

She's not even taking issue with people criticizing her appearance, per se. A couple of the points she is making are as follows:

1) Based on her appearance, people are inferring things about her personal life that they have no business inferring and did not bother to verify with her. (e.g., that she's had plastic surgery or injections).

2) It's not just that womens' appearances are judged. It's that women are being judged, as human beings, primarily -- if not solely on their appearance. The distinction here is crucial.
posted by spacewaitress at 1:38 PM on April 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


By the way, the site randomly selects related stories to promote along with this, and it's been relentlessly embarrassing. A recent example: Celebrities who regret plastic surgery -- and should.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:39 PM on April 9, 2012


I just think shes a little hypocritical. And I understand she mentions that in the article but thats jsut an easy way to glaze over the fact that she still does this.

I'm fairly sure this is because you misunderstand what hypocritical means.
posted by odinsdream at 1:41 PM on April 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yeah I'll be honest and say that one of my first reactions was 'Really, the Daily Beast of all places is publishing this?'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:42 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to say that reading this article clarified a lot for me. I've been feeling very depressed and anxious over my looks lately, to the extent that I'm allowing how I feel about my looks to be the primary determinant about how I feel about myself as a person.

This editorial helped remind me that I am much more than what I look like.

The kind of thinking about women's looks prevalent in the media is insidious, and can really, really mess people up. I'm grateful to Judd for writing this editorial, articulating the problem, and helping me weed out some of the insanity that's been taking root in my head.
posted by spacewaitress at 1:44 PM on April 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think you're confusing being attractive and having a public image with intentional complicity in misogyny, which is a bit circular and also a bit of an ad hominem attack, discussing the speaker rather than the message.
Agreed. But wheres the line? We only see Ashley Judd fully made up selling cosmetics, or on the red carpet after 10 people dressed her, or in movies, sweaty and kicking ass. We dont see her day to day. Her public image is the best part of her and thats what she wants us to believe is her, therefore she is part of creating this objectification. Its her livelihood to look good all of the time and get paid for it. Then she wants to ask why people care when she looks bad? She never asked why people were paying her for looking the way she did all these years, or wrote an article when her career was at its height. Ok...pile on...
posted by Busmick at 1:57 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


that's what she wants us to believe is her
Actually, she's demanding that women be allowed to exist inside their bodies, not just as their bodies. She's pointing out that women's bodies change, naturally and that whether we allow that to happen or not, we'll be hearing about it from one angle or another.

Then she wants to ask why people care when she looks bad?
No. She wants to explain that people should not decide for themselves what is causing her to look different from her "normal," and or judge her for looking different from her "normal."

These distinctions are important.
posted by bilabial at 2:06 PM on April 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's a little scary, as a woman, to realize how much I've bought into this and played into it myself over the years. I've been known to make snarky comments to/about other girls, and now I find myself regretting it.

I've even read articles like this before, but for some reason, this one really sinks in.
posted by chatongriffes at 2:07 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm enjoying the irony of having this article open side-by-side in my browser with a NY Times Sunday Magazine article entitled, Camille Vallejo, the World's Most Glamorous Revolutionary. First sentence, second paragraph of said article: "Camila Vallejo, the 23-year-old president of the University of Chile student federation (FECH), a Botticelli beauty who wears a silver nose ring and studies geography..."

Thanks, Ashley Judd, for helping me figure out why I'd been feeling so annoyed. Here's hoping the NY Times staff takes note of your essay.
posted by artemisia at 2:12 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, Busmick, are you saying that her points are true and valid for everyone who isn't an actor and model? That she's right except that by virtue of her chosen profession, she herself falls outside the norm that others have the right to expect?
posted by tyllwin at 2:12 PM on April 9, 2012


We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.
This along with bilabials comment clarified this some for me. I guess I just wish she came from a different place on this article and used her own career as an example to build up to her point. From my first read through it came off more as her pointing the finger.
Tyllwin...in a way yes. As an actor/model you are famous for these superficial things. Your career is built on an ideal. So in one sense when her movie or ad campaign is out there she wants everyone to know about it and see it and talk about it and her and get paid for it. But when something bad comes along all of a sudden its this big problem thats been there all along but now it effects her. Like I said its not the message its the delivery I guess.
posted by Busmick at 2:21 PM on April 9, 2012


And what do you suggest she do?

Actually, Bunny Ultramod, I wish Ashley Judd had made her essay much funnier.

More personal. Less scolding. Less muddled. Less pompous. I wish she had made it more about her - and not what she suddenly thinks she has in common with all other women.

Because she has taught me nothing specific or valuable about HER experience, in the abnormal industry that is Hollywood.

I think she does have a wonderful opportunity to say something thoughtful - as an A- list (she is still A-list I guess?) actress in this famously ferociously image-and-youth-obsessed industry, finding herself on the wrong side of 40, and negotiating a wounding flurry of crap publicity.

Instead we get a lot of generalized stuff like: "How does this symbolize constraints on girls and women, and encroach on our right to be simply as we are, at any given moment? ".

I don't go around imagining my experience of the world is probably spookily similar to movie star Ashley Judd's.(My mother & sister are also not in the entertainment industry.)

And I think it's bananas for Ashley Judd to assert about the nasty, specific, personal comments about bad plastic surgery she just allegedly received: "...now apply to me as a woman across space and time; to me as any woman and to me as every woman."

Mainly, I just wish she had been funnier.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:22 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, fortunately, the value of an essay is not in whether it appeals to your personal sensibilities or not.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


I have to say that reading this article clarified a lot for me. I've been feeling very depressed and anxious over my looks lately, to the extent that I'm allowing how I feel about my looks to be the primary determinant about how I feel about myself as a person.

There was a study that found that the gender differences in reported depression rates went away when you controlled for the influence of body image on self-esteem.
posted by Jpfed at 2:30 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


As an actor/model you are famous for these superficial things.

Well, no. There are dozens and dozens of male actors who are not famous for their beauty, and they are not constantly harped on in the tabloids for the things that even not-stunningly-gorgeous female actors are. You think Jack Black has to put up with the kind of relentless physical critique about his hair, his wrinkles etc. that even the most minor starlet is subjected to?
posted by rtha at 2:31 PM on April 9, 2012 [29 favorites]


I would love it if no-make up movies became popular. Gahah! Funny no one would watch that would they? Women with out make up! No appearance guidelines in try outs for hollywood movies! God that would be SO AWESOME and really change the world.

Oooh, non-conventionally attractive women cast in leading roles that AREN'T about the fact they aren't attractive according to media standards?

I don't generally pay for movies but I would try to find a way to pay for that.
posted by xarnop at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, fortunately, the value of an essay is not in whether it appeals to your personal sensibilities or not.

It would be cool if you would not police other people's reactions to FPPs. I don't see why you think it's valuable to respond to Jody Tresidder's articulate response with this traffic-cop whistle.

You are also being obviously disingenuous -- you have not policed other people's reactions when the essay did appeal to their personal sensitivities. You obviously think Jody's reaction is bad, somehow -- you disagree with it. But instead of responding in substance you issue a one-sentence call out that you can't actually believe in.
posted by grobstein at 3:14 PM on April 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk but she didnt have a problem accepting money to model cosmetics and act in roles that were based on her appearance.

It's hard for me to read this in any way other than "I'm not perpetuating the patriarchy, you are!" If that's not what you meant, then please do say what you mean, instead of making "I'm just sayin'" comments.

Since this issue completely permeates society, there's really nobody who can offer commentary on it who isn't, to some extent, also a participant in the problematic behaviors.
posted by aubilenon at 3:15 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be cool if you would not police other people's reactions to FPPs.

Was that intended ironically?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:25 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


" Its her livelihood to look good all of the time and get paid for it. Then she wants to ask why people care when she looks bad? She never asked why people were paying her for looking the way she did all these years, or wrote an article when her career was at its height. Ok...pile on..."

It's actually her livelihood to portray characters in movies and television shows. Looking good can be part of that, but it's not necessarily. But yeah, if we're being formal, that people might care when she looks good doesn't mean that people should or have to care when she doesn't look good (though frankly, she still looks pretty good).

I mean, are the comments from people whose livelihood also depends on her looking good? No, not really. So why should they care? Why should they act to police her appearance?
posted by klangklangston at 3:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


All right, a fuller response: I wish she was funnier in expressing her outrage is a little like asking somebody to smile more when they're telling you how they were hurt. It's not only beside the point, it's actually quite thoughtless.

As to me policing the thread -- I was responding to a comment. Because you didn't like the response doesn't mean I was policing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:28 PM on April 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


I must be dumb because I don't notice any real difference between the two pictures on the Daily Beast article except for the makeup, hair length and lighting. Why are people saying she looks puffy?
posted by desjardins at 3:34 PM on April 9, 2012


At the risk of being pilloried, I will agree that her defence of her natural loveliness and wrinkle free state hit on my ear as bit of a false note, too. It's wrong to judge women solely on their looks and speculate about how they were acheived or sustained, but I'm naturally youthful looking and thin? So it was wrong only when we thought that your loveliness was purchased? Why defend yourself in this way while ostensibly railing against the judgement? I know, we all buy into the patriarchy. We don't all write op-ed articles for major publications condemning it while espousing it and benefiting from it, though.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 3:42 PM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Because she shouldn't have to apologize for looking like herself.
posted by borges at 3:45 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


We all benefit from it in some way or another. So we should just all shut up about it?
posted by rtha at 3:46 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why on earth should Ashley Judd have been funnier when arguing that objectifying people is bad? This reminds me of Catseye's observation from another thread:
The idea that we can't just outright criticise sexism, that we have to ask nicely and politely for people to maybe perhaps consider not doing it, minimises sexism as an actual problem. It makes 'don't be sexist' sound like a special favour to ask of people, rather than a basic requirement for acting like a decent human being.
Ashley Judd used polite language. She didn't drop any F-bombs, one can't object to her choice of words. And the objection is that she was not adequately funny? Is Ashley Judd know for writing humorous essays? What's the justification for setting the bar there?
posted by ambrosia at 3:56 PM on April 9, 2012 [29 favorites]


So, the internet pile-on came after the premiere of her new show, Missing. Aside from the pretty much universal feeling that the show was awful, Ashley Judd looked very different than the last time I'd seen her (in a mag, I think). For me, it didn't necessarily translate as bigger or lifted, but she definitely looked different than the Ashley Judd image I have in my head (gawdhelpme) and obviously others felt the same way and attributed it to weight, age, surgery. Terrible.

However, as alltomorrowsparties articulated so well (after my comment earlier) despite all her indignation, she makes sure she shoehorns in how she has flawless skin, her usual tiny size, and how incredibly young she looks -- all the signifiers she's railing against.

I'm a woman, a victim and a perpetrator, and I wish she had not undermined her argument by making sure she noted, in detail, how fabulous she looks.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:56 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


She doesn't say she has flawless skin. It's part of a series of points:

When I'm sick, I am accused of having had plastic surgery. When my skin is "nearly flawless," I am accused of having plastic surgery. When I gain weight, I am accused of having had plastic surgery. When a scene calls for me to look bad, I am accused of having messed up my face with plastic surgery.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:01 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would love it if no-make up movies became popular. Gahah! Funny no one would watch that would they? Women with out make up! No appearance guidelines in try outs for hollywood movies! God that would be SO AWESOME and really change the world.

Eh, the way motion picture film has to be lit means that people look really inhuman and bizarre under motion picture lighting if they aren't wearing makeup. All actors wear makeup, including men. [note: this has no bearing on whether there are inhuman standards set for a narrowly-defined type of physical beauty for women, esp. famous women, in the film industry: of course there are]
posted by shakespeherian at 4:01 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder. If the camera shoots in high dynamic range, and you filter it down to what you want in post, would you still need Movie Lights? Could you do away with the makeup then?
posted by LogicalDash at 4:12 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod, you may be misreading; you are definitely misquoting, including the skin comment. She says "When my skin is nearly flawless, and at age 43, I do not yet have visible wrinkles that can be seen on television, I have had “work done,” with media outlets bolstered by consulting with plastic surgeons..." And when a woman notes that she's usually a size 2/4 but a 6/8 when she's "lazy," well, again, I just wish she'd had an editor point that out and remove all the qualifiers/assurances that she's flawless, wrinkle free and thin.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:16 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


That part is iffy, but my reading is different. Each starts off with a "when." "When this, then this," and in each construction, it represents something temporary. Sometimes I'm thin, sometimes I'm puffy, sometimes my skin is nearly flawless.

Additionally, she provides three examples of when she's not conventionally pretty, or her usual features are not as they would ordinarily be. In order to demonstrate that she can't win with this, she also needs to include one in which she's conventionally attractive, to show that however she looks, the accusation happens. It's only really a problem if she's describing herself inaccurately -- if she doesn't sometimes have flawless skin, and if she actually does have crows feet.

That's a totally defensible read of what she said. I understand if others read it differently, but I would argue that mine is more charitable than something along the lines of "She had some good points to make, but then had to harp on about how pretty she is."

I suppose I also think my reading may allow us to focus on her actual argument, and the other one runs the risk of distracting from her argument to whether or not she's full of herself or a hypocrite.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:24 PM on April 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


I will agree that her defence of her natural loveliness and wrinkle free state hit on my ear as bit of a false note, too.

To me it just came across as, "These rumors about me in the press recently are both false and ridiculous."
posted by straight at 4:37 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ashley Judd's acting career has benefited from being beautiful. I believe this is the case for 99.9% of actors and actresses. Most Olympic athletes benefit from being genetically gifted athletically, and most nuclear physicists benefit from an excess of intelligence. I don't see why this means Olympic athletes shouldn't be able to argue "The sole sum of someone's worth should not be their athleticism" or physicists can't argue "People should not be judged solely on their alma mater."

Judd has benefited from her beauty--but only because she happened to fall on the right side of the aesthetic standards set up by our patriarchial society, and she says as much. Her additional point is also that even when a woman meets and exceeds those standards she still does not catch a break because our culture is that mired in its belief that women's bodies are publicly owned. If she fails to maintain unchanging, ageless Photoshop standards of beauty her character and worth as a person will be ripped apart. And if she complains that it is inhuman to expect those standards of anyone, even the most beautiful, she's called ungrateful and a hypocrite because apparently if you were once loved for being beautiful when you're not beautiful you deserve all the hate you get. That is, because she benefited by virtue of her genetics from our cultural hypersexualization, now she has to pay when she doesn't meet its expectations? This makes sense?
posted by schroedinger at 4:53 PM on April 9, 2012 [48 favorites]


The strain of egotism that runs through this article really ruins it. The immediate issue motivating her outrage is that people are calling Ashley Judd ugly on the internet. All her invocations of the Oppression of Women and the Patriarchy can't hide that this is what is upsetting her most.
posted by zipadee at 5:08 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really don't understand. I agree with her points, absolutely. It's a horror how women in particular, but people in general are pushed into molds. It's given us all unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others and it's hurtful and not productive. We all deal with it, and Hollywood people times a hundred. But to rail against it and then feel compelled to point out but I AM pretty, naturally, and I DO have nice unwrinkled skin and I AM NOT FAT....I can't understand why I'm one of the only people that finds this disingenuous, especially from a woman who has been paid to appear in ad campaigns designed to take advantage of our insecurities in order to make us buy cosmetics. We may all benefit from the system sometimes, but not by participating in twelve million dollar ad campaigns for Estee Lauder.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 5:10 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


And this is how it goes when oppression is discussed. The discussion too often turns into "I might agree if she had said it better, if she had been funnier, if she hadn't been so mean, if she had been clearer, if she wasn't so full of herself, if she didn't condescend, if, if if ..."

But there never is a point expressed perfectly. That is what it is. That simple fact has allowed a million important points to go unaddressed, and instead sparked a million conversations about how and why the point should have been made differently and better.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:15 PM on April 9, 2012 [32 favorites]


Have cake, eat it too.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 5:22 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree that the line about "flawless skin" was carelessly worded, but I don't have any issues with Judd mentioning her clothing size. When a woman notes that she's size 2, 4, 6, or 8, does it seem like a brag, rather than objective fact? What I took from that part of the essay was that Judd was noting that her size ranges from 2-8, and when it's on the upper end of that, she gets criticized. She seems to be pointing out that all it takes to cross over from attractive to "cow" is a few months of not exercising.
posted by xo at 5:24 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


If only her tone was different, then her arguments would matter.

But to rail against it and then feel compelled to point out but I AM pretty, naturally, and I DO have nice unwrinkled skin and I AM NOT FAT....I can't understand why I'm one of the only people that finds this disingenuous, especially from a woman who has been paid to appear in ad campaigns designed to take advantage of our insecurities in order to make us buy cosmetics.

So by participating in a cosmetics campaign she's removed her worth as a human being? Because she chose to make money on her face, that means her entire body is now a public commodity to be dissected, bought, and sold without any thought as to her independence, personality, and self? Do tell, do you also believe all strippers are whores, and prostitutes cannot be raped? Because, you know, they chose to commoditize their body, so why should they complain when anything's done to it?
posted by schroedinger at 5:26 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


And this is how it goes when oppression is discussed. The discussion too often turns into "I might agree if she had said it better, if she had been funnier, if she hadn't been so mean, if she had been clearer, if she wasn't so full of herself, if she didn't condescend, if, if if ...

But how she says it is relevant to her point. She's offering herself up as a witness to something but isn't fully honest with the reader about her own conflicts. The article is an implicit call for a different kind of society, in which we are less narcissistic, less envious and egotistical, and less focused on external physical beauty. The fact that the author can barely stop talking about her own fabulosity and the unfairness of her critics for a paragraph at a time raises some doubts as to whether this is possible.

So by participating in a cosmetics campaign she's removed her worth as a human being? Because she chose to make money on her face, that means her entire body is now a public commodity to be dissected, bought, and sold without any thought as to her independence, personality, and self? Do tell, do you also believe all strippers are whores, and prostitutes cannot be raped?

Come on now. No one has raped Ashley Judd or forced her into a brothel. Tabloids are saying her face is puffy and she's gained some weight, that's it. There's something weirdly gendered about how quickly you're jumping to equate these quite normal vicissititudes of the celebrity career with rape and prostitution. If looks really shouldn't be such a big deal, then why is gossiping about them such a massive violation of personal autonomy?
posted by zipadee at 5:37 PM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nice piece, but oh, that Daily Beast headlining. "Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face..." by Ashley Judd? This has to be an early 2012 frontrunner for some kind of editorial malpractice award.

If the Daily Beast is run like print newspapers, the authors of articles have little control over the headlines.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:41 PM on April 9, 2012


The fact that the author can barely stop talking about her own fabulosity and the unfairness of her critics for a paragraph at a time raises some doubts as to whether this is possible.

We're obviously discussing different articles. Would you mind linking to the one where she does this?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:42 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's something weirdly gendered about how quickly you're jumping to equate these quite normal vicissititudes of the celebrity career with rape and prostitution. If looks really shouldn't be such a big deal, then why is gossiping about them such a massive violation of personal autonomy?

No, I am pointing out that you're essentially arguing that when a woman sells her body (i.e. her face) it means her body is now public property to be used, criticized, and on which to have her worth judged. This is the same rationale assholes use to explain how stripper = prostitute, and prostitute = cannot be raped, because obviously if you choose to market your body it now means the entirety of you is fair game for whomever wants it.

The fact that the author can barely stop talking about her own fabulosity and the unfairness of her critics for a paragraph at a time raises some doubts as to whether this is possible.

I'm with Bunny, I am really not understanding where you're getting that. Overwhelmingly in her discussions about her appearance the message I got was "If I look bad I get criticized, if I look good I get criticized, if I am a normal weight (size 8) I get criticized, my body is considered public property of the media and its appearance is used to determine my values and personal choices."
posted by schroedinger at 5:46 PM on April 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Seriously? We're all held up for scrutiny of our looks, every day. I never implied that she had lost her worth as a human being, just that she had sabotaged her own argument. And yes, by agreeing to commercially profit from her beauty, she did leave herself open for criticism. And thank you shroedinger for mischaracterizing my remarks. No, I don't believe any of those things, but they are in no way equivalent to what I have said.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 5:48 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I'm finding myself on the side of - perhaps poorly worded but not faux-humble. However, at times in my life I have been much more than normally sensitive to such things and I can see reading it less charitably then. But Ashley Judd seems like good people and I don't think she is guilty of that thing she is being accused of, by a couple folks.
posted by Glinn at 6:02 PM on April 9, 2012


One: When I am sick for more than a month and on medication (multiple rounds of steroids), the accusation is that because my face looks puffy, I have “clearly had work done,” ...
Two: When my skin is nearly flawless, and at age 43, I do not yet have visible wrinkles that can be seen on television, I have had “work done,” ...
Three: When my 2012 face looks different than it did when I filmed Double Jeopardy in 1998, I am accused of having “messed up” my face ...
Four: When I have gained weight, going from my usual size two/four to a six/eight after a lazy six months of not exercising, and that weight gain shows in my face and arms, I am a “cow” and a “pig” and I “better watch out” because my husband “is looking for his second wife.”
Five: In perhaps the coup de grace, when I am acting in a dramatic scene in Missing—the plot stating I am emotionally distressed and have been awake and on the run for days—viewers remarks ranged from “What the f--k did she do to her face?” to cautionary gloating, “Ladies, look at the work!”

People seem to be misreading this part of Judd's essay. This does not read as her going on and on about how beautiful and attractive she is. She mentions five cases where her appearance was cause for comment, and explains what the real situation behind each case was. One of these is yes, that her skin looked especially youthful at age 43 and this apparently meant that she'd had work done. Is she not allowed to comment about the constant sick commentary of the media on women's bodies if she ever says anything nice about her face or body ever? That seems like a stupidly harsh standard.
posted by peacheater at 6:09 PM on April 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm glad Judd wrote this, and I'm with the people who read this editorial as "No matter how I look, my looks as well as every other woman's are fodder for constant comment." The takeaway for me is that if they can find things to pick on about Judd's appearance, it shows how crazy and vicious the 24-hour snarkathon really is. The worst thing about it is that the volume of garbage often drowns out any serious discussion of the more important qualities any woman brings to the party.

And count me in with the people who keep a kneejerk tally of women's appearance; then again, I do the same thing with men. In both cases it is often against my will and better judgment. I don't know how to stop doing it, though.

It gives me hope that a woman of size like Adele appears to be able to be judged chiefly on her talent, although I'm sure the snarkers are busy about her weight.
posted by Currer Belfry at 6:11 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This woman's ad campaign called her "The Face of American Beauty" and now someone has said she has a puffy face. As a result, it's now, in her opinion, horrible how people are judged on their beauty. I am a woman and a feminist, and I found it hypocritical. It does not in any way mean that I think it is not wrong for women to be held to the ridiculous and impossible standards that they are. It means I think you can't butter your bread on both sides and then complain when you get greasy fingers.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 6:16 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, when you reduce her argument down like that, it does seem silly. That is, however, I think an unfairly mean-spirited reduction. It wasn't just "somebody" that called her face puffy. It's an entire industry designed to mock women for not living up to exacting standards of beauty, and a populace that participates in this mockery, even though it helps uphold a standard that they themselves can be hurt by.

Maybe there would be a better spokesperson for this. It's pretty rare that the right person also manages to be the one with the right message. If the message itself is valid, it could be Anna Nicole Smith come back from the grave and speaking from the pages of Playboy, for all I care.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:39 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tabloids are saying her face is puffy and she's gained some weight, that's it.

No. That's not it.

Sure, that sucks, on it's own, having folks constantly comment on the size of your waist, breasts, thighs, whatevers. It sucks to have your diet and morality constantly questioned by people who don't eat every any meal with you. (I visited family last summer and the first thing one person said was, "Wow! You've gained a lot of weight!" It was not said approvingly, and I hadn't even gained enough weight to move me up a dress size. I am considered underweight, and always have been.) It sucks to be policed when people do see you eating. It sucks to have people assume that you are striving first and foremost for some ideal of physical appearance. To be judged negatively for not striving (lazy, careless, sloppy) or for having 'achieved' the ideal (vain, obsessed, attention whore).

What gets her goat is that reputable news purveyors had the gall to assert that they knew, without asking her, that this puffiness was caused by plastic surgery. She is further acknowledging that she's gained weight, and takes umbrage at the assertion that she had better lose that weight because her appearance is the primary factor in the success (or failure) of her marriage.

She'd like for information about herself, presented to the public as facts to actually be facts. She'd like for women to be considered worthy partners based on qualifications other than dress size.

She is expressing a desire for women to not be pilloried for failing to meet standards, and not to be accused of trying too hard to meet those same standards.
posted by bilabial at 6:52 PM on April 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


look, seriously, if your argument against an article is that the author is hypocritical, you don't have an argument. the hypocrisy claim is a dismissal dressed up like an argument, and as such is just a derail.
posted by facetious at 6:58 PM on April 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Judd is not the perfect spokesperson for this. No one could *possibly* attain that standard. That she isn't perfect is not a reason to chuck her argument out the window. Which is a large part of her point.
posted by rtha at 6:59 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


This thread is fucking depressing.
posted by odinsdream at 7:35 PM on April 9, 2012 [24 favorites]


Aside from the pretty much universal feeling that the show was awful, Ashley Judd looked very different than the last time I'd seen her (in a mag, I think).

Yes and it was startlingly nice to see how Judd looked in Missing. A bit older, no longer model like thin, not dressed overtly elegant. The character she's playing is a mom with a college age son and Judd largely looks the part.

That's pretty cool and the action in the series looked amazing for a tv show. A shame the plot isn't that strong. Judd's always been a good actress and the series isn't up to her talent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Judd's always been a good actress and the series isn't up to her talent.

And I think part of the point is that her talent is precisely what we should BE focusing on, rather than how "different" she looked in the role.

Acting talent requires more of a man OR a woman than simply for them to stand there so we can look at them. But we pick apart how the actresses look and give men a pass.

Seriously, actress' talent isn't stored in their complexions or anything.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


It does not in any way mean that I think it is not wrong for women to be held to the ridiculous and impossible standards that they are. It means I think you can't butter your bread on both sides and then complain when you get greasy fingers.

This strikes me as a similar argument made against African-American actresses who take parts where they play maids and nannies. Do they have greasy fingers from the buttered bread of mainstream Hollywood, and thereby forfeit their right to object to the portrayal of African Americans in film?

What if you're not paid, what if you choose to wear make up or heels, or shave your legs, or wear form-fitting clothing? Are you a traitor to the cause then, and your wish not to be judged immaterial since you're clearly participating? What level of participation in the system constitutes "buttering"?
posted by gladly at 7:47 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty well convinced that accusing someone of hypocrisy is the go-to criticism whenever someone feels like having an opinion on something. It's so easy to do! Any bit of information I have about you can be made to read to be in some way contradictory to the argument you're making, and therefore I can dismiss whatever logic you've used to construct it. Michelle Obama wants kids to eat better? Well, her husband smokes! Ashley Judd thinks public policing of women's bodies is terrible? Well, she was in a commercial for makeup! Mister Rogers wants you to deal honestly with everyone you meet? Well, that postman's name wasn't really McFeely.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:49 PM on April 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


Oops, the comment I was replying to disappeared. But, yeah, putting the burden of revolutionizing the industry on women who are being mistreated by it is pretty cold. Or asking them to sabotage their careers until the industry is perfect. Meanwhile, the people who really benefit don't have to give it a spare thought.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:16 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


The idea that she's being hypocritical because of her career is ridiculous. It is possible to reward and praise beauty without jumping to criticize and judge anyone who doesn't meet that standard.

For example, we can all acknowledge how attractive Brad Pitt is with out constantly tearing down Steve Buscemi. We can acknowledge that Ashley Judd has a face made to sell makeup without making the false assumption that she's a "better" person than someone who's talents lie elsewhere.

The point is not that she's traded on her looks for her livelihood, the point is that it shouldn't be the one defining aspect of who she is or what she's worth.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:15 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


One other thing....Attractive women are not hard to come by in Hollywood or in the modeling industry. The women who are successful in those industries usually have other qualities that get them the types of career Ashley Judd has had.

Talent, hard work, intelligence, self-discipline, just to name a few. All of those traits would give her plenty of solid ground to stand on to make the argument she's making.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:20 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The essay is incredibly thoughtful and well spoken. Not yet mentioned in this thread (despite all the comments about her acting career benefiting from her looks) is that she's actually a good actress.

(Insert here many comments chronicling terrible films she's done. Beside the point)

Now go watch Ruby in Paradise. Go watch her performances even in bad films. It's always been clear to me that she's an intelligent, committed actress.

Also (by the way)- she's fucking RIGHT.

I don't think that much of what she says is very easily disputable. Let's stop talking about her supposed hypocrisy (or hubris) and maybe focus on her point?

That is all.
posted by asavage at 10:09 PM on April 9, 2012 [19 favorites]


I acknowledged more than once the 'rightness' of what she had to say. But she didn't just minorly profit from her beauty, she was the 'face' of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign. She made immense profit from contributing to the 'beauty' industry and helped spread the very kind of thinking that she's now complaining about. I know Ms. Judd is an intelligent woman, that's why I find it really hard to believe that she'd write this essay and never once admit how she personally profited from promoting the message she is now decrying. We're not talking a few dollars or a promotion or a free dinner or a better deal on a car, we're talking about the kind of money that would be life changing for most people, the kind that buys country properties. We're also not talking about a personal decision to wear lipstick or short skirts (both of which I both employ and enjoy in their own right). We're talking about an advertising campaign that put her on a pedestal as the actual face of American Beauty, for a company which makes billions off of women's dissatisfaction with their looks and has done so for decades. This thread makes me sad, too because one rather poorly thought out diatribe is being so lauded for its insight that we're all supposed to not think about it or discuss its circumstance or author and if I question her motivation or point out her hypocrisy, then I'm not a feminist (despite years fighting for the cause) or a right thinking person.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:36 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


appeal to hypocrisy

The section Legitimate Use is applicable, however it has already been pointed out that no real person is an ideal role model in this context.
posted by polymodus at 11:00 PM on April 9, 2012


But it's not a To quoque , because I was not using hypocrisy as a reason for discarding her argument. I have repeatedly said her points were, for the most part, valid. This does not, however grant her an unlimited personal free pass. She, within the very article, illustrated that she personally finds it important that we know that she is naturally lovely and not fat, after saying that these things aren't really anyone's business to speculate about. As to whether or not she's had procedures, well, if she had, would that be so shameful? Lots of people have surgical procedures to improve their looks, we're not all as genetically gifted as Ms. Judd, after all. Should everyone who has had such work done be ashamed of it? I think not. I still think this woman is being disingenuous and hypocritical.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 11:17 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is utter nonsense. She works extremely hard to look beautiful, and puts a great deal of stock in doing so as her success in her chosen profession is directly tied to her attractiveness. She has every right to be angry when someone derides the way she looks. She does not however have the right to deride people for caring in the first place.
posted by karmiolz at 11:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny that she specifically mentions Double Jeopardy because I remember reading an article (in Parade magazine? 12, 13 years ago?) about the movie's development. The director went on at length about how they were filming her in prison and he wanted her to look more worn-down and told them to take her makeup off and they said 'uh, she's not wearing makeup' and then tried filming her with different lighting and angles and finally gave up because they were INCAPABLE OF MAKING HER NOT BE GORGEOUS. (They didn't have the Charlize-Theron-in-Monster tech back then.)

So that director's ramblings made me miserable enough as a teenager that it's stuck with me my whole life: oh my god, it was enough to know that I'd never live up to these beautiful actresses because they had great genes and personal makeup artists and fitness coaches and I don't know full-time teeth whiteners or something and I knew that I could make steps towards happiness by recognizing that Hollywood is largely illusion and presentation and I could totally be conventionally pretty if I worked at it... but no, now I'm being told that I'll never even get to the presentation stage because, surprise, some of these women are actually supernaturally beautiful goddesses all the time and here I am unable to even put on mascara properly and my lipstick smudges two seconds after I put it on and Ashley Judd will never need lipstick because even when trained professionals are trying to make her ugly she will still be prettier than me. I think that was really one of the things that drove home the beauty standard for me: it's impossible.

But I never thought to blame Ashley Judd for just being too pretty or promoting herself as someone pretty, possibly because, upon review of her filmography, apparently I never actually saw any of her movies, so I've only really come across her in pictures like this or read mention of her at some liberal rally or charity or another where she seemed really cool, and now, this article.

I thought she came off as strikingly articulate and self-aware and not at all a hypocrite for pointing out her own beauty because, hey, I'm a super-feminist (sadly no shirt) and I looked at the "puffy" pictures and thought "yup, still gorgeous" immediately followed by "and therefore it's stupid that people are saying she's not pretty" - really, brain, because it'd be okay for them to attack her if she didn't look pretty? And her defense/defensiveness of her appearance is so painful to read because it's clear that the stupid things people said hurt her feelings but she knows she shouldn't let them because (as a good feminist? as a good human being?) she shouldn't value her appearance beyond its importance to her career, but she does and she feels bad about that, and she's a public figure and has worked to be that and of course people can say anything about public figures, but she also knows that even when people are gushing over her beauty, that - well, I think she'd understand abstractly how I felt as a teenager reading that stupid article about how she was Aphrodite stuck in a jail cell - the obsession with appearance and beauty hurts all women, and a beautiful young woman can't say that because she doesn't understand what it's like to not be beautiful, but a beautiful aging woman can't say that either because she's just upset that she's "losing her looks," and naturally an ugly woman can't talk about the subject because she's just jealous of the beautiful women. Even the woman who defined the impossibility of the beauty standard for me a decade now finds it impossible herself: people can now take bad photos of her!

But whatever - she's a goddess and I would high-five her if I ever got the chance and not tell her the story about how a magazine article about a movie I never saw messed with my head for years. Unless she wanted to write a really meta article about it and I could talk about how I did eventually learn to wear lipstick. That'd be cool.
posted by susoka at 12:16 AM on April 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk but she didnt have a problem accepting money to model cosmetics and act in roles that were based on her appearance.

That's the catch-22 of the whole capitalist system: if you attempt to drop out of it, you're a loser and any criticism is just sour grapes, if you participate obviously you're hypocritical.

It's a way to avoid thinking about the questions somebody raises.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:36 AM on April 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


rtha mentioned Jack Black above. It's interesting to note that since he's fat and not conventionally handsome, he's usually playing comedy relief (very well), which I guess goes to back up the original articles point.
posted by jonmc at 5:24 AM on April 10, 2012


This does not, however grant her an unlimited personal free pass.

An unlimited personal free pass to...what, exactly?

This? never once admit how she personally profited from promoting the message she is now decrying

Because that's not how I read the piece. Also, she's Ashley Judd: that she made money in this industry is as obvious as the fact that she's female! What do you want her to do, stand up and say "I made [exact number of millions of dollars] doing this work"?

And if she did, in what way would that change her argument that this industry that feeds into a culture that feeds off of it is incredibly destructive?

As to whether or not she's had procedures, well, if she had, would that be so shameful?

Oh for good fuckin' christ, did you read the article? It's not about plastic surgery. It's about the relentless public criticism of women's bodies. Too fat, too thin, bad hair, bad complexion, not enough this, too much that.

But thanks for reducing her argument to the most inane reading ever.
posted by rtha at 5:27 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also (by the way)- she's fucking RIGHT.

I don't think that much of what she says is very easily disputable. Let's stop talking about her supposed hypocrisy (or hubris) and maybe focus on her point?


....Can I fly to San Francisco right now and just hug you? Or would that be weird?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:48 AM on April 10, 2012


Weirdly, I bet under British law even it's not considered libellous (almost anything is,literally). I've spent my whole life choosing to be ugly - i was a weird kid, i made my face wrinkly by pinching it for hours on end and stuff, don't ask, i'm over it now - but i'm quite happy to live with the consequences. What i hate is how gangs of teenage boys and sometimes girls yell things at me in the street. In Holland it was impossible to leave the house without it happening at least once, and they are so tall there. It is hard to explain how physically threatening it is (i am short and old-ish, i couldn't fight a gang of six foot teens) so i don't dare yell back. I just want to yell 1) I am actually revolted by the thought of you wanking over me, telling me that you find me unattractive isn't the insult you think it is. If there is anything about my appearance that makes it look like i want you to fancy me, tell me so i can change it! 2) I know i look ugly and like a man, it's intentional! It was a conscious choice that, as a stupid teenager, i thought would only ever be read as radical feminism, not a desperately failed attempt to look beautiful that had failed,as if refusing to shave your beard can be read as anything except an active choice! Anyway, i'm telling you not them because i'm a coward. Had no trouble here in Wales, on the other hand, nor living in Saarland in Germany, nor in London (had threats of violence from random strangers in broad daylight there, which is worse, to be fair). The thing i find really depressing is that my life's fight has been in vain, now we have equality, but not the real one i was fighting for: manorexia, prettyboys instead of actors (and i don't mean the stars, i mean day-to-day acting), ball-shaving(like they look any better! genitals weren't designed to be looked at, for sure, that's why they come with free curtain included). I think i am the only feminist who thinks the new porn-everywhere thing (if you are young, you won't realise that once, porn was something that men kept under the bed,not in every ad,music video,all over tv etc) is probably a good thing and a necessary stage, so that women are viewed as better for wanting sex and being experienced, not as sluts, like when i was at school.(You didn't actually have to have sex to be called on and isolated, just the rumour you'd let a boy feel your bra was enough.)(Playground Afghanistan, kinda.) Although the current result is that women can talk about sex and express their desires instead of being just men's picture's for the first time in history and geography, the backlash or free-for-all is still at the "feminazi" name-calling stage. When everyone sticks up for themselves all the time, and i am not like at university in 1995 the only woman who would speak in class all the others scared to offend, then it will be fine. You can't give people freedom and equality, they have to take it, and i agree with her, that is women's responsibility. No-one owes us anything! (Except not to throw stones at you in the street please!)
posted by maiamaia at 5:52 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forgot to add, in my experience of working-class young women, the biggest problem with this making them judge themselves on whether they will get fucked by random strangers or not is a failure to ever say no or use condoms on the grounds that raising any danger of being decided against is a humiliation that cannot be endured. In other words, they run huge risks with strangers and catch all sorts, presumable including AIDs.
posted by maiamaia at 5:55 AM on April 10, 2012


If a woman who has benefited from the cosmetics industries is ineligible to make the argument that our media culture hurts women by holding them to an unnatural standard of beauty, which public figure could make this point effectively without any hint of hypocrisy? Seriously, who?
posted by sonika at 6:07 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, people are allowed to criticize institutions and systems that they themselves are a part of. This doesn't make them hypocritical, it just means they're human. For example, I know that my stellar GRE scores played a huge role in getting me into grad school with a five-year fellowship. Yet I can still agree that the overemphasis on GRE scores, and in particular the verbal GRE score, is misguided in the sciences -- there are many things that are more indicative of success doing experimental or theoretical work than one's vocabulary, especially if English is not one's first language. Yet I'm not going to go back and say that I shouldn't have taken that fellowship -- it's life-altering money that allowed me to do many things I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. Similarly would you say that it's wrong for a person who depended on inherited wealth to then turn around and say that they think the capitalist system is unfair? Sometimes an insider's view is the clearest of all and I think we should applaud those people who are trying to change things from within the system.
posted by peacheater at 6:29 AM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


She, within the very article, illustrated that she personally finds it important that we know that she is naturally lovely and not fat, after saying that these things aren't really anyone's business to speculate about. As to whether or not she's had procedures, well, if she had, would that be so shameful? Lots of people have surgical procedures to improve their looks, we're not all as genetically gifted as Ms. Judd, after all. Should everyone who has had such work done be ashamed of it? I think not. I still think this woman is being disingenuous and hypocritical.

I think you're still missing the point.

She was not going out of her way to let us know she is "naturally lovely and not fat." She was, as stated by some other commenters upthread, giving some examples of media responses to her looks -- some stories saying she looked good, therefore she'd had some work done, some saying she looked "puffy," therefore she'd had some work done.

She is not saying anything about whether having plastic surgery is laudable or shameful. She is saying that "journalists" are not abiding by basic journalistic standards when writing or talking about her.

I do not think she is going out of her way to let us know how "naturally lovely" she is. I wonder why you are reading this into the essay. She mentions her size, once, as two pairs of numbers. And I think it's important that she does, as her whole point is, this is how deranged the media is, calling somebody who is objectively thin "fat".
posted by spacewaitress at 6:35 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess Warren Buffet doesn't get to criticize the tax structure of the U.S. since he's benefited from it.
posted by rtha at 7:08 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I. Loved. This.

Not only do I agree with every point Ashley Judd is making, but this essay is a beautifully written argumentative piece, strongly worded and well-supported. Thank you, Ashley Judd, for sticking up for content and quality over cattiness and criticism.

It's so refreshing for me as a writer and a woman to come into a feminist thread and feel this way! Too often I find that, when I disagree with any part of a feminist post, somehow in disagreeing I have landed myself on the Not A Real Feminist side of the virtual Metafilter playground.

While all the cool kids high-five each other happily over on the monkey bars, I'm on the swingset thinking,"But those bars are slippery and cold and too high and anyway I like the swings better. Doesn't anyone else get how cool swinging* is?"

But today I am a cool kid way up high on the monkey bars too.

And the view? It's spectacular.

Come join us.

*Note: not to be confused with the swinging that goes on at those NY Metafilter meetups. I've heard about you guys and your fish bowls full of keys.
posted by misha at 7:39 AM on April 10, 2012


I love looking at pretty women as much as anyone possibly could, which makes the incessant criticizers of peoples looks baffling to me. What the hell do they get out of it?
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


What the hell do they get out of it?

"She's X better than me by comparison, but if I knock her down a peg then she's x-[whatever factor of diminishment], so I can feel better about MYSELF for a tiny bit because she's not THAT much better than me anymore."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The strain of egotism that runs through this article really ruins it. The immediate issue motivating her outrage is that people are calling Ashley Judd ugly on the internet. All her invocations of the Oppression of Women and the Patriarchy can't hide that this is what is upsetting her most.

What a ridiculous observation. Of course what motivated her article was the way she was attacked by the media.

This is like saying to a woman who complains about men catcalling women, "Oh you just say that because you don't like it when men catcall at you."
posted by straight at 8:02 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think what's so valuable about this article is that it says to women, "Ladies, it's really not your fault."

If Ashley Judd can't win the beauty game, the game cannot be won. If our sick culture makes you feel ugly sometimes, don't take it personally, because you'd be getting the exact same shit thrown at you even if you looked like Ashley freaking Judd.
posted by straight at 8:07 AM on April 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


> don't read the comments

NEVER read the comments.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:07 AM on April 10, 2012


Let me be the first to say: NEVER read the comments.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:08 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Empress: that dosen't sound like much fun to me. Wouldn't they rather just enjoy?
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on April 10, 2012


that dosen't sound like much fun to me. Wouldn't they rather just enjoy?

Some people are prone to excess jealousy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 AM on April 10, 2012


rtha mentioned Jack Black above. It's interesting to note that since he's fat and not conventionally handsome, he's usually playing comedy relief (very well), which I guess goes to back up the original articles point.

Except in Shallow Hal, where he was the romantic lead. Admittedly, he was funny, but that's because it was a comedy. Seth Rogen is another example-- schlubby, funny, and the romantic lead in a number of comedies.

Men are allowed to be fat or ugly and still carry movies. How much was said about Vince Vaughn's weight gain since Swingers? How much has ever been said about Billy Bob Thornton's funny-looking face? There's no outcry when George Clooney turns gray and gets crows-feet; in fact he's considered more handsome than ever. Steve Carell and Adrien Brody aren't routinely told by the media that they're ugly because they have big noses. The list goes on and on.
posted by cereselle at 8:51 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously. You have someone as odd-looking as Steve Buscemi regarded by plenty of folks as a sex symbol, and arguably a romantic lead in Boardwalk Empire. And no one blinks an eye because his attractiveness is based in his acting ability and the power he conveys as Nucky Thompson.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:26 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


She is not saying anything about whether having plastic surgery is laudable or shameful. She is saying that "journalists" are not abiding by basic journalistic standards when writing or talking about her.

You go too far, spacewaitress!

Look, I'm already on the wrong side of this thread.

Like alltomorrowsparties, I am actually genuinely startled by how this could be; I don't understand what it is about Ashley Judd's essay that has prompted so many gushingly toady statements here about the woman's truth telling & brilliance!

I do believe Ashley Judd is - on the evidence of this wretched essay - the Gunther Grass of Beauty Myth feminism.

The thing is, she didn't have to be.

She could have used her energy to explain, say, what prompted her - as a feminist -to become the Face of American Beauty for the Estee Lauder cosmetics campaign ("Ashley tells PEOPLE exclusively. “Wearing this fragrance makes me feel feminine, beautiful and romantic all at the same time.” (2009)")

She could have made me laugh at how ridiculous & corrupting Hollywood is even when you have all your feminist marbles. Admitting that, yes, a gorgeous - and canny -actress had better make hay at top speed while the sun shines, because god knows, it could all be over - the mega-bucks perfume deals & celebrity endorsements - the very "viral" minute you're spotted looking (comparatively) like shit tottering out of an airport (or wherever that "puffy" pic was snapped. I think I read somewhere that it was an airport shot?).

I would have loved the "other" Ashley Judd (the one who IS clearly bright) to have rewritten this essay and taken out all the contradictory & self-serving rubbish ("a central part of my spiritual practice is letting go of otheration").

I also understand that yes - even if you are a lovely female movie star (& you shill for a cosmetics giant), you still have feelings. However, if you want me to share your pain as a woman as we walk through the decades together and experience the "brutal criticism" of the patriarchy, you need to write a much funnier essay than this.

The swipe about "basic journalistic standards" is unfair, spacewaitress!

No journalist can expect to get a fully frank answer when lobbing a movie star the inherently insulting question: "tell me, have you just had some work done on your face?!". Furthermore, Judd makes a point - in her essay - of saying she used never to read her own press. (Up until now, when it turned "nasty"!!). Which means that any journalist who tried to get an answer from Judd's "people" about whether or not her recent "puffiness" was due to surgery or maybe "otheration," would likely be told "no comment/Ashley Judd pays no attention to these rumors".

Standards of celebrity journalism are controlled by Hollywood - with the active, simpering, awful complicity of the journalists who need access.

Fwiw, I like Ashley Judd very much. I thought she was utterly fabulous in Double Jeopardy. And her charity work looks- genuinely - impressive. None of my criticisms are based on envy or sour grapes.

(Also, I don't know why I keep urging Judd to be funny. I can see it's a slightly annoying suggestion.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:36 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


cool ok when we get the perfect feminist article we'll forward it on to you man
posted by beefetish at 10:25 AM on April 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


And then, at the foot of the article, under the Related Stories heading, this appears: "Celebrities Who Look Older Thank They Are (Madamenoire)".
posted by webwench at 10:34 AM on April 10, 2012


I wasn't arguing against the articles point, which I more or less agree with. My Jack Black comment was just a side observation.
posted by jonmc at 10:55 AM on April 10, 2012


jonmc, I know you weren't, I just used your comment as a jumping-off point. Sorry not to make that clearer.
posted by cereselle at 11:34 AM on April 10, 2012


I can see it's a slightly annoying suggestion.

Honestly, it's not. It's really fucking annoying.

I can guarantee that if she had been funnier, somebody out there would criticize her for being flippant, or for not taking the subject seriously. And they'd use that to dismiss her argument. Can't win. As she points out.
posted by rtha at 11:42 AM on April 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


Cool. And fwiw, with all the weight I've put on since quitting smoking a few years back, I somewhat resemble a bastard spawn of Mr. Black and Dave Grohl.
posted by jonmc at 12:38 PM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jody_Tresidder, i see where you are coming from, and I do agree that IF anyone from the press had asked Ashley Judd (or, more likely, her publicist) if she'd had "work done", the response probably would have been a dismissive denial anyway. There are a few public figures who are open about disclosing this kind of thing, but they're the exception, not the rule. And yes, she is a cosmetics spokeswoman, but I don't think it is hypocritical of her to point out that she has much more going for her than just her looks (which are fine, anyway!).

Your 'make it funnier' demand is a little off-putting, yes. This is not some internet troll going off on a hyperbolic rant sheerly for comedic effect and random upvotes.

This is a woman who got fed up with a particular situation--namely, how her appearance was dissected over a period of a few weeks to the point of absurdity, as illustrated by the extreme and even opposing critiques she lists (that she'd had work done to make herself get that younger look/had messed up her face due to having work done/had let herself go and her husband was going to get a new wife)--and decided to fire back at her critics.

As Ashley Judd rightly points out, all this crap is a symptom of a larger problem in society. It's bad enough that some chauvinistic jerks will always measure a talented woman not by her accomplishments but by her failure to live up to a largely unattainable feminine ideal, but we all know it happens. What's worse is that it seems like now it has become de rigeur for everyone to follow suit, and even embellish on the actual facts to sensationalize them even more. It's like we've all become YouTube commenters.

When journalists, actors, and especially when other women join in and gleefully tear an actress apart for not looking a certain way instead of touching on, for instance, her actual acting, it diminishes her and it diminishes all of us. We are buying into this notion that all we have to offer is our looks.
posted by misha at 4:36 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hypocrit is not a synonym for "wrong". You can be one but not the other.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:22 PM on April 10, 2012


misha Ashley Judd isn't an actress, she is a movie star. She would have absolutely no career if she weren't beautiful. We live in a society of such prosperity and leisure that if you don't take the time to look your best it actually is an indictment on your character. When your career is basically "glorified model" then that is amplified.
posted by karmiolz at 6:48 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ashley Judd isn't an actress, she is a movie star.

Normally I wouldn't follow a derail to argue about the identity of the messenger rather than the content of the message, but calling Ashley Judd a "movie star" and a "glorified model" is an attempt to make her a lightweight, to diminish the weight of her words.

She defines herself as an actor. If you disagree with what she says in the essay, feel free to do that. Address the message rather than belittle the messenger.
posted by ambrosia at 7:55 AM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Misha,
Nicely put – but here’s where you get it wrong.

This is a woman who got fed up with a particular situation--namely, how her appearance was dissected over a period of a few weeks to the point of absurdity, as illustrated by the extreme and even opposing critiques she lists (that she'd had work done to make herself get that younger look/had messed up her face due to having work done/had let herself go and her husband was going to get a new wife)--and decided to fire back at her critics.


Ashley Judd is not just a fed up woman. She is a movie star/ actress who is getting more control freaky about her public image than North Korea.

Why?

Because probably for the first time in her career – she is no longer in a winning position in the beauty race.

How dare I say this?

I am only repeating exactly what Ashley says in her essay.

(Fortunately her essay is so oddly muddled & evasively written at times, it supports a number of interpretations! As this very thread already proves!)

She admits she is catalyzed to comment because this time The Conversation about the way she looks has become “pointedly nasty”.

She is pissed because her appearance was being negatively dissected.

And that’s the heart of the matter for me.

When Judd talks about how there is no “winning” the debate about women, the way they look and their objectification by the patriarchy – she is avoiding the huge flaw in her argument.

She WAS a double jackpot “winner” when her looks were dewy!

She was a successful screen actress who landed a major cosmetics campaign because of her looks.

When Ashley Judd was able to leverage to the max what the patriarchy deemed valuable, she did so.
I don’t blame her!


But nobody wins the beauty race forever.

And the downside of being richly rewarded for having a public pretty face on the ad. billboards is that – yes – people will notice when you don’t. And she is actually extremely lucky to be sitting on a pile of money (yes, yes, from her wonderful acting, as well as cosmetics campaigns) and already in her forties before she had to deal with negative crap about her looks.
And that’s why it grates when I am expected to swallow this:

I ask especially how we can leverage strong female-to-female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women. It doesn’t actually matter if we are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. We experience brutal criticism.


What was I supposed to do when Ashley’s gigantic face was on the billboards, telling me to buy make up so I could look young and pretty like her? Where was my strong Ashley-endorsed female-to-female alliance then?

I get it that brutal criticism hurts when you are not used to it. Overnight in Hollywood women move from babe to battle axe (in casting terms). It is disgusting & wrong and Hollywood is a harsh industry for beautiful women.

She is also, arguably, best known for a clutch of movies she made in the late 1990s. And her highly stylized Estee Lauder image may well prove a bit of an albatross, especially if she keeps keeping sinus infections, that require her to take steroids, that give her a puffy face, that looks like the effects of some cosmetic procedure.

But if Ashley Judd – at 43 – is just figuring out what many of the rest of us discovered via mean comments at high school – then it’s high time she did.. And it doesn’t make her a new feminist icon.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:09 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


When Judd talks about how there is no “winning” the debate about women, the way they look and their objectification by the patriarchy – she is avoiding the huge flaw in her argument.

What is the huge flaw in her argument?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:17 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is the huge flaw in her argument?

Fair enough question - my comment was getting a bit dense there!

Ashley Judd has argued that "there is no winning here as women" because of unreal expectations about beauty

The huge flaw in her argument is that Ashley Judd already won her heat in the beauty race.

When it mattered, when at least some of the women commenting here were probably at their most vulnerable to the beauty industry's advertising fatwas & insane standards - a younger & fresher Ashley Judd was promoting those insane standards.

Maybe there is no winning here as women - and just maybe that's because there will always be another young Ashley Judd to take the money and tell us that a flawless complexion is the key to female success.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:13 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The huge flaw in her argument is that Ashley Judd already won her heat in the beauty race.

I'm pretty sure that when she says that there is no winning for women, she is referring exactly to the idea that women are defined by a 'beauty race.'
posted by shakespeherian at 12:16 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


The huge flaw in her argument is that Ashley Judd already won her heat in the beauty race.

That only explains why she didn't speak up and say "hey, there shouldn't be a race in the first place."

If I understand you correctly, you are saying you are a person who lost that heat. So if you thought the beauty race was bullshit before this, why didn't you say something earlier?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:23 PM on April 11, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: If I understand you correctly, you are saying you are a person who lost that heat.

I am not saying that at all. Why would you understand that?

Is it something to do with your theory, aired earlier in this thread, that: "Some people are prone to excess jealousy" - and that's why they resent beautiful folk?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:33 PM on April 11, 2012


I am not saying that at all. Why would you understand that?

That was the takeaway I got from what you said here:

"But if Ashley Judd – at 43 – is just figuring out what many of the rest of us discovered via mean comments at high school – then it’s high time she did."

I took that to mean that you got those mean comments at high school yourself. That's all. If I read you wrong, my apologies.

But my question -- about why, if you'd discovered "what the rest of us discovered" by your teens, why you didn't speak up your own self back then -- still stands.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:11 PM on April 11, 2012


Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Of course she's hypocritical. She's done more to reinforce and profit from patriarchical standards than anybody in this thread. And now that her looks are starting to fade, she's all OMG DON'T JUDGE ME ON MY LOOKS!! Her rant is clearly ego-motivated, and self-serving, hitting back against those mean n nasty journalists who judge her on the beauty standards that she herself helped define and reinforce.

It's understandable, if unfortunate, that the hypocrisy undermines her argument in so many people's eyes. If Donald Trump were suddenly penniless and he started campaigning on the necessity of social services for the poor, we may well agree with his new argument, but wow.. too little, too late dude -- and, really, Donald Trump as a mouthpiece for the poor? Really?? Similarly, Ms. Judd urging us all not to participate in a system in which she's participated, reinforced, and profited from HEAVILY leaves a real bad taste.

She's also dead-on right and uncomfortably insightful. By playing the patriarchal system like a master, she's gotten a real good understanding of how things work within that system. That's great information, not to be discounted just because the source is imperfect.

What I find interesting is WHY she has participated so heavily, even if she knows the damage it does? Obviously, there's social power (and money) in it. Why is there social power in it? Because lots of men like looking at attractive women, pay to see attractive women, and tend to give attractive women preferential treatment, even if only on a subconscious level. And other women want that social power too, so they'll pay to be able to replicate it on a lesser level.

So how to break the cycle? Either:
1. Men have to stop preferring to look at attractive women. So men: Stop being attracted to women that you find attractive. Got it? Hot women are no longer hot to you. Easy! [and/or]
2. Women have to stop profiting, even socially, from being attractive to men. So women: No more makeup (not even Ms. Judd's favored line, sorry), no cute shoes, no great outfits, haircuts, none of that. Really, just try to look dumpy. It's for the best. Oh, and never mind those other women that are getting ahead by looking good.

Clearly, neither of those choices is fair. It's not fair to ask women to not be attractive if they want to, and it's not fair to ask men not to be attracted to attractive women. (And don't get me started on the idea that men should date women they find unattractive. That way lies madness and heartbreak.)

If nothing else, hopefully Ms. Judd's belated rant will help move the dialog forward. This thread, even if it's depressing and/or GRAR-y, is another baby step, hopefully one of many. It's better to talk about it than not.

As if on queue, while I was writing this, an older male co-worker just walked up to a younger female co-worker across from my micro-cubical and complemented her, out of the blue, on her looks. We're in IT, so... irrelevant comment and slightly creepy vibe, but hey good timing buddy! Now that I know what to do, I stepped between them eating some chips, which only confused everybody...
posted by LordSludge at 2:32 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


So how to break the cycle? Either:
1. Men have to stop preferring to look at attractive women. So men: Stop being attracted to women that you find attractive. Got it? Hot women are no longer hot to you. Easy! [and/or]
2. Women have to stop profiting, even socially, from being attractive to men. So women: No more makeup (not even Ms. Judd's favored line, sorry), no cute shoes, no great outfits, haircuts, none of that. Really, just try to look dumpy. It's for the best. Oh, and never mind those other women that are getting ahead by looking good.


This is the worst description of patriarchy I've ever encountered.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:39 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is the worst description of patriarchy I've ever encountered.

So offer a correction/counter-argument.

"You're wrong" doesn't help drive the conversation anywhere.
posted by LordSludge at 2:54 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just shooting off the cuff, but how about:
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.
Notice that this is markedly different from your formulation of 'men prefer to look at attractive women.' It is the systemic societal privileging of this preference that is at issue.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:59 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now that I know what to do, I stepped between them eating some chips, which only confused everybody...

Literally laughing out loud. Gawd I love Metafilter.
posted by spacewaitress at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2012


It's not fair to ask women to not be attractive if they want to, and it's not fair to ask men not to be attracted to attractive women.

And by whose standards are you judging their "attractiveness?" That such a thing even exists in really what's not fair - that there really and truly is a societal metric by which women pass or fail in terms of attractiveness.

What really needs to happen is for our culture to encourage women to feel attractive whether or not they're a size 2 and look 21 years old. Thus rendering the whole "social worth based on body size and appearance" thing moot. But, y'know, there's no money to be made in that.
posted by sonika at 3:06 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Donald Trump were suddenly penniless and he started campaigning on the necessity of social services for the poor, we may well agree with his new argument, but wow.. too little, too late dude -- and, really, Donald Trump as a mouthpiece for the poor? Really??

There's a long tradition of "sinners" being the most zealous converts once the scales fall from their eyes. Their testimony is far more powerful than someone who's never known both sides. Former addicts, criminals, religious believers, whistle blowers, soldiers, all of them make excellent spokespeople because of their experience.

The huge flaw in her argument is that Ashley Judd already won her heat in the beauty race.

And the huge flaw in yours is that you don't get to choose whether or not you're running in the race. All women are running. Judd is asking why are we racing, but you'd rather argue about whether or not she's credible because she once ran well.

Maybe there is no winning here as women - and just maybe that's because there will always be another young Ashley Judd to take the money and tell us that a flawless complexion is the key to female success.

No. There's no winning because there is no finish. You don't get to ever stop being judged for how you look. You can stop caring, but that doesn't mean you won't be valued based on your appearance.
posted by gladly at 4:46 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


The huge flaw in her argument is that Ashley Judd already won her heat in the beauty race.

Maybe only a "winner" can give convincing testimony that, "The game is rigged. You can't really win."
posted by straight at 7:37 PM on April 11, 2012


"Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Of course she's hypocritical. She's done more to reinforce and profit from patriarchical standards than anybody in this thread. And now that her looks are starting to fade, she's all OMG DON'T JUDGE ME ON MY LOOKS!! Her rant is clearly ego-motivated, and self-serving, hitting back against those mean n nasty journalists who judge her on the beauty standards that she herself helped define and reinforce.

It's understandable, if unfortunate, that the hypocrisy undermines her argument in so many people's eyes. If Donald Trump were suddenly penniless and he started campaigning on the necessity of social services for the poor, we may well agree with his new argument, but wow.. too little, too late dude -- and, really, Donald Trump as a mouthpiece for the poor? Really?? Similarly, Ms. Judd urging us all not to participate in a system in which she's participated, reinforced, and profited from HEAVILY leaves a real bad taste.
"

This is crazy nonsense, like saying that because a black professional athlete has profited from a social image of the aggressive, dominating black man, he can't complain about being treated like a criminal.
posted by klangklangston at 8:26 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Notice that this is markedly different from your formulation of 'men prefer to look at attractive women.' It is the systemic societal privileging of this preference that is at issue.

That's part of it, sure, but I've no idea why you omit the rest of the equation in your characterization of my argument. There's men, women, and the media's influence - though I suspect we disagree on the proportions of each.
posted by LordSludge at 8:49 PM on April 11, 2012


This is crazy nonsense, like saying that because a black professional athlete has profited from a social image of the aggressive, dominating black man, he can't complain about being treated like a criminal.

Agreed that it's crazy nonsense. Emotion drives most people, not logic.
posted by LordSludge at 9:08 PM on April 11, 2012


No, I'm kinda saying that your argument about Judd being hypocritical is incoherent through analogy. That's what I mean by nonsense.
posted by klangklangston at 10:37 PM on April 11, 2012


Okay, to take the analogy out of the equation:

Person A is born into in System B, which exists without her prior knowledge or approval.

Person A successfully games System B (many of whose players cannot game, for whatever reason) to her massive advantage and promotes & advocates System B to all players.

Person A loses whatever ability that allowed her to game System B.

Person A is publicly criticized for losing her ability to game System B.

Person A responds to such criticism by denouncing System B.

Other participants of System B (generally less successful than Person A) cry hypocrisy -- that Person A's prior advocacy of System B somehow damages her current criticism of System B.

But Person A's denoucement of System B is correct because System B truly is markedly unfair to most participants.

Anyhow, that's how I see it. Sorry if I suck at analogies, but goddamn I love that a forum exists that we can talk about stuff like this.
posted by LordSludge at 1:10 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry if I suck at analogies, but goddamn I love that a forum exists that we can talk about stuff like this.

Hear hear, LordSludge:)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:47 AM on April 12, 2012


And to piggyback upon that equation:

Person A is born into in System B, which exists without her prior knowledge or approval.

Person A successfully games System B (many of whose players cannot game, for whatever reason) to her massive advantage and promotes & advocates System B to all players.


It's also possible that Person A was not yet aware of the total scope and impact of System B at the time she was advocating it. After all, it's human nature that when things are working out okay for each of us, we don't always stop to consider whether there are hidden forces at play that may be putting others at a disadvantage and us at an advantage. All we know is, things are working out okay for us, so yay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:45 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


So then what characteristics would make the Perfect Person for the argument Judd makes? What would the most ideal credentials and the most credibility look like? What would it take to be taken seriously?
posted by rtha at 5:47 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can only assume some kind of enlightened asexual alien species with the ability to telepathically communicate would be worthy of praise from some of this thread's critics.
posted by odinsdream at 6:22 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


But only if they were also funny enough.
posted by Orb at 6:48 AM on April 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


And shared mea culpa anecdotes about themselves while also not ever talking about themselves, because: vanity.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:07 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


So then what characteristics would make the Perfect Person for the argument Judd makes? What would the most ideal credentials and the most credibility look like? What would it take to be taken seriously?

Easy peasy, rtha.

A screen actress at peak survival of the fittest stage (in nudge, nudge evolutionary terms!) - who tells the cosmetics giants - in public - to stuff their offers of multi million campaigns with her as the dewy bombshell shill.

And, as Orb points out, it would be brilliant if she could be hilarious about it too:)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:12 AM on April 12, 2012


Then we would criticize her for wearing movie makeup, or for appearing 'glamorous' on-screen, or we would find some character she'd played that wasn't the Great Feminist Ideal As We Decided She Must Be Depicted. There is no winning here as women.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:24 AM on April 12, 2012


There is no winning here as women.

Great slogan. Not.

Actually, shakespeherian, you have a point in that it is hard to be the Great Feminist Ideal.
Feminism being a broad church and all that.
OTOH, there's no need to be a lousy & annoying one out of the gate...but that's where I came in to this thread a long, long time ago!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:01 AM on April 12, 2012


The point, which I think has been repeated several times by now, is that your criticism of Judd as 'lousy & annoying' in this instance is just one example of how whenever women (or, more generally, representatives of repressed groups) speak up about the imbalances of society weighed against them, they are criticized as not being the ideal representative for that group regardless of the particulars of who they are. If Ashley Judd is a conventionally beautiful and successful actress she is dismissed as a hypocrite, but if she isn't conventionally beautiful and has struggled with breaking into acting for decades she is dismissed as jealous or bitter. If she's a powerful political figure, she's a bitch who's abandoned her family to further her career, but if she's a stay-at-home mother she doesn't understand the way the world really works, politically.

This is the point Judd makes in her article when she says that because she is a female celebrity, there are articles written claiming she's gotten plastic surgery regardless of her appearance-- if she looks horrible, it's evidence she's just had work done, but if she looks amazing, it's evidence she's had work done. That this point of hers has been transformed by some readers into Ashley Judd boasting about her looks is simply one more manifestation of the fact that women in our society are always, always seen through the a lens shaped by their physical appearance.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:17 AM on April 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


A screen actress at peak survival of the fittest stage (in nudge, nudge evolutionary terms!) - who tells the cosmetics giants - in public - to stuff their offers of multi million campaigns with her as the dewy bombshell shill.

I see. So she's allowed to make money and a career in part for her looks, as long as it's not from the "wrong" companies? Getting a role from Universal that she wouldn't have gotten without her looks - even if her talent level is the same - is okay, but making money in some other way based on her looks is *not* okay and makes her a hypocrite whose criticisms of the system can't be taken seriously. Also, be funny, or else no one will take it seriously.
posted by rtha at 8:32 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


screen actress at peak survival of the fittest stage (in nudge, nudge evolutionary terms!) - who tells the cosmetics giants - in public - to stuff their offers of multi million campaigns with her as the dewy bombshell shill.

So the cosmetics industry is evil, but the movie industry is not? A woman can take millions from the major studios (who have done a lot to create and propagate unrealistic notions of an ideal female) and maintain her feminist cred, but one perfume ad in a magazine somewhere and she's suddenly a hypocrite? Seriously? That makes no sense to me.
posted by ambrosia at 8:59 AM on April 12, 2012


...but one perfume ad in a magazine somewhere and she's suddenly a hypocrite? Seriously? That makes no sense to me.

Ambrosia,
And it makes NO sense whatsoever to me why you would rewrite my comment so that it suited your own point.
I specifically did NOT say anything about "one perfume ad in a magazine somewhere".
I did not say the cosmetics industry is evil....actually, carry on... you have a lot to say clearly.

I see. So she's allowed to make money and a career in part for her looks, as long as it's not from the "wrong" companies?

rtha,
Ashley Judd is entitled to make her money any way she pleases!

It is when she starts scolding people for paying too much of (suddenly) the wrong sort of attention to her face, that I feel entitled to get pissy back.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:08 AM on April 12, 2012


I feel entitled to get pissy back

...when she makes money in a way I don't approve of, even though she has made lots of money in a very closely aligned industry that is also all about presenting youth and beauty as the feminine ideal.

See, I don't get that. The movie industry is not some tower of purity that is disconnected from presenting beauty as she can never be attained by ordinary mortals who have no access to professional makeup artists, costumers, lighting techs, etc. But do a campaign for a makeup company and suddenly you're not allowed to criticize the unattainable standards to which women are held.
posted by rtha at 10:25 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the point Judd makes in her article when she says that because she is a female celebrity, there are articles written claiming she's gotten plastic surgery regardless of her appearance-- if she looks horrible, it's evidence she's just had work done, but if she looks amazing, it's evidence she's had work done.

shakespeherian,
Look - here I feel I really have to say "so fucking what?".

Paul Newman had the same problem too. (And , tangentially, there's a very well reviewed actor's memoir just been published in which the Paul Newman- plastic surgery question gets aired all over again! Even though Newman died in 2008).

The plastic surgery question is a gorgeous celebrity question. It's not female only by any means.
Of all the impertinent questions put to celebrities, I have to say as well, that it's not the most heinous one either.

rta: But do a campaign for a makeup company and suddenly you're not allowed to criticize the unattainable standards to which women are held.

rtha,
I think you should expect to be asked why you did that campaign, absolutely yes.

And - how fabulous - Ashley Judd agrees with me!

Here she is in her same exasperating, muddled essay - in full rhetorical question mode herself!

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?

Perhaps she feels that Estee Lauder doesn't trade on women's fears about their worthiness?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:07 AM on April 12, 2012


Look - here I feel I really have to say "so fucking what?".

Then what is your point?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:13 AM on April 12, 2012


me: "Look - here I feel I really have to say "so fucking what?"."

shakespeherian: Then what is your point?


shakespeherian,
Actually, I amplified my point immediately after the "so fucking what"?

(The "so fucking what" was dismissing the notion that it's necessarily dreadful or sexist to raise the question of plastic surgery with a celebrity.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:43 AM on April 12, 2012


Of all the impertinent questions put to celebrities

It's not "Oh a journalist asked me an impertinent question!" It's random photogs taking pictures of the celeb while they're shopping or at the beach (the beach issues are the most brutal) or whatever and then those photos get slapped on the cover, with circles and arrows and text that's all "Is she off her diet? Look at that cellulite!" and "Her jaw looks funny - a plastic surgeon weighs in on [so-and-so's completely imaginary] plastic surgery!"

It's photos of a Kardashian on a red carpet, 'shopped within an inch of its life, put next to a photo of her walking her dog (do any of them have dogs? No clue) while not wearing spanx and full makeup and a headline "So pale and skinny - are the cancer rumors true?"

It's photos of Anne Hathaway looking maybe thinner than usual, so hard to tell at that angle (and also 'shopped within an inch of its life) and headlines like "Is Anne starving herself for the stage?"

And all that right next to yet another spread about how Oprah's fallen off her diet and lookit how fat she is now!

Right next to the headlines about how you too! can lose 20 pounds eating grapefruit you fat cow you.

I mean christ, really?
posted by rtha at 11:57 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


...It's random photogs taking pictures of the celeb while they're shopping or at the beach (the beach issues are the most brutal) or whatever and then those photos get slapped on the cover, with circles and arrows and text that's all "Is she off her diet? Look at that cellulite!" and "Her jaw looks funny - a plastic surgeon weighs in on [so-and-so's completely imaginary] plastic surgery!"

Fair enough, rtha.

And now I have a mag on my lap - and I can turn to umpteen utterly luscious & dewily flawless advertising portraits - Jennifer Lopez ("L'Oreal - The Story Behind My Skin"), Angelina (Louis Vuitton), Charlize (Dior) Sofia Vergara (Cover Girl) Charlotte Gainsbourg (Balenciaga)....

I think my point is - maybe we all deserve each other! The celebs make us feel worthless, and we tell them they look like shit on the beach anyway!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:24 PM on April 12, 2012


The "so fucking what" was dismissing the notion that it's necessarily dreadful or sexist to raise the question of plastic surgery with a celebrity.

Okay, I think this actually solves it for me. You're fine with celebrities appearances being fodder for public discussion and debate. Or, at least, you don't see any harm in it. They're public figures, they should expect it. And, at least in your assessment of Ashley Judd, she deserves it. Moreover, you'd like her to smile even when she's humiliated by it.

That's a fundamental enough difference that I don't see myself coming to understand.
posted by gladly at 12:25 PM on April 12, 2012


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.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:26 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey! I was all up in this thread early on, and maybe mine was the first comment to be less than all Team Ashley. I'm here to say that although you may not agree with all of Jody Tresidder's points, she is doing an excellent job of holding on to her perspective, her cool and her sense of humor. Like all good feminists.

As for me, I'm just not jumping up and down and fainting with admiration because AJ -- who is basically a lottery winner in life -- has had her consciousness raised at what she deems to be the expense of her looks.

And, finally -- get ready, you're gonna hate it -- she DID LOOK DISTORTEDLY PUFFY!!!!! I thought she was her mother in the promo for the shows. And I would have said the same damn thing about Ashton Kutcher or whomever. I mean, really, we come to see these folks, we have these huge images burned into us, they present themselves as fodder for our entertainment, and when they pop up looking very different -- good/bad -- are we really not supposed to take note?
posted by thinkpiece at 12:45 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The movie industry is not some tower of purity that is disconnected from presenting beauty as she can never be attained by ordinary mortals

Oh gourd yes. The movie industry is especially damaging to women (including movie stars!) who have babies and are urged from the moment they get pregnant to shed the baby weight. Movie stars are supposed to set the example for the rest of us to follow insane stupid diets while pregnant to not gain weight. I - for medical reasons having nothing to do with vanity - was placed on a diet and LOST weight in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy and it did not do me any favors. It was harder to bounce back postpartum and I seriously didn't give half a shit about the "baby weight."

The attractiveness industry in our society is so bad that we can't even gain weight WHILE PREGNANT. And movie stars are a huge part of this. They have to lose the weight pretty much immediately in order to find work again and if they don't, they're derided as fat, lazy cows.

I think my point is - maybe we all deserve each other! The celebs make us feel worthless, and we tell them they look like shit on the beach anyway!

This is just. This is disgusting. You think that this is really ok? That because the industry that values celebrity tells you that you don't measure up that the way to respond is to pick apart a celebrity's every flaw and that ok, it's fair?

I honestly don't believe that you understand what you're talking about, or, for that matter, what feminism actually IS.
posted by sonika at 2:13 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't believe that you understand what you're talking about, or, for that matter, what feminism actually IS.


Cool your jets, sonika.
I was using hyperbole.
I am a feminist. I also used to interview film & tv actors for a living.
And I am kindly assuming the comments you just made are also wildly exaggerated for effect.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:24 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is just. This is disgusting. You think that this is really ok? That because the industry that values celebrity tells you that you don't measure up that the way to respond is to pick apart a celebrity's every flaw and that ok, it's fair?

Hating is universal. People looove to pick apart people "better" than them. Makes em feel better about themselves and all their own shortcomings.

Yep, disgusting. Nope, not ok, not fair. But there it is. And it sells magazines.

hate hate hate
posted by LordSludge at 2:55 PM on April 12, 2012


I was using hyperbole.

Hey, maybe if you tried to be funnier instead, eh?
posted by rtha at 2:57 PM on April 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hey, maybe if you tried to be funnier instead, eh?

I guess you only *do hugs* for movie stars, eh.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:08 PM on April 12, 2012


So true! Don't tell my spouse!
posted by rtha at 3:20 PM on April 12, 2012


Cool your jets, sonika.

I'm going to go with "No" because I'm not twelve years old or someone you're intimately familiar with. If you feel like the substance of my comment bothers you, I accept that, but there's no reason to be condescending. If you want to make this personal by addressing me or my tone instead of the substance of what I have to say, please take it to MeMail.
posted by sonika at 7:11 PM on April 12, 2012


People looove to pick apart people "better" than them. Makes em feel better about themselves and all their own shortcomings.

Yeah, I get that. It just means that in this equation - EVERYONE gets screwed. First, the media presents images as ideal that the people behind the images can't even live up to without airbrushing, makeup, and creative costuming. Then people who are buying magazines and watching movies and TV start to feel like they need to live up to this ideal - but they can't. Partly because it's an illusion. So, they feel shitty about themselves. Then, to feel better, instead of saying "Hey, this is a bullshit ideal that no one can achieve and I really don't need to be a size 2 with eight foot long eyelashes" the more immediate response is "YEAH WELL YOU'RE UGLY" and lashing out at the people in the images in the first place... who then are ripped apart for not meeting the standard that they themselves helped to set.

It's a vicious cycle and no one wins and you're right - a lot of magazines get sold. And a lot of women feel shitty about themselves and go on stupid diets or get plastic surgery. Some of them happen to be celebrities and, to get back to the article, as Ms. Judd points out - they just can't win no matter what. Too pretty and they're picked apart for being phony. Too ugly and they're picked apart for "letting themselves go."

Makes me quite glad I'm not a celebrity, TBH.
posted by sonika at 7:15 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just realized I'm really tired and came off WWWAAAYYYYY more strident than I needed to be. Many apologies. My basic point being that if Jody Tressier would like to take this to email to continue the more personal side of the discussion, that'd be better than clogging things up here. And again, apologies that it came out harsh the first time I tried to say it.
posted by sonika at 7:33 PM on April 12, 2012


It's at this point that I just kinda assume that absent closed head injuries that make it impossible to grasp how inane their criticisms read, those still truly arguing that Judd is hypocritical or deserves the critiques or doesn't have a right to be upset when people make shit up about her are really just on some deep jealz shit and maybe working through their own body issues by bagging on a woman who calls out the whole system. It's OK, uglors, Judd's actually trying to make things better for you too. Don't hate her because she's beautiful.
posted by klangklangston at 10:25 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


klangklangstonIt's OK, uglors, Judd's actually trying to make things better for you too. Don't hate her because she's beautiful.



And voila, the puppy puddle in so many feminism threads - the "brace yourselves ladies - here comes my 'little Limbaugh' routine!".
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:05 AM on April 13, 2012


To be fair, prior to this you've been the one dealing in ad hominem attacks (on Judd) and attempting to justify personal attacks on her character rather than addressing the meat of the argument.
posted by schroedinger at 6:24 AM on April 13, 2012


Well, this conversation certainly got shot to hell.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


"And voila, the puppy puddle in so many feminism threads - the "brace yourselves ladies - here comes my 'little Limbaugh' routine!"."

Whatever, hypocrite, you've benefited from the beauty industry — you got paid for those interviews you wrote — so clearly you can't criticize anyone for making fun of your appearance.

Plus, eat more irony. It's good for you.
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Klang, you're kind of being a dick.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever, hypocrite, you've benefited from the beauty industry — you got paid for those interviews you wrote — so clearly you can't criticize anyone for making fun of your appearance.
Plus, eat more irony. It's good for you.


What's the point here, klangklangston?

I thought you were just indulging in some comically refried Rush, with your earlier comment about stupid, ugly, fat women who hate pretty movie stars!?

And I do appreciate the irony of Ashley Judd's position.

Ashley Judd, the actress with a steroid-treated sinus infection cannot compete with the unrealistic female ideal of Ashley Judd, the Face of Estee Lauder's American Beauty cosmetics.

It's absolutely central to the themes of her manifesto. But she did not even mention it
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:48 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here we were having a group hug and somebody farted.
posted by LordSludge at 12:50 PM on April 13, 2012


Y'know, if we didn't live in such deeply ingrained, trained islamophobic society, we might more appreciate the old method of Islamic tessellation and calligraphy artists; introducing intended mistakes, giving life to , and making concrete, a recognition that, as people, with non of us being, nor even knowing how to describe perfection, and, for most of us, perfection is a field of dreams two counties over... even the "most beautiful" (in any sense: of the brain, of the body, of empathy, of spirit, of logic...) amongst us pales in comparison to some "platonic" sense of a "perfect good", Unity, or here, a "perfect argument, from the perfect advocate".

Sometimes it is appropriate to take the allies you are given, rather than looking your gift ally in the mouth.

It might make us less inclined to pick apart the person who happened to bring a message this time, and rather, to consider that she is not the only one with this message, nor is she wrong, she hasn't harmed any message, because, frankly, MOST people just don't care.

Acting like she is getting in the way of some "perfect" messenger... misses out on the fact that, for a large portion of the population, what she is saying just doesn't matter (this is to contrast with people arguing that she is inappropriate because she doesn't go FAR enough [the majority not only thinks she went far enough already, but rather, she has gone TOO far]).

Nor is anyone in this thread "conveying" her message "more perfectly"... merely "differently", so... theres that.
posted by infinite intimation at 1:47 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Damn. Did Ashley Judd just use the world salient and the phrase "inter alia"? Damn.

Too good. And the comments now are pretty supportive.

The most interesting thing in the comments to me was a strain of users, seemingly female, who feel that Judd is completely right but should not have written an article about it. Weird.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:12 PM on April 27, 2012


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