Recently, Ashley Judd was criticized and insulted in the media for her “puffy” face. The news sparked a viral frenzy speculating how much “work she got done” along with warnings that she “better watch out” because her husband “is looking for his second wife.”
The most disturbing fact of all is that the conversation about Ashley’s face was initially promulgated largely by women.
Ashley responds with a thought-provoking article to discuss the seriousness of what seems like harmless commentary, but really is the fundamental root of sexism.
“The conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted.”
I applaud Ashley Judd for having the courage to raise the dialogue about the dangerously harmful effects that such sexist, disempowering and misogynist conversations have on society. The sad thing is, we are all a part of this patriarchal mentality.
Every time we tear another woman down because of her looks. When we watch shows like “The Real Housewives of Vancouver” and participate in slamming the characters’ appearance, Botox and figures. When we compete for taken men. When the first default insult we can think of to describe a female foe is “fat bitch”. When the everyday dialogue that we have with our friends, our kids, and our family makes fun of other females because of their physical appearance. Every time we participate in these seemingly “harmless” behaviours and discourses, we are part of the vicious cycle that disempowers women.
We may not be able to change what the media chooses to present and publish, at least not overnight. But we can choose what media we consume. We can choose to continue supporting our “guilty pleasures” of trash reality TV, or not. And, we can choose to participate in conversations that focus on the accomplishments, inspiration and contributions of women instead of how botched their Botox is.
We need to stop tearing down other women because in society’s eyes, they aren’t skinny enough, pretty enough or young enough. If we don’t stop the vicious cycle, who will?