Ashley Judd is not a person that I typically look to for insight into the psychological and social world of gender relations and self-presentation. However, her recent post in the Daily Beast, while reactionary to unfounded and speculative criticism, is nonetheless a bravely articulate cultural critique that is refreshingly nuanced and poignant. For those unfamiliar with the precipitating events, recently Ms. Judd was the subject of media scrutiny and criticism regarding photos that were taken in which her face appeared somewhat “puffy” (I frankly couldn’t tell you what exactly is meant by puffy – but apparently its not a good thing). The trigger to Ms. Judd’s reaction seems predicated by the baseless conclusions drawn by multiple media outlets that her “puffiness” must be a sign that she has had plastic surgery or other facial “work” (she was actually receiving steroid treatments for a recent illness). Ms. Judd’s response is not only to criticize the misogynistic and voyeuristic nature of our current media, but also to point out how both men and women operate to objectify and belittle women in countless ways both consciously and unconsciously. In the accompanying NBC interview she actually describes the painful results of being humiliated and excoriated by media and how this relates to stories of all women (got to love anyone who can work the word excoriate into an interview). It is not often that actors/public figures call out the very medium from which they derive their livelihood – kudos to Ms. Judd! Read Ms. Judd’s post at the Daily Beast.
Blogs by MidAmerica Nazarene University staff and faculty.
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