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Thoughts On Ashley Judd’s Piece

Have you read the piece actress Ashley Judd wrote earlier this week? The piece, entitled, Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face for Speculation Over Her ‘Puffy’ Appearance, addresses the media and society’s view of a women’s worth.

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I do not consider myself to be a ‘feminist’ (and Judd states at the end of the piece that ‘if this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start.’) but I still think it brings up a lot of good points and got the gears in my head turning.

Over the past six months, I have been struggling with my self-esteem. To make a long story short, it all boils down to my weight. I have gained 11 pounds in almost a year with no explainable reason as to why. This may not seem like a lot, but for someone who stayed within a happy five pound range for over seven years, it is a big deal in my eyes. (Yes, weight is just a number, but my issues go a little further.)

Anyway, in the article, Judd brought up three points that resonated within me:

“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.”

I think this is absolutely 100% true. For years (going all the way back to middle school) I denied that I was the one who was abusing myself, when in fact, it was me all along. I heard all of the mean comments and remarks from the “popular girls” ranging from my face to my “thick” legs to my weight. I internalized these comments and repeated them to myself on a daily basis, but always placed the blame for the negative self-talk on my “attackers.” However, while these girls may have had some role in my self-esteem issues growing up (and to a degree, still to this day), I am the one who is continuing the talk. But I also have the control to stop the talk and stop abusing myself.

“What is the self-righteous alleged “all knowing” stance of the media about? How does this symbolize constraints on girls and women, and encroach on our right to be simply as we are, at any given moment? How can we as individuals in our private lives make adjustments that support us in shedding unconscious actions, internalized beliefs, and fears about our worthiness, that perpetuate such meanness?”

I am still working on finding these adjustments in my attitude and view towards myself. It is a growing process and I am hoping that it comes with age.

“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. It affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings.”

The bolded part of this passage rang a bell within me. My dad always tells me “when you doubt your powers, you power your doubts” and I am completely guilty of this. There have been times where I have told myself that I am “too fat”, “too slow”, “too dumb” or “too shy” to do XYZ. I think for many people (some more than others), how we view ourselves can absolutely effect what we think we can and can not do. It is a sad, but all too common, reality in our society. The insanity DOES need to stop!

Of course not all of our problems can be blamed on the media. In fact, I think society can put too much blame on the media for a lot of our problems.The media does carry some responsibility, but we are also responsible for ourselves, our actions, and our thoughts. The media does have power, but we are more powerful.

What are your thoughts on the Ashley Judd piece? Have you read it?

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2 Responses to Thoughts On Ashley Judd’s Piece

  1. I love how gracefully she’s handled it, and how she’s turned it into a great discussion tool for bigger issues in society. It’s not an “oh poor me they called me fat” diatribe…it’s fantastic to see her bring up the issues that we personally need to take responsibility for and work to change in society!

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