After the promos for Ashley Judd’s ABC show, Ashley Judd Stars as Liam Neeson in Taken, appeared, some in the online commentariat broached the topic of her appearance and face, implying that Judd was AN ACTRESS looking for HER YOUTH.
She took to the Daily Beast to rebut the “reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification” and so much more:
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.
Earlier in the piece, Judd notes that she long ago stopped reading media about herself, because what she’s learned is, while it’s nice to have the esteem of friends and family, the only thing that really matters is how she feels about herself, her integrity, and her relationship with God. She’s rid “otheration”–presumably a cousin to “hateration”–from her life. It follows then that she could reverse engineer online comments about her personal appearance into society-wide ensnarement in a roving, insidious system that destroys human dignity.
But anyway, I’m participating in the patriarchy.
A few months ago, somebody was like, “You can tell a lot about people by what they put in a bio.” Here is the bio Ashley Judd, a pretty well-known actress for the last 15 years (and actually one I like), attached to that piece:
Ashley Judd is a prolific actress, who will next be seen in ABC’s new midseason show, Missing. Judd most recently appeared in Dolphin Tale alongside Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr. and Kris Kristofferson. Judd is also on the board of directors for PSI (Population Services International), which she joined in 2004 after serving as Global Ambassador for PSI’s HIV education and prevention program, YouthAIDS since 2002. Judd has visited PSI programs in Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar, Kenya, South Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, India, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In her work, she witnesses the lives of the exploited and poor to help educated the world about the reality of global poverty and bring solutions to the devastating effects of social injustice and gender inequality. Judd was the subject of three award-winning documentaries aired in more than 150 countries worldwide on VH1, The Discovery Channel and The National Geographic Channel. In her role as PSI board member, Judd has graced the covers of countless magazines and been the subject of newspaper and television interviews bringing vital awareness to issues closest to her heart, gender inequality and poverty alleviation. Judd has visited legislators on Capitol Hill, addressed the General Assembly of the UN on the scourge human trafficking, spoke at the National Press Club, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the protection of vulnerable women from violence, sexual abuse and HIV and, most recently served as an expert panelist at Clinton Global Initiative to discuss the issue of safe water and the empowerment of girls in the developing world. Recently, Judd has come on board as a spokesperson for organizations Defenders for Wildlife and The Sierra Club providing her time and voice to advocate against practices of aerial wolf hunting (Defenders for Wildlife) and mountaintop removal coal mining (The Sierra Club). 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.
Ashley Judd is, inter alia, a woman very secure in her autonomy.