I found this article by Ashley Judd, on The Daily Beast, to be pretty fascinating. The way the media and the Internet have responded to Ashley’s appearance is both numbing and sickening, in so many ways. I think it is worth a look, a read of her words, and hopefully lots of conversation. The woman-hating, woman-baiting of some of the comments (and surreptitious similarity even in those intending to be even-handed) is cause for alarm. Essentially, before you click over on the link to read her words, since Ashley is now on weekly TV in a series people are enjoying and responding to favorably, there has been lots of speculation, even among media channels, about the shape of her face and the shape of her body, whether they are evidence of surgery, and whether they point to the end of her career/marriage/vitality/etc. Who among us, at awards season or flipping channels and coming across TMZ or similar programming, hasn’t thought or said, “Wow–she’s/he’s had work done”? Usually there is a judgement about the quality of the work. When doctors and “experts” go on record as to the procedures she has clearly undertaken, and others rail that she is fat (C’mon–have you seen Ashley Judd? How about listened to or read Ashley Judd? The woman STUNNING in every way, and her beautiful appearance is the least of it–dig around and explore her amazing philanthropy and charitable work, international stand she takes for children, amazing gravitas about global situations, etc), we know there is something seriously wrong in the way we talk about and think about beauty, fame, aging, and size.
The recent rolling back of the tide against women and women’s rights (which are human rights, plain and simple) is so upsetting and outrageous. I just don’t understand the lack of respect for our mothers and daughters, wives and sisters, lovers, friends, and colleagues–it seems like a cultural disease, and we are suffering. Please read Ashley’s article (link again here), and talk about it at the dinner table, around the water cooler, on the way to school or soccer practice, in your community meetings and coffeehouse chats, and online with your extended social network family. It is not OK that we have become sick like this as a society.