While some women — celebrities and otherwise — may not be able to find the right words to fight back against mean-spirited comments about their appearance, when Ashley Judd was hit with remarks that attacked her "puffy" face and weight gain, she had a great response. During the last month or so, Ashley has been in the public eye for her swollen-looking face that some have concluded must mean she's getting plastic surgery done. But the sad reality is it's really a side effect from the steroid medications she's been taking for illness. Ashley Judd wrote a piece on The Daily Beast that took the rebuttal to a whole new, feminist — and empowered — level. In the smart essay, she takes on the naysayers by pointing out how our culture's obsession with women's outer looks are a misogynistic attack on our sex. Here are some of our favorite points:
- For women, it's all about the outward appearance: "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."
- Sexism against women comes from both sexes: "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."
- Striving for beauty is a lose-lose situation: "I ask especially how we can leverage strong female-to-female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women. It doesn't actually matter if we are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. We experience brutal criticism. "
- This constant critique of women's appearance affects more than we realize: "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."