A few years ago Ashley Judd appeared on Oprah to discuss Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood with her co-stars. She was in rare form. The easiest questions turned into long-winded paragraphs with sprinklings of words she obviously wanted to implement from her Word of the Day calendar. Oprah, who is obviously a brilliant lady in her own right, was working overtime not to let her eyeballs roll back into her head.
Example: Ashley said the experience marrying her racecar driver taught her not to live in fear of the paparazzi. "About three or four weeks out, a bunch of things were in the newspapers and they were all totally correct, and I had this, like, Victorian reaction where I got a fever. My disposition became incredibly tender and faint," she said. "And I thought: 'This is the greatest event of my life, and it's got to be like everything else. I've got to really put my philosophy to the test: Water off a duck and what really matters. You've got to let it go.'"
Crickets.... Why can’t you just say that it was an adjustment dealing with the media?
I think this is the problem Ashley Judd faces. Sometimes her message gets lost.
Ashley has a new show and needs to publicize it. So she went on a television show to discuss it and showed up with an uncharacteristically puffy face. People suggested it was the result of fillers and such. She contends that it was actually the result of steroids for a sinus infection and we should all be ashamed for suggesting otherwise in an essay she posted on The Daily Beast. Read the entire piece here.
The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us…We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart…[M]y personal practice is to ignore what is written about me…The only thing that matters is how I feel about myself, my personal integrity, and my relationship with my Creator. Of course, it’s wonderful to be held in esteem and fond regard by family, friends, and community, but a central part of my spiritual practice is letting go of otheration. ...However, the recent speculation and accusations in March feel different… I choose to address it because the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic…Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? … What is the gloating about? What is the condemnation about? 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?...
Here is the thing. It is part of the conversation because actresses go on national television and get interviewed for magazine articles regularly and talk about their healthful living while rocking plastic surgery scars. We are all programmed to look for Botox bruises because just about everyone in Hollywood lies about it. We are not all evil people; we just get sick of being sold a bag of shitake.
She goes on:
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.
Okay, got it.
But seriously, did you get something in your face?
Because the otheration and the insistence on pivoting to patriarchy is a good message. But perhaps it would be more successful if the messenger weren’t someone who works in Hollywood. Or perhaps if the message begins with some sort of acknowledgment that being an actor in Hollywood right now involves hiring a trainer, nutritionist, stylist, and having a dermatologist on your speed dial. She is part of the ecosystem. So forgive us. Or going on and on about how you are above reading about yourself, but still want people to read or listen to your interview about your latest project. Sort of like actors who say they don’t believe in spending your free time watching television while giving an interview on Good Morning America about their new television series.
Lost in translation.
Kate Casey is a Pop Culture Lover. PR Pro. New mom. Comedy nerd. Celebrity gossip fan. Follow her on Twitter @KateCasey