Tired of rumours and speculation about her slightly “puffy” face, Ashley Judd has fought back with a scathing essay on the “incessant objectification” of women in the media and how women themselves are active participants in what amounts to constant abuse.
You can read her essay here.
Jezebel’s post about the essay has led to some intense discussion in the comments about whether posting comparison pictures like this one below incite the very problem it’s trying to point out:
Here are some excerpts from the conversation:
The difference is subtle, but to me, all I saw was, “Oh, Ashley Judd is getting older. Still looks good. Moving on.”
I think this thread proves my point – look at all these comments discussing whether people think she’s puffy or not, whether they thought it was because she was ill or just older, whether they think she still “looks beautiful”. The point is – WHY are we even talking about her face? At all.
Look, I agree that those are more worthy topic, but the conversation about her face has already started, she’s even gotten in on it now, too, so why not talk about it? I mean, it makes no sense to pretend we don’t talk about people’s faces, so why on earth not just admit we do, and talk about why we do, instead of acting as if it should be some taboo subject?
It’s hard to deny that media play a huge role in how we choose to value women. For example, here’s a recent 2-page spread from the most recent Tribute Magazine – a free movie magazine available in theaters. While the men are mainly noted for their careers, the women are mainly recognized for what they’re wearing with less emphasis on their accomplishments.
Download the magazine as a PDF from the Tribute archives here
Is it just human nature to judge people by their appearances? Should celebrities expect to be judged on their looks? Or are we so in the habit of judging women by their appearance that we can’t turn it off even if we want to?