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Ashley Judd rips media, public for 'nasty' assaults on body image

April 10, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • Ashley Judd, with husband Dario Franchitti, watches the NCAA Tournament finals between Kentucky and Kansas at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Ashley Judd, with husband Dario Franchitti, watches the NCAA Tournament… (Mark Cornelison, Lexington…)

Let's start by looking at the picture of Ashley Judd, above, and note that many in the media (and the public) have been speculating of late about how she's losing her looks as she ages. As if.

The media (and the public) went into overdrive recently, speculating over one of Judd's recent appearances in which she appeared "puffy faced." She ruined her face with plastic surgery, or Botox, or something similar, the online world crowed.

Now normally, Judd would have ignored all of this. She says she has long since stopped reading about herself in the media -- even the flattering stuff. But then she was called a  "cow" and a "pig" and warned that she "better watch out" because her husband "is looking for a second wife." And when the meanness started coming from professional colleagues, she decided she needed to address that which could no longer be ignored. 

Judd penned an elegant, impassioned and meticulously crafted article this week for the Daily Beast that bashed the media (and the public) for sexist and ageist attacks that try to belittle women and equate their worth with their looks.

“I choose to address it because the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle,” she wrote.

The assault on Judd comes at a time when it has been seemingly declared open season on women's body size. Songbird Adele has been criticized for her full figure. The woman of the hour -- Jennifer Lawrence, the star of the mega hit "Hunger Games" -- finds herself defending her womanly curves. And Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model Kate Upton has been called too big and told she'd never warrant a spot on the Victoria's Secret runway.

The worst offenders, suggested Judd, are women themselves.

"That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient," the Harvard-educated Judd wrote in the piece, which has been skyrocketing around the Internet, making her name one of the most searched for terms on Google on Tuesday.

These body image attacks, Judd continued, are "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.... are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women."

Judd, 43, says the puffy face was the result of a persistent sinus infection that required several rounds of steroids, which in turn led to the bloated appearance.

When she's not starring in films or TV shows -- like her new ABC drama "Missing" -- Judd is active in humanitarian and philanthropic works and travels the globe fighting poverty, illness and AIDS.

Perhaps we should be focusing on Judd's face -- as the new face of feminism.

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