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Ashley Judd Addresses Puffy Face Talk With Op-Ed Piece

Ashley Judd Addresses Puffy Face Talk With Op-Ed Piece

Ashley Judd has taken a stand against the recent comments made about her “puffy face” and has written an op-ed piece, her rep tells

“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, 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,” the 43-year-old actress said in the essay, originally published in the Daily Beast.

“Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? If not in the conversation about me, in parallel ones about women in your sphere? What is the gloating about?” Ashley added.

“A case in point is that this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK about the points Ashley Judd brings up??

Click inside to read Ashley‘s entire piece…

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. The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. 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.

As an actor and woman who, at times, avails herself of the media, I am painfully aware of the conversation about women’s bodies, and it frequently migrates to my own body. I know this, even though my personal practice is to ignore what is written about me. I do not, for example, read interviews I do with news outlets. I hold that it is none of my business what people think of me. I arrived at this belief after first, when I began working as an actor 18 years ago, reading everything. I evolved into selecting only the “good” pieces to read. Over time, I matured into the understanding that good and bad are equally fanciful interpretations. I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside myself. I thus abstain from all media about myself. 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. And casting one’s lot with the public is dangerous and self-destructive, and I value myself too much to do that.

However, the recent speculation and accusations in March feel different, and my colleagues and friends encouraged me to know what was being said. Consequently, 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. The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.

A brief analysis demonstrates that the following “conclusions” were all made on the exact same day, March 20, about the exact same woman (me), looking the exact same way, based on the exact same television appearance. The following examples are real, and come from a variety of (so-called!) legitimate news outlets (such as HuffPo, MSNBC, etc.), tabloid press, and social media:

One: When I am sick for more than a month and on medication (multiple rounds of steroids), the accusation is that because my face looks puffy, I have “clearly had work done,” with otherwise credible reporters with great bravo “identifying” precisely the procedures I allegedly have had done.

Two: When my skin is nearly flawless, and at age 43, I do not yet have visible wrinkles that can be seen on television, I have had “work done,” with media outlets bolstered by consulting with plastic surgeons I have never met who “conclude” what procedures I have “clearly” had. (Notice that this is a “back-handed compliment,” too—I look so good! It simply cannot possibly be real!)

Three: When my 2012 face looks different than it did when I filmed Double Jeopardy in 1998, I am accused of having “messed up” my face (polite language here, the F word is being used more often), with a passionate lament that “Ashley has lost her familiar beauty audiences loved her for.”

Four: When I have gained weight, going from my usual size two/four to a six/eight after a lazy six months of not exercising, and that weight gain shows in my face and arms, I am a “cow” and a “pig” and I “better watch out” because my husband “is looking for his second wife.” (Did you catch how this one engenders competition and fear between women? How it also suggests that my husband values me based only on my physical appearance? Classic sexism. We won’t even address how extraordinary it is that a size eight would be heckled as “fat.”)

Five: In perhaps the coup de grace, when I am acting in a dramatic scene in Missing—the plot stating I am emotionally distressed and have been awake and on the run for days—viewers remarks ranged from “What the f–k did she do to her face?” to cautionary gloating, “Ladies, look at the work!” Footage from “Missing” obviously dates prior to March, and the remarks about how I look while playing a character powerfully illustrate the contagious and vicious nature of the conversation. The accusations and lies, introduced to the public, now apply to me as a woman across space and time; to me as any woman and to me as every woman.

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.

A case in point is that this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact. (That they are professional friends of mine, and know my character and values, is an additional betrayal.)

News outlets with whom I do serious work, such as publishing op-eds about preventing HIV, empowering poor youth worldwide, and conflict mineral mining in Democratic Republic of Congo, all ran this “story” without checking with my office first for verification, or offering me the dignity of the opportunity to comment. It’s an indictment of them that they would even consider the content printable, and that they, too, without using time-honored journalistic standards, would perpetuate with un-edifying delight such blatantly gendered, ageist, and mean-spirited content.

I hope the sharing of my thoughts can generate a new conversation: Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? If not in the conversation about me, in parallel ones about women in your sphere? 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? How can we as individuals in our private lives make adjustments that support us in shedding unconscious actions, internalized beliefs, and fears about our worthiness, that perpetuate such meanness? What can we do as families, as groups of friends? Is what girls and women can do different from what boys and men can do? What does this have to do with how women are treated in the workplace?

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. The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others—and in my case, to the actual public. (I am also aware that inevitably some will comment that because I am a creative person, I have abdicated my right to a distinction between my public and private selves, an additional, albeit related, track of highly distorted thinking that will have to be addressed at another time).

If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start. Who makes the fantastic leap from being sick, or gaining some weight over the winter, to a conclusion of plastic surgery? Our culture, that’s who. The insanity has to stop, because as focused on me as it appears to have been, it is about all girls and women. In fact, it’s about boys and men, too, who are equally objectified and ridiculed, according to heteronormative definitions of masculinity that deny the full and dynamic range of their personhood. 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. Join in—and help change—the Conversation.

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47 Responses to “Ashley Judd Addresses Puffy Face Talk With Op-Ed Piece”

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  1. 1
    ColinG Says:

    Why is she so offended, her face is puffy!

  2. 2
    hahah Says:

    Amen Sister! her point is so what if it was puffy!! it then moved to “she has had plastic surgery” it’s insane.

  3. 3
    Ghost Says:

    She’s an idiot !!!

  4. 4
    ha ha Says:

    I can’t imagine either why anyone would speculate that a celeb just got plastic surgery?

    Yea, right…………..

    No need for a novel, Ashley

  5. 5
    Gossipgirl Says:

    I like Ashley. However, she is misdirecting her wrath. Hollywood is responsible for this image of women; the same Hollywood that is staunchly liberal. Hollywood objectifies women, over sexualities women and makes it impossible for a woman in the business to age gracefully. She needs to take this up with the President at his next Hollywood fundraiser, which is coming up soon. There is just too much lip service about women’s right. Why was Hillary not nominated? Because at the end of the day, the establishment still preferred a man to a woman. Think about it…..

  6. 6
    okay Says:

    When I was working on my dissertation my faculty advisor told me over and over to subscribe to the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid) that folks that use big azz words are not trying to convince you of their position moreso trying to flash what a smarty pants they are……..this has nothing to do with tearing down women Ashley, it has everything to do with your excess, no one is going to read all that crap

  7. 7
    kami Says:

    “promulgated”??? really? to summarize, she’s pissed off cause ppl noticed she got a face lift. duh!!!!

  8. 8
    hello Says:

    This is a case of plastic surgeons, doctors, and other beauty professionals not telling of the side effects of new treatments. Yeah, they may look glowing and amazing for a while(jen aniston) from their new facials, and poof, the face goes puffy(this judd puff), double chins appear(lindsay lohan) and woohoo soon we can see everybody who did a new treatment go puff in a year or so. Lets just hope the things these ladies get pumped into their faces in small doses does not do a more horrible lasting effect than all that new puffy we see around.
    Get the truth. Dont do new treatments. Botox and all other newer stuff are actually relatively untried and long term side effects yet to be seen. But the puffy faces are already here, obviously.

  9. 9
    Lena Says:

    I think she could have wrapped all that up in a couple of sentences but I do get her point. It’s ridiculous for people to nit pick at her or anyone else’s appearance like that. People aren’t robots they’ll change or go through things. So what if her face is a little puffy she’s still cute as a button and still making money off of it. She should have just told them to shove it and worry about what what’s looking back at ‘them’ in the mirror.

  10. 10
    Ava Says:

    She could’ve just said, “I didn’t get botox” or “i’m old, it’s part of aging… oh yeah, do you remember that I studied at an Ivy-league school?”

  11. 11
    Elle Says:

    I love Ashley and don’t think her face is all that puffy.
    Lindsay Lohan on the other hand… now THAT is a puffer face!

  12. 12
    shove it Ashley Judd Says:

    Does this bich not remember calling Winona fat, always on her case about being overweight. Ashley is mentally disturbed on top of being a liar.

  13. 13
    Missy Says:

    Her point is valid. She’ s right in that talk about women is externalized and objectified, which reduces women’s personhood. It’s a sad fact that women have to deal with everywhere. However, it’s nowhere as apparent as in Hollywood, where every little detail about a woman’s look is dissected.

  14. 14
    Dora Says:

    You are in show business, it’s about how you look. Don’t balloon and expect to not to catch heat. No one wants to see big people on screen!

  15. 15
    B Warden Says:

    “That the conversation about my face was initially promulgated largely by women is a sad and disturbing fact.”

    And completely undermines the charge of misogyny.

  16. 16
    The Real Emma Says:

    People are getting sick and tired of seeing actresses jack up there faces.

  17. 17
    Catherine Anderson Says:

    Thank you, Ms. Judd. Your article is thoughtfully written. That you are willing to cite your own experiences as examples lends insight and credibility. I was struck by your observation that patriarchy requires the participation of both genders. Your point reinforces my own belief that as women, we are responsible for how we participate, support, or otherwise enable the objectification of females.

    I have respected your past work as an actor, and admired your choice in roles, particularly in protraying people who are strong and determined … and who happen to be female.

  18. 18
    From Paris with Love Says:

    What a sudden opportunistic feminist. Didn’t complain about Hollywood and society when her very same beauty, slimness and youth provided her movie roles, did she? That’s quite easy to hate the game once you’re no longer a coveted player.
    It sucks but it is what it is and maybe she would serve her cause better if she showed the world she doesn’t give a crap what people think about her looks instead of writing a huge essay about it. There will always be Judy Denches and Demi Moores anyway…

  19. 19

  20. 20
    Str84NOH8 Says:

    Gotta love the catty comments to her piece about toxic negativity and judgment. Way to miss the freakin’ point! I’ve come to the conclusion that at least one of the circles of hell is made up of online comments sections. Sheesh.

  21. 21
    Kate Says:

    Most comments miss the point. She is stating that instead of viewing her as a whole person, full of successes and failures, we tend to scrutinize the minutiae. For example, if a woman has no visible wrinkles she must have had work done. The point she is trying to make is, SO WHAT!! We are not just wrinkles and puffy faces – we are women who have achieved much both personally and professionally and still we are visually dissected and are told that we should feel bad about ourselves if people don’t think we are attractive. This is, of course, nonsense and educated women like Ashley know that but they are still picked apart for every tiny little flaw – as illustrated by many of the comments here. For example, Kathy Bates is a stunning actress – I love watching her act and I don’t care that she is not a size 0. Both of these women are far more talented and far more watchable on screen than most of the size 0 dimwits posing through scenes that are written to appeal to the people who think it’s vitally important to post comments that Ashley Judd is puffy.

    We have come a long way baby, but not far enough. More power to you Ms. Judd.

  22. 22
    OK. Says:

    stop reading your own gossip, idiot.

  23. 23
    M Says:

    So she didn’t do anything to her face? I don’t care if a woman has gained weight or whatever, but it looks like she got a face lift or something. Nothing else.

  24. 24
    Polly Says:

    Ashley, if you make your living in the public eye, don’t be surprised if they hold you up to scrutiny. You had work done. It showed. Get over yourself already.

  25. 25
    Dave Franco Says:

    This article was not written by Ashley, it was written by the gossip kings to start up **** no one cares.

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