Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rule 5 Saturday - Ashley Judd - She'll Puff and She'll Huff

So Ashley Judd thinks people are being unkind to her; noticing that at age 43, her face isn't quite as thin and lean as they were when she started in films 18 years earlier (I'll bet her butt isn't either, but then, I have a little more experience with this aging thing):
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....
Sounds like a lot of words to say she's sticking her fingers in her ears and saying "La, la, la," over and over, but, hey, if it helps her sleep at night, great.  I never even noticed her face was fat puffy, and I even occasionally watch her new show "Missing".
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.
 Now, as near as I can tell, Ashley made her career by taking off her clothes for the camera (not to mention the obligatory faux lesbian girls kissing scenes , so I don't really appreciate lectures about the " assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality" from her.   But, really, I don't usually care that much what Hollywood people think, because they have such a lousy track record at it, but then, she went and blamed me...
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.

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.
OK, this is BS.  No normal man noticed your puffy face (we're much too busy hoping you'll step out of your clothes, which you seem to do with some regularity).  But for a real flaming, let me turn it over to Ace:
Ashley Judd's face is puffy.

Did you know that? I did not. This is an important point. I did not know her face was puffy, and if you are a straight man, I'm betting you did not either.

As a member of The Patriarchy in good standing, I did not know this. I did not know about her puffy face. Even if I had known about her puffy face, I would not have remarked on it, as Ashley Judd is not relevant enough for a guy to discuss.

But she is relevant enough for the gossip blogs to discuss.

And who writes and reads the gossip blogs? Pardon me for indulging in stereotype, but it's not "The Patriarchy." It is women and gay men, well-nigh exclusively.

Really Ace, you're a member of the patriarchy?  Damn, I thought I knew all of us...
Anyway, this is a bit of a tangent, but I note it to reinforce my point: Straight men do not read this crap and further are actively hostile to it. Even if "Napoleon Cellulite" does add so much lovely snark to an article on Beach Body Bombs culled from The Globe.

And right now, I guess, they're talking about the Mystery of the Puffy Face.

And the point is that this is not really a trait of "The Patriarchy." Men do this, yes, but not as much. We don't need to seek out the Girl Bullying-Session Playground in our adult lives. Oh sure we'll do it on occasion, but we don't really seek it out.

So that's my thought on the curious need for otherwise smart, mature, cultured women to seek out material that seems to me to be absolutely trivial dreck and cruelty for the sake of cruelty alone.

Adult men have told me they like this site because they get to do something here they don't do much since they were 8th graders: Riff on the same joke, over and over, varying it, pushing it, morphing it. And that's fun as hell. I miss that 8th grade pleasure, the riff that goes on until it stops being funny (and then starts being funny again), and so I am glad that I have an outlet, as an adult, to indulge in this pleasure.

So it's my guess that women are attracted to the gossip blogs for similar reason. You're not supposed to indulge in pointless cruelty as an adult; do it too often in your actual life and you'll probably find your social options declining.
I often think that human psychology is pretty simple, if you understand that we're all selfish, immature, position-seeking little animals like we were in 7th grade, just with superstructures of maturity and sophistication tacked on in somewhat rickety fashion. But, look past the superstructure, and the basic engine and hull are the same as they were when we were Little Monsters.

So I'm not really bashing women. I get why this happens. People are people, and there's no changing that.

But I repeat my point: This is a Girl thing, which a lot of gay men join in on.
If women want less of the catty gossip game, they need to look within themselves -- is there some more socially-positive manner by which the primal, pre-pubescent urge to assert social dominance can be satisfied? Like something competitive, but not cruelly so -- I don't know, like a nice game of Bridge? ..

Seriously? I can't imagine the last time I thought about Ashley Judd, nevermind the last time I had The Conversation about her face or body or whatever.

Little secret: Men don't have The Conversation about most women. They have The Conversation about women they specifically think are hot or near-hot. They argue about who is hot and who is not hot.

But the point is, you sort of have to be in the mix of People Who Might Arguably Be Hot to have The Conversation centered around you.

They don't have The Conversation about fading actresses, you know.

Straight men have never discussed Oprah's weight fluctuations. Because she was never hot.

Ditto Carnie Wilson. Guys do not talk about Carnie Wilson. Women do.

Christina Aguilera? Maybe. She was hot once. Maybe getting there again.

I know this is a cruel thing, but men's cruelty really consists of saying nothing at all, doesn't it?

It's really a woman thing to knock the looks of someone who isn't really a stand-out in the first place.

I'm not trying to say Men Are Better. I'm trying to say Men Are Different, and we are not sitting here worrying about Ashley Judd's puffy face.

Now, if Megan Fox got bad plastic surgery, we'd notice, and say something.

Ashley Judd?

Sorry, that's a woman thing.

Ted has got this one linked at "Weekend Women #42 Teri Hatcher". William Teach has this in his Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup at Before It's News and at Pirate's Cove. Wombat-Socho at "The Other McCain included this in two weeks worth of Rule 5 links "Master of Puppets." At last, along comes the Classical Liberal with his Rule 5 compilation, "You're a Lie."


  1. I'd tap that ass...

  2. I'd sniff Ashley Judds rotten egg farts from her ass...