In an article which appeared this week in the Daily Beast, an online-only subsidiary of Newsweek, actress and philanthropist Ashley Judd responded forcefully to speculation that she had gotten plastic surgery. According to Judd, the steroids prescribed to combat a recent illness in March caused her face to look a little puffy, and tabloids and ragsheets in the US and Great Britain quickly pounced on her appearance, saying she looked terrible and commenting that she must have "had work done." Even the Huffington Post jeered that her "pillow-face" looked "blotchy, red, and plump" in a video hosted by a thin, primped, decidedly non-blotchy young lady. While such celebrity reporting is common fare for many magazines and television programs, Judd's articulate written response is refreshing, angry, and admittedly unusual.
Showing enough courage to own the F-word, Feminism, in her rebuttal Judd indicts what she calls the partiarchal assault on women's bodies that takes place in the media. She breaks down the assumptions that underlie the comments made about her appearance and how they are tied to skewed conceptions of female value in society. She explains pointedly that "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." She concludes the article in an uplifting and activist manner, calling for media makers and consumers to "Join in—and help change—the Conversation."
What do my classmates think about an actress calling out the press for being overly critical of her appearance? Would it change the Conversation, as Judd terms it, between media makers and consumers if both expressed disgust with the current media climate as it relates to objectifying women? Or is the power of cosmetics/dieting/gym membership advertising too strong?