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Thanks to Ashley Judd!

People Ashley Judd

Misogyny is the distrust and hatred of women. Ashley Judd recently posted an op-ed piece on The Daily Beast about the use of misogyny in the media, and how we as women internalize these misogynistic messages and replay them to ourselves in the way that we think about and relate to our own bodies.

Women’s bodies are talked about nearly everywhere you go. Our shapes and faces are picked apart and analyzed publicly and privately. It’s as if our only importance in life is our appearance: how thin we are, if our hair is acceptable, if we are considered sexy by the opposite sex. If we do not obtain an acceptable “score” so to speak, then we are somehow less human. Of course we know in our minds that this is ludicrous, but often we still judge one another and ourselves according to this ideal beauty standard. I know I do this. I might see someone walking down the street or while watching a movie and begin judging myself in comparison to them, or judge them in comparison to someone else. As we look at ourselves in the mirror, many of us begin to dissect our bodies–honing in on our many perceived imperfections. We might even berate ourselves with hateful judgement on how we don’t measure up, and we wish we could change our flared nostrils, thick hips or so on. Again this is internalized misogyny at work. We receive messages on a daily basis telling us the same thing:  that we don’t measure up and if only we had smooth silky skin, perfect shiny hair and a chiseled face maybe then we will have achieved something and be worth paying attention to. Here is an excerpt from the article Ashley Judd wrote on her recent experience in the media. 

“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.’

I think it is so important for us as women (especially those in the public eye) to start speaking out about this matter. Women and girls are so much more than our appearance, bra size and/or pant size. We have important ideas about how to make the world a better place. We are smart, strong, athletic, good with numbers and yes we are beautiful along with all of that, but we don’t need one else’s opinion to confirm these facts. We as women must support and appreciate one another instead of competing and comparing ourselves to one another in jealousy. Who knows what we might accomplish if we spend our energy, time and resources on improving educating our minds and the world arround us rather than being at war with our bodies?  It’s time the media stopped enforcing the idea that there is one ideal form of beauty and that our self worth depends on how we measure up to that ideal form of beauty. That in and of itself is abusive to the self esteem of women and girls as a whole.

Check out our video on photoshop on our video page to see an example of how women are often encouraged to view their bodies. You can read Ashley Judd’s full article here.


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