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Ashley Judd Addresses ‘Puff-maggedon’ Apocalypse

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. [..] 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… – Ashley Judd, The Daily Beast

Huffington Post and MSNBC called out yet again over their coverage of a woman, this time by the raging fabulousness of the grrrl herself.

Imagine my delight.

It reminded me of a recent Candace Bergen interview with New York Magazine on her Broadway breakthrough after a secret stroke she’d kept to herself.

Rounder of face, grayer and wispier of hair, Bergen tells me that in the fall of 2006, she had a minor stroke. She denied it at the time and is reluctant to admit it today, because “I just don’t want it to be a liability.” She says she missed only two weeks of shooting on Boston Legal, the one-hour comedy on which she had a major role opposite John Larroquette (her candidate husband in The Best Man). Still, years later, “my memory is just–” she pauses. “It’s not quite the same.” Just five months ago, she says, she broke her pelvis while on a bike ride. “Wow,” she remembers thinking, “now I can fall and I’ll break.”

Women have two choices when facing middle age: working out with weights, changing your entire lifestyle, and debating the pain and agony of sculpting a tighter you. I don’t begrudge anyone the goal of Cher, nor if a woman opts otherwise, I’m just grateful we have a choice. My mother did not.

In an article recently reported for ABC, other stars came forward on private journeys they kept hidden.

Earlier this month, Kathy Bates told Anderson Cooper that she kept her ovarian cancer diagnosis a secret because she was contracted to do a movie at the time. “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara told Health magazine that she hid her 2000 thyroid cancer diagnosis because “you don’t want to deal with anything else while you’re going through it.”

What Ashley Judd is talking about today is something she felt compelled to answer in the media, because she was un-well and the coverage was cruel.

…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.

Read her whole piece. If you’re a woman you’ll get it. If you’re a man you’ll be educated. If you’re in the media you’ll be oblivious.

It brings to mind private conversations people have begun with me about Hillary Rodham Clinton. About her long hair today. Common comments from people who know her is “She just doesn’t give a shit anymore.” She’s “tired.” The different look of candidate Clinton and Secy. Clinton is real. Bet that she knows it. But what of it?

After 45 women are faced with challenges that catapult exponentially. Traversing the mine fields in public has got to be a bear. Talking about them changes your image.

One of the first people to dare to shatter the taboo of talking about the thunder road journey of aging (thank you Bruce Springsteen for that apt description) was Suzanne Somers. She was reduced to a punch line in “Sex and the City 2,” but the message was serious.

Ashley Judd and women who talk about their public lives and the cruel misogynistic system that dissects women in a living autopsy have cracked a code and laid a path so the value of women isn’t just beauty of youth.

It’s also a choice to fight the ravages of age and fat and bone strength and fitness and elasticity and athleticism and health. But it’s a bitch. A never ending, relentlessly hungry, voraciously devouring journey that begins with chucking everything and starting from scratch, without the comfort food that’s killing you. Doing with less along the way and feeling fabulous and free, while vulnerable to physical reality.

Feminism grew up a little bit today. But considering most of America fights the word itself, it won’t change a thing.

But Judd did just gavel The Club to order. There’s more of us in it every day.

“Puff-maggeddon” via Jezebel (where else?).

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4 Responses to Ashley Judd Addresses ‘Puff-maggedon’ Apocalypse

  1. Jane Austen April 10, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Thank you for continuing your writing on the “war on women.” I don’t know what is going on in the 21st century with the attitudes towards women. I feel somehow we have regressed to the beginning of the 2oth century without any of the gains made in the latter half ever having been made. I’m a happy old broad, content with my image (nothing to fix in the 8th decade of my life and I’m happy with the way I look). My life is not counted in how beautiful or sexy I was, am or will be but in what I accomplished in my life. And I have much to be proud of both as a woman and a human being. Keep sticking it to them, Taylor. And for all you women out there, don’t let them marginalize you. You have talents, skills and creativity that is larger than the universe. Use it!!!

    • Taylor Marsh April 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      You’re f-ing fantastic, JA. Thanks.

  2. Ramsgate April 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Great post Taylor, and while I’m at it, Thanks for keeping your eye on the Trayvon Martin killing.

  3. ladywalker68 April 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Another spot on post. Ashley ROCKS

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong