Ashley Judd’s ‘puffy face’ challenges patriarchal media, and their physical objectifications

In a way, the controversies surrounding Ashley Judd’s puffy face has done immense good. Not only have our media exposed themselves as sexist scavengers that perpetuate fascist beauty standards in evaluating women’s worth in our society, but this so-called news update has allowed for an emergence of a much needed dialogue on a much undermined feminist issue. And who better than Ashley Judd herself to confront the pernicious impacts of yellow journalism that comprise mass media selling points today? Judd raises several critical questions that inform such innocent curiosities of bystanders on puffy faces. Such insulated have we become within ourselves against attacks on our collective human intelligence that we have ended up evaluating each other based on how we measure up against a strict yardstick of beauty that generates advertising money. Such depraved are we today as never before in terms of recognizing our unique selves that we crave to adulate a physical form that requires validation from outside before it can appeal to our inner selves.

Through her powerful, evocative and emancipatory writing in true feministic traditions, Ashley Judd also reminds us of our vulnerabilities of constantly being judged while we accept the assaults silently. If it requires courage, conviction and a public platform for a celebrity of her stature to register a protest, how ridiculously difficult it must be for young children and teenagers today who are constantly subjected to reminders of their less than ideal body image?

Judd compels us to interrogate our shoddy privileges when we denigrate the less ideal bodies and how it becomes more pathetic as women are asked to “better watch out” in fear of the philandering husband. She forces us to reexamine traditional components of patriarchal setups that conveniently blame the men exclusively and she reminds how grim the situation really is today when most women are falling for the sexist spells. That, she was first criticized by women for her looks is no mere coincidence. In fact, like gullible and willful agents of patriarchy – a system mirrored after dominant male perspectives – women unquestioningly look upto and emulate the male priorities and adapt to them as their own. Especially in the entertainment industry, where the male producers amass the wealth, it is the female performers that feel emancipated through approved looks. Ashley Judd minces no words, makes her personal political, and reflects upon her career of approvals that has received significant jolts along the way whenever she has failed to satisfy the conditions fulfilling beauty criterion.

She writes, “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…..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.”

Entire article can be found on The Daily Beast.