Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Ashley Judd… on patriarchy April 10, 2012

Filed under: appearance,beauty,body,gender stereotypes,health — Jender @ 6:26 am

Apparently Judd’s “puffy” face has been a major news story.

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.

 …

I ask especially how we can leverage strong female-to-female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women. It doesn’t actually matter if we are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. We experience brutal criticism. The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others—and in my case, to the actual public. (I am also aware that inevitably some will comment that because I am a creative person, I have abdicated my right to a distinction between my public and private selves, an additional, albeit related, track of highly distorted thinking that will have to be addressed at another time).

If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start. Who makes the fantastic leap from being sick, or gaining some weight over the winter, to a conclusion of plastic surgery? Our culture, that’s who. The insanity has to stop, because as focused on me as it appears to have been, it is about all 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. It affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings. Join in—and help change—the Conversation.

 From here.  (Thanks, T!)
 

12 Responses to “Ashley Judd… on patriarchy”

  1. anon grad Says:

    Off topic, but pop culture relevant. Did anyone else see the lone footnote on the “what is philosophy?” column at Brain Pickings, and did anyone else find it as offensive as I did? http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/04/09/what-is-philosophy/

  2. justanotherfemalephilosopher Says:

    “The complete selection of answers in Philosophy Bites features 44 male philosophers and 8 female ones — it seems, sadly, many women took, and perhaps continue to take, the words of that token old-order ‘eminent philosopher’ at face value.”

    Not sure if this is blaming women for not responding or blaming the situation that women find themselves in that leads them not to respond.

  3. anon Says:

    What a response by Ashley Judd.

    anon grad; or anyone else,

    Who is the “token old-order ‘eminent philosopher'” and what did he (?-I assume) say?
    And can someone begin to explain what that footnote is saying?

  4. anon grad Says:

    The footnote is in response to a portion of Donna Dickenson’s quote on what philosophy is. “Philosophy is what I was told as an undergraduate women couldn’t do* — by an eminent philosopher who had best remain nameless.”

    I took the footnote to be blaming women (or their errant beliefs in their own lack of abilities) for the low numbers of women represented in the volume under discussion/philosophy in general. At least in the limited case of the book from which the philosophy quotes in the column are drawn it seems that the editors are to blame for the underrepresentation of women. Surely with a little effort they could have found more than 4 female philosophers willing to contribute.

  5. ajkreider Says:

    Judd’s comment evokes a couple of reactions:

    1) She is obviously very smart, and has given this topic a lot of thought – not your typical Hollywood fare. She’s also a pretty good writer.

    2) Much of what she says can be agreed with without hesitation, but I call a little bit of B.S. – I was one of those people who while channel surfing in front of the TV with the missus commented, “Wow, she looks like crap.” Of course, she didn’t look especially unattractive. She did look somewhat unattractive relative to what Ashely Judd has looked like in the past. There was a time when most heterosexual (and probably most gay) men would have called her, not just beautiful, but stunningly so.

    The B.S. is that Judd’s success has been due in large part, if not mostly, to her perceived beauty. She isn’t a bad actor but probably wouldn’t be at the pointy end of anyone’s greatest actor lists. The reactions of others to female beauty seems to be an issue for her, now, because she isn’t perceived as being in the “most beautiful” category. She’s kinda like everyone else, and that obviously pisses her off.

    Would have been nice to have her write with this much clarity and vigor 15 years ago.

  6. ajkreider, you say, “Judd’s success has been due in large part, if not mostly, to her perceived beauty”, which may be true except that she can act (many beautiful women cannot) and she is intelligent (ditto prior parenthetical comment). So it’s hard to understand what part of her essay is B.S. Is she not free to express disillusionment that women and men alike treat her as a nice body with a pretty face, not a professional? Is the fact that she is not a legendary actor an excuse to do so?

  7. ajkreider Says:

    Teresa Goodell:

    You’re right of course that many beautiful people (men and women alike) can’t act. But this was the reason for the qualifier “in large part, if not mostly”. For, it’s just as true that most people who can act, don’t rise to the level of superstardom/millionaire status. Is it really any surprise that she has? You are also correct that she is free to express her disillusionment. What I do find a bit rich is that she is here bemoaning (perhaps correctly) that our society so values women. Yet it is the very same valuing that raised her to the levels she achieved. She’s a bit late to the party, is all. Though I suppose late is better than nothing. The “What, I was valued at least in part for my looks!?”, if sincere, hints at more than a little willful ignorance on her part.

  8. Kathryn Says:

    I don’t know why she couldn’t be aware of that and still be sincere. I’m sure many beautiful women are aware of how their looks have influenced their outcome– I’m not sure why they couldn’t be irritated about that, or why they shouldn’t be.

  9. I share Kathryn’s views in comment #8. By the way, I recently watched again two of my favorite films featuring Ashley Judd: William Friedkin’s 2006 film “Bug” (adapted from Tracy Letts’ stage play) and Sandra Nettelbeck’s 2009 film “Helen”. Although the critics do not agree, here we arguably have two of Judd’s best pieces of film work and they have absolutely nothing to do with beauty, glamour, and/or related matters (generally or in Judd’s case particularly). “Bug” is brilliant in many ways, though very hard appropriately to categorize. “Helen” is obviously a more important and meaningful film (about important and meaningful facets of life and common lives). Although both films contain forms of sexism present in so much cinema, they still contain much cinematic value of numerous kinds. — David Slutsky

  10. [...] 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. – Ashley Judd http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/ashley-judd-on-patriarchy/ [...]

  11. [...] 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. – Ashley Judd http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/ashley-judd-on-patriarchy/ [...]

  12. How Kentucky Democrats Duped the MSM and Helped Elbow Out Ashley Judd

    Judd adviser Jonathan Miller on the small coterie of state Democrats who duped the national press and helped nudge her out of the Senate race.


    Secret Tape: McConnell and Aides Weighed Using Judd’s Mental Health and Religion as Political Ammo

    A recording of a private meeting between the Senate GOP leader and campaign aides reveals how far they were willing to go to defeat the actor/activist.

    Keep scrolling all the way down not to miss significant portions of this Morther Jones story/article


    In [partial] response, Judd wrote, “This is yet another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody Mitch McConnell and are pervasive in Washington, D.C. We expected nothing less from Mitch McConnell and his camp than to take a personal struggle such as depression, which many Americans cope with on a daily basis and turn it into a laughing matter.”


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