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A strategy worth repeating? Ashley Judd takes rumors seriously April 29, 2012

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Actress Ashley Judd, the star of the new hit television show Missing, became the subject of internet gossip sites in April 2012 after apparently gaining a little weight in her face. Sites called her appearance “puffy,” while others suggested that she had received a botched plastic surgery. Instead of hiding from the criticism, or simply rejecting the claims about her face, Judd used the opportunity to highlight the hypersexualization of girls and women in American media. In a long, eloquent statement, Judd stated:

“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.”

Judd appeared on multiple television talk shows to discus her comments, and was praised for always making the conversation about the bigger picture rather than herself. As Charlotte Cowles of New York Magazine raved:

“Judd is tapping into the troubling fact that a woman’s appearance (or “puffiness”) is valued much more highly than whether she’s mentally and physically healthy. This problem won’t going away soon, but Judd has done an excellent job of starting an intelligent conversation about it.”

For more on Judd’s moment, see the following clip:

Discussion Questions:

1.  How was Judd’s response to the rumors about her different from the way that most celebrities respond to similar rumors?

2.  Are all celebrities capable of such advocacy, or is Judd somehow special?

3.  What might be the negative backlash of Judd fighting gossip sites for the accusations they make?

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