Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ashley Judd Op Ed

You may have seen the Op Ed in which Ashley Judd defends her "puffy face" and criticizes the media for their incessant emphasis on the looks of women.  You can read the Ashely Judd's piece on the Daily Beast.

I do think she makes some points worth talking about - how much value do we as a culture put on attractiveness, weight, and sexual desirability?   I would be naive to think that I, as a woman, am not judged on my physical appearance.  That said, I make conscious choices every day to forgo that bowl of ice cream after dinner or drag myself to a grueling workout when I'd rather stay in bed on Saturday morning.  I make those choices, not only for my health, but also because the image I convey to people is important.  And whether it is fair or not, is almost a moot point, we are judged on our superficial physical appearance.

Where I think Ms. Judd misses the mark is by not acknowledging that her physical looks opened doors for her and gave her opportunities that she otherwise would not have had. It seems hypocritical to criticize the very hand that fed you. 

That said, I do appreciate her Op Ed piece and willingness to express herself.  It is fueling an important discussion on body image, women to women criticism, and the role of women in American society.  While I recognize the importance that my physical impression has on people, I have not used my physical appearance to accelerate my life nor do I depend on people's assessment of my looks to measure my self worth.   I measure my own worth and live up to standards that I create for myself.  I know my own limits as well as capabilities. I know when I am trying my hardest, giving my best, and replacing fear, envy, and criticism with love.  I work to do that more and the alternative less.   I respect my body for the vessel that it is and the life it allows me to live and I honor it by taking care of it the best way that I can.   

(image via newsweek)