Ashley Judd Nails It

Although she didn’t mention pornography in her essay for the Daily Beast, Ashley Judd described a world in which pornography has warped our understanding of beauty.

It has also warped our understanding of ourselves — both men and women.

If you missed it, speculation was rampant and the criticism was vicious when Judd made the rounds to promote her new television series and was “puffy” in the face.

All sorts of damaging things were said about her appearance. No wonder women feel the way they do in our culture.

The pressure to be flawlessly beautiful is insane, immoral and unjust.

Articulately and insightfully, Judd takes our culture to task:

The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted.

The connection between pornography and what Judd is talking about can only be missed by someone who deliberately looks away from the effects of porn on our conception of beauty.

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.

The world of pornography has given us a culture in which the “disassembling” of a woman’s appearance is the norm. It is, as Judd says, Patriarchy.  But it is also Pornography.  She mentions that it is “never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.”

Indeed. And that is what happens in pornography. Women lie to themselves and us while they engage in this disassembling.

Pornography is the reduction of humans to body parts which are packaged and sold for consumption.

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