The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Ashley Judd, Victim of the War on Women

Posted on | April 10, 2012 | 65 Comments

OK, I was ranting about this on Twitter and somebody said I should turn it into a blog post. I protested that this really deserves the Ace of Spades touch, but then I thought, “Oh, what the heck. I’ll give it a shot.”

Ashley Judd, rich and famous star of stage, screen and television, is now 43 years old, and maybe she’s gained a few pounds. So the tabloids and gossip blogs started in on her, saying she was a “cow,” and had “had some work done,” blah blah blah.

I didn’t notice or care. I’m trying to do politics here, not TMZ.

I don’t watch much TV. Except for news, the main thing I watch on TV is Storage Wars on A&E and Man vs. Food on the Travel Network. So as far as I know or care, Ashley Judd could be 300 pounds with a face as hideously overworked as Nancy Pelosi’s and who cares?

Well, Ashley Judd cares, and she wants you to know she’s a victim!

The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us. 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.

(Oh, good Lord — she’s plagiarizing Naomi Wolfe, am I right?)

As an actor and woman who, at times, avails herself of the media, I am painfully aware of the conversation about women’s bodies, and it frequently migrates to my own body. I know this, even though my personal practice is to ignore what is written about me. I do not, for example, read interviews I do with news outlets. I hold that it is none of my business what people think of me. . . .

(Yadda yadda yadda. Not like I’m vain or anything.)

However, the recent speculation and accusations in March feel different, and my colleagues and friends encouraged me to know what was being said. Consequently, 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. . . . .

(Excuse me while I climb up on this cross and suffer as an atoning sacrifice, because you’re in need of a millionaire St. Ashley.)

The following examples are real, and come  from a variety of (so-called!) legitimate news outlets (such as HuffPo,  MSNBC, etc.), tabloid press, and social media . . .

(And here she cites the various things said about her recently. I’ll spare you the tedious details and cut to the Womyn’s Studies lecture.)

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.
A case in point is that this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact.

(Holy crap! If she keeps going this way, she’s gonna be name-checking Shulamith Firestone with footnote citations to Robin Morgan!)

News outlets with whom I do serious work, such as publishing op-eds about preventing HIV, empowering poor youth worldwide, and conflict mineral mining in Democratic Republic of Congo, all ran this “story” without checking with my office first for verification, or offering me the dignity of the opportunity to comment. It’s an indictment of them that they would even consider the content printable, and that they, too, without using time-honored journalistic standards, would perpetuate with un-edifying delight such blatantly gendered, ageist, and mean-spirited content.

OK, enough: You can go read the whole damned preachy treatise for yourself. I’m just stunned that this woman — a movie/TV star, which is by definition a looks-oriented gig — suddenly decides, at age 43, that being judged for her looks is a bad thing.

This didn’t bother her, apparently, when she was cast in 1996 to play a young Marilyn Monroe. But now, 16 years later, it’s bad to judge her for her looks because, well, the tabloids and HuffPo are saying not-nice things about her looks. She’s a multimillionaire star, and she’s also a victim of the misogynistic patriarchy.

Except it’s not really about her, it’s about all girls and women everywhere, on whose behalf she suffers on her cross, St. Ashley of Hollywood.

UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter who reminds us that Ashley “Don’t Objectify Me” Judd, posed topless for the December 2006 cover of Marie Claire magazine. The patriarchy made her do it!

UPDATE II: Linked by Bob Belvedere at the Camp of the Saintsthanks! — and by Dan Collins, who remarks:

The way the system is rigged, women can’t win, which is why Ashley Judd is so unsuccessful, so bereft of the rewards that society unfairly lavishes on men.

Victim of the effin’ patriarchy — and don’t deny it, you oppressors!


65 Responses to “Ashley Judd, Victim of the War on Women”

  1. K-Bob
    April 10th, 2012 @ 2:14 am

    A couple’a three points…

    1) If this argument were made by an “ugly” chick, the derision directed at the author would be even worse.
    2) She’s correct, except women join in the objectifying even more than men do.  You know how it goes: A guy and a chick look at a poster of some hot chick.  The guy says something really incisive and deep, like, “nice cans!”  The chick says, “Oh my God, her rhinoplasty looks awful! And her lace-front wig is showing, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in those shoes.”

    and of course, the all important point #3…
    3)Not this sh*t again!

  2. Adobe_Walls
    April 10th, 2012 @ 2:26 am

    Maybe she should start a blog.
    Wow she’s only 43, time is not her friend, ouch.

  3. Adjoran
    April 10th, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    “plagiarizing Naomi Wolfe” – I had a spit take over it but then . . . she could very well be.

    Judd’s got the jargon down, I’ll give her that.  So when she was in those Gender Studies lectures at Kentucky, she was taking notes and not just daydreaming about all the cheeseburgers and Twinkies she could scarf down once she’d become rich and famous and didn’t need to worry about her figure any longer.

    Them fat gals sure don’t like anyone noticing their weight, do they?

  4. robertstacymccain
    April 10th, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    Remind me of this when National Offend a Feminist Week rolls around next month.

  5. robertstacymccain
    April 10th, 2012 @ 2:36 am

    More to love. It’s all good. Except of course, that she’s now suffering from low self-esteem about it. Because of the damned PATRIARCHY!

  6. robertstacymccain
    April 10th, 2012 @ 2:37 am

    Yes, but … The damned PATRIARCHY!

  7. Fortyniner Dweet
    April 10th, 2012 @ 2:52 am

    She’s right, of course.  It all starts with those diabolical fathers insisting their pre-school age daughters compete nationally for the “Little Miss Sunshine Pageant” title. 

  8. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    April 10th, 2012 @ 3:13 am

    What’s wrong with being a cow?  I say embrace it.  

  9. K-Bob
    April 10th, 2012 @ 3:14 am

    I hope we get to drink pink beer or something.

    Wait, wait! Pitchers of strawberry margaritas.

    No, too red.  Pink grapefruit juice and vodka?

    Not Ace of Spades enough.

    Valu Rite and Pink Hi-C.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  10. Bill C
    April 10th, 2012 @ 5:33 am

    Um, Ashley Judd posting topless:

    The fight against objectification of women goes on!

  11. AnonymousDrivel
    April 10th, 2012 @ 5:37 am

    “Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate.”

    And it was right there where the redefinition of terms, that wildly popular Progressive activity, entered the fray. This War on Women is metastasizing right before our eyes.

    Perhaps it isn’t The Patriarchy as much as it is The Peers who are so contemptible. Notice she’s upset with Hollywood and the MFM? Hey, join the club, missy. Now let’s not conflate “patriarchs” with a**holes.

    “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.”

    I blame Mother Nature for that. She’s the Matriarchy, isn’t She? So now the War on Women includes The Matriarchy, too. I fear only puppies are left as the remaining non-combatants.

  12. elaine
    April 10th, 2012 @ 5:44 am

    She isn’t the first actress over 40 who complains about how unfair society is… she won’t be the last, either.

    Here’s Mira Furlan complaining about the same thing:

    The trouble for Ashley Judd and her actress “sisters” is that they chose a profession which is all about appearance; and now that they’re older, they want the rules to change.

    I bet they weren’t complaining when they were taking roles away from the older actresses they were competing against…  But now that the shoe’s on the other foot, the waterworks begin.

    Well, sorry ladies, it don’t work that way.  If you had something less superficial that you were doing with your life — like say, being a microbiologist — few people would care about what work you may have had done.  But you specifically chose acting… did you think you’d be spared all the catty comments when you got a little age and wear on you?

    See… the rest of us accept that we get older and look it, too.  It’s not that big a deal.  We aren’t busily trying to recapture our youth… 

    So to all the actresses over 40: either accept with grace that we all get older, or put yourselves out of your misery.  Because you’ll never do anything but complain from here on out.

  13. scarymatt
    April 10th, 2012 @ 6:07 am

    Matriarchy, patriarchy…I can tell you, in my family, the men have largely been the breadwinners, etc, but they’re anything but in charge in a Patriarchal way.

    It’s true that male douchebags are douchebags to women that don’t conform to certain styles, but in my experience, they are a lot more accepting (in general) of different styles and body types than women are.

    Either way, it’s probably less society than human nature, which favors older, more successful and powerful males and younger, more fertile women.

  14. Zilla of the Resistance
    April 10th, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    REALLY, Ashley? You have a bad photo op or two and the whole world is out to get you and all the other wimmyns? Gee whiz. Why don’t you go talk to your (far more interesting) sister, walk a mile in HER shoes, and then shut the fuck up.

  15. Bob Belvedere
    April 10th, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    -You got it, Bossman.

    So as far as I know or care, Ashley Judd could be 300 pounds…. – you mean, like her sister?

    -On a more important matter: who are you favorite people on the two versions of Storage Wars?  For me: Barry and Moe.

  16. Ashley Judd Victimized by Absurd Standards of Beauty
    April 10th, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    […] to Daily Beast to vent frustration with the celebrity-media complex. Stacy: OK, enough: You can go read the whole damned preachy treatise for yourself. I’m just stunned […]

  17. Bob Belvedere
    April 10th, 2012 @ 7:52 am

    Bravo, Elaine!  Well said.

    One quibble: As with all serious thespians, Mzzz. Judd is an ‘Actor’, not an ‘Actress’ – mustn’t bring gender into it.

  18. Ashley Judd Gets Snarked | Copious Gasser
    April 10th, 2012 @ 7:53 am

    […] no less than The Other McCain. Yes, you read that right. I was just as surprised as you that The Other McCain would veer off into […]

  19. Wombat_socho
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:25 am

     I would happily buy Wynonna a cheeseburger or three at Wendy’s  – or better yet,  some Hardee’s Monsterburgers. There’s a chain that appreciates women!

  20. Wombat_socho
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:25 am

     Milk that gimmick! Milk it, I say!

  21. Wombat_socho
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:25 am

     Her sister at least has talent to go with her Rubenesque good looks.

  22. ThePaganTemple
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    Rubenesque good looks is a contradiction in terms.

  23. ThePaganTemple
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    Don’t feel bad Ashley, do something to make yourself feel better about yourself. One night of drinking, dancing, and shoplifting and you’ll be good as new.

  24. TWB
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    Hell, I still think the Judd sisters are hot. The mama too.

  25. FenelonSpoke
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    Ashley Judd is over the top, but it probably didn’t deserve your over the top rant either, Stacy. She’s crying about being objectified and your crying about her crying about it.

    Meh. I prefer the political posts.

  26. Bob Belvedere
    April 10th, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    You, sir, lack an appreciation of the female form in all of it’s varieties.   I’m telling Dan Collins on you.

  27. ThePaganTemple
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:19 am

     The point is, she didn’t mind being “objectified” when it worked to her advantage.

  28. gloogle gloogle
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:19 am

     This is the same crap that female news anchors of a “certain age” were spouting a few years back, that they were pushed out in favor of younger and better-looking gals.  Of course, never mind that the older gals were the ones doing the pushing-out when THEY were younger.



  29. gloogle gloogle
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:26 am

     One of the little pleasures in life that I allow myself is ti use the feminine form of nouns whenever possible.

    I especially enjoy those ending in “-trix”, IYKWIMAITYD

  30. robertstacymccain
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    The point is, she didn’t mind being “objectified” when it worked to her advantage.

    Nail on the head, PT. It’s the double standard, the naked hypocrisy, that galls me.

  31. scarymatt
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:37 am


    An interesting choice of words for this topic…

  32. William_Teach
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    For someone who spends so much time being naked in movies, she sure does whine a lot about people objectifying her.

  33. Pablum Puking, Fisking, And A Righteous Rant « The Camp Of The Saints
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    […] a very enjoyable posting, Stacy McCain Fisks a bit of Naomi Wolfe-ish pablum puking by ‘actor’ [did she get a […]

  34. Doug Ross
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    Advice to Ashley: lay off the ballpark nachos and none of this would have been an issue.

  35. Elsie
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:49 am


  36. Proud Member of THE Patriarchy
    April 10th, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    I just looked at the article and, yikes – she’s been chowing on  those nachos, hasn’t she.  

    Looks like she’s also been into the cheek fillers, a la Madonna. 

    No wonder she’s whinging.

  37. ThePaganTemple
    April 10th, 2012 @ 10:12 am


    Maybe to look at, but they tend to sweat profusely when they get horny. Which is fine if you don’t mind a woman that smells like a giant pussy.

  38. Ashley Judd Victimized by Absurd Standards of Beauty — The Viral Marketing System Blog
    April 10th, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    […] Takes to Daily Beast to vent frustration with the celebrity-media complex. Stacy: […]

  39. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    April 10th, 2012 @ 10:23 am


  40. Mockarena
    April 10th, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Please check out my response here –  I think y’all will enjoy it!

  41. Adobe_Walls
    April 10th, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    Then we must recruit the puppies they can’t remain neutral forever.

  42. Ashely Judd Shocked at the Way Left Wing Media Outlets Treat Women | The Lonely Conservative
    April 10th, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    […] at the Way Left Wing Media Outlets Treat WomenApril 10, 2012 By Lonely Conservative No comments yetStacy McCain doesn’t have much sympathy for Ashley Judd who has made a pretty nice living in large part due to her good looks, and is now […]

  43. Bob Belvedere
    April 10th, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    That’s rather disgusting, Pagan.

    There are ladies present.

  44. Pathfinder's wife
    April 10th, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    Not for every guy…used to have a buddy who self-titled as “Dancin’ Dan the Fat Ladies Man”.

    Takes all types, thank goodness or the world would be boring.

  45. Pathfinder's wife
    April 10th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    Truth be told: most women aren’t as stereotypically picky as they’d like everyone to believe.

    Problem is when some idiots allow society’s dictates to overrule their own personal preferences or bring everything down to a shallow, lowest common denominator, which is just bs and antithetical to freedom of individual choice.

  46. elaine
    April 10th, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    The following examples are real, and come  from a variety of (so-called!) legitimate news outlets (such as HuffPo,  MSNBC, etc.), tabloid press, and social media . . .

    You see… there was her problem: she thinks HuffPo and MSNBC are legitimate news outlets…

  47. K-Bob
    April 10th, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    Ahh, showbiz! The notion of “a rising tide lifts all boats” doesn’t get much attention in the business. It’s all a zero-sum game to those folks.

  48. Pathfinder's wife
    April 10th, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    So long story short she’s mad that some women made catty remarks about her present looks (this is a new development?) and some men agreed that indeed she wasn’t looking as fine as she used to be?

    Yeah, whatever — life sucks and then you die; people are arseholes and the more you get to know them the more you like your dog; buy the ticket, take the ride.

  49. scarymatt
    April 10th, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    You forgot to add (the most important one?):

    More page views for TOM.

  50. Derbyshire, Goldstein and Lowry : The Other McCain
    April 10th, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    […] studied the ways of the finger-pointers — sanctimonious white liberals who are as eager as Ashley Judd to drape themselves in a borrowed mantle of righteous victimhood –  the whole ritual was to […]