Gossip can be a very cruel phenomenon. There is reality, and then there is the truth according to viral videos, Facebook, Us Weekly, and the E! Network. Just this past weekend Sarah and I were in the grocery store, and she commented that the headlines screaming from the checkout magazines were just out of control and invasive. Did it really matter whether Kim Kardashian cheated on her (soon to be ex) husband? Do we really need to know the second Prince William and his wife get pregnant?
So it makes me very happy to see a different kind of article going viral on Facebook, where actress Ashley Judd tears apart the gossip industry!
From her editorial on The Daily Beast:
A brief analysis demonstrates that the following “conclusions” were all made on the exact same day, March 20, about the exact same woman (me), looking the exact same way, based on the exact same television appearance. 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:
One: When I am sick for more than a month and on medication (multiple rounds of steroids), the accusation is that because my face looks puffy, I have “clearly had work done,” with otherwise credible reporters with great bravo “identifying” precisely the procedures I allegedly have had done.
Two: When my skin is nearly flawless, and at age 43, I do not yet have visible wrinkles that can be seen on television, I have had “work done,” with media outlets bolstered by consulting with plastic surgeons I have never met who “conclude” what procedures I have “clearly” had. (Notice that this is a “back-handed compliment,” too—I look so good! It simply cannot possibly be real!)
Three: When my 2012 face looks different than it did when I filmed Double Jeopardy in 1998, I am accused of having “messed up” my face (polite language here, the F word is being used more often), with a passionate lament that “Ashley has lost her familiar beauty audiences loved her for.”
Four: When I have gained weight, going from my usual size two/four to a six/eight after a lazy six months of not exercising, and that weight gain shows in my face and arms, I am a “cow” and a “pig” and I “better watch out”, because my husband “is looking for his second wife.” (Did you catch how this one engenders competition and fear between women? How it also suggests that my husband values me based only on my physical appearance? Classic sexism. We won’t even address how extraordinary it is that a size eight would be heckled as “fat.”)
She goes on to add more, but the basic point is that we, as a society, judge celebrities according to impossible standards. Whether it’s Ashley Judd aging or Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, it seems that women’s imperfections are held up as a main tent pole of media coverage. It is not right, and frankly, Ashley Judd’s article should be required reading for all women!