by Ashley Weeks Cart
This takes me back to my middle school days of reenacting Phantom in my bedroom with my sister. We were pretty awesome kids. This is written by James’ cousin’s wife, who I don’t know super well, but now know is hilarious. And so totally on point with her synopsis.
Picture Meat Loaf’s music video for “I’d Do Anything for Love,” complete with a mannequin in a wedding gown, and this is basically the entire scene.
It’s worth following along this stream of articles prompted by Ashley Judd’s op-ed in the Daily Beast:
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.
I’m along this line of thinking:
I didn’t take the article as Judd “defending her face” like the headline suggests. I took it as a heart-fluttery victory that a mainstream actress in a mainstream publication spoke intelligently about the patriarchy and about feminism. Sometimes I forget, because I spend so much time on the Internet and because I frequent feminist blogs and corners of the web where these phrases and thoughts are widely-accepted, that feminism and problems within the patriarchy aren’t commonly discussed, and that there is still a massive majority who are either willfully or sadly ignorant.
While I appreciate this viewpoint, the tone is completely off putting and I think it’s unrealistic to think that everyone has already identified the problems discussed in Judd’s piece. Call me cynical but I don’t think that patriarchy is a system often discussed or in the minds of the general public. These comments resonate though. Big time.
Let’s ignore for a second that if this was 1998 and Us Weekly was talking about how pretty she was — and back then, they totally were — Ms. Judd would likely not be spending time penning diatribes against modern standards of beauty and the media’s unrelenting dissection of them. Let’s disregard the fact that when she was on the sweeter side of the mainstream validation of superficial, youth-worshipping measures of a woman’s worth, she didn’t seem to have such a big issue with it. Let’s suppose that the problem with Judd’s knocking of the tradition of criticizing women’s physical appearances, and the societal underpinnings that fuel it, is not just an overblown excuse for her defending her recent “puffy face” because she was feeling defensive. We can ignore all of that for the purposes of our discussion, because her rant and people’s reaction to it raise much more pressing issues.