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Ashley Judd's conversation about women's looks

Actress Ashley Judd arrives to The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on April 10, 2012.
Actress Ashley Judd arrives to The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on April 10, 2012.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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The actress Ashley Judd set out this week to spark a conversation – and that's exactly what she did.

She authored a piece for “The Daily Beast” with an eye-catching title: "Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face for Speculation over her 'Puffy' Appearance." Tens of thousands of tweets, shares and comments later, a huge conversation is being had about how the media talks about women's bodies.

It stems from a few of Judd's television appearances in March to promote a new show. Tabloid reporters were more interested in Judd's face than her show; they reported her face looked fuller then the gossip began.

Was she on drugs? Did plastic surgery go wrong? Did she need to have plastic surgery? Yes, yes, and yes, they concluded. Judd says she couldn't ignore it.

"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," Judd wrote.

Throughout this week, her eloquent treatise continues to resonate with women across the country, but the critics are there, too. One online commenter wrote sarcastically, "It's atrocious that such speculation should happen. After all, it's not like movie stars go around begging for everyone's attention and getting work done and going on diets they talk about endlessly and arranging for spontaneous pictures in parks with their kids."

Is that a fair criticism? What’s your reaction to “the conversation?” Did it start one in your circle? Will it make a difference?


Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Founder & CEO,; filmmaker, actress, speaker, and advocate. Newsom wrote, directed, and produced the 2011 Sundance documentary “Miss Representation,” which asserts that the media’s misrepresentations of women contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence.

Jose Lambiet, Veteran gossip writer and columnist; publications include the Palm Beach Post, Star Magazine, National Enquirer, New York Daily News and Radar Online

Robinne Lee, Actress, Producer, Writer; Credits include “Hitch,” "Seven Pounds,” “Hotel for Dogs;” Yale alumnae & Columbia Law