Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ashley Judd and Carolyn Heilbrun Kick Ass

Asses are getting kicked.

So as you've heard, actress Ashley Judd is on a steroid medication which causes her fabulous cheeks to do a slight chipmunk thing. And because she's a fabulous looking actress and famous and a woman, the free world and probably the world-in-chains has been abuzz, not with concern about her health but with rumors about cosmetic surgery (not happening) and the like.

Being an IMDB addict I was predisposed to like Ashley Judd. I already knew she had a degree in French literature from the University of Kentucky where she also studied cultural anthropology art history, theater, and women's studies. I am not surprised by her feminism, but I am proud of it, especially of her calling out of women.  Women are major contributors to the problem.

(The problem is constant attention to women's bodies. The two major contributors to this debasing perspective are women and men.)

Lindy West, at Jezebel, is ready (as is any woman worth her vagina) to rename sports arenas and the entire Rose Parade--in spirit--in Ashly Judd's honor. West's is the best analysis and response I've read.

In further support of Judd and in further praise of her assessment of "patriarchy" I quote Caroline G. Heilbrun's essay, "Virginia Woolf in Her Fifties," from Hamlet's Mother and Other Women (Columbia University Press). Heilbrun left Columbia because she would not live with that level of arrogant sexism at work, day in, day out. "Woolf would have liked, one guesses, to have restored to all women what their talents deserved and their sex denied them."

A few sentences later, in a statement I have been trying, for a while now, to work into conversations with writers, women, friends, men, malefactors (hence I have bolded it), she calls out the patriarchy, stressing it ain't just men who are the problem.  Ashly Judd may have read this book and if not this book she has assuredly read other equally clear and subtly outraged statements.  Ms. Judd, you are one brainy, strong sister.

The moment one begins to criticize the destinies of women, even in a less than wholly serious way, the patriarchy (by no means composed entirely of men) feels that art is betrayed.

I  have health issues and find some women as judgmental (but more, fearful) as some men, and sometimes more so. So because I am a woman and an imperfect woman in a cutthroat competitive field (poetry), I gotta again thank the woman for speaking up. All a person can do is accept, and trust there is a vengeful a.k.a. merciful correcting influence in the universe.


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