Ashley Judd on Objectification

Ashley Judd has published a funny piece decrying the bad mean objectification:

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.

This might have some value if it didn’t come from a Hollywood actress, a person whose only job is to look pretty and get paid huge sums for that. If you bring absolutely nothing to your job but a cute face and a skinny figure, then why shouldn’t you expect to have them picked apart and analyzed from here to eternity by consumers? What I bring to my job are my teaching and my research and I routinely undergo the very unpleasant procedure of having them picked apart, analyzed and criticized in very harsh terms.

Judd wants to extrapolate her reality of  a Hollywood starlet who needs to be fresh in order to be attractive to consumers onto every other woman, which is why her repeated use of “our” rings hollow. Unlike in Judd’s job, in my profession nobody gives a rat’s ass about my celestial beauty. I can have the most perfect face and the most statuesque figure in the world but if I arrive at my yearly review with no publications, no service activities and lousy student evaluations, my contract will simply not be renewed. I’m not objectified at work and my personhood and accomplishments are not dismissed for the simple reason that I’m selling the products of my intellectual labor. If Judd chooses to sell pictures of a cute ass, it is hardly a huge feminist issue that the product she sells has an expiration date.

It’s also hilarious how Judd used to be completely fine with the Hollywood objectification to which she contributed as much as she could by offering her photoshopped appearance to the world on every occasion that presented itself. Now that she can’t sell those manufactured looks as well as she used to, she starts ranting against “objectification.” Like a local greasy spoon owner who gets outraged when a McDonald’s opens in town and who starts denouncing the evils of fast food to malign his competition, Judd is upset that the system she has benefited from enormously and that made her extremely rich and famous cannot be milked in perpetuity.

After a passionate diatribe against all those horrible people who only care about women’s looks, Judd tries to persuade her readers that, contrary to popular opinion, she is still quite ready for consumption:

My skin is nearly flawless, and at age 43, I do not yet have visible wrinkles. . . When I have gained weight, going from my usual size two/four to a six/eight after a lazy six months of not exercising.

Our anti-objectification activist protests against women being held up to impossible standards of beauty and, in the same breath, brands those who have visible wrinkles at age 43 as “flawed” and those who are bigger than size 8 as “lazy.” And then she wonders why women are not rushing to defend her when the same labels she puts on others are attached to her. What a blathering hypocrite.

What I find especially entertaining is that many pseudo-feminists have started jumping on Judd’s wagon, promoting her as some kind of a feminist. They don’t even notice that, in  a highly misogynist gesture, Judd consistently refers to herself as “an actor.” What other evidence do we need that she does not have an ounce of respect for those very women in whose name she claims to speak?

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65 comments on “Ashley Judd on Objectification

  1. Acting requires a whole hell of a lot more than just having a pretty face. It takes skill, and Judd is good at it. She’s also been outspoken about being a feminist for years. She also didn’t say women with wrinkles are flawed or that women bigger than a size eight are lazy. I’d expect better reading comprehension from any professor who teaches literature, but I especially expect better reading comprehension from you.

    • Oooh, fans of the dime-a-dozen starlet have arrived. :-) I knew it would happen.

      “Acting requires a whole hell of a lot more than just having a pretty face”

      - The kind of acting Judd engages in doesn’t even deserve the name of acting. She has absolutely no talent whatsoever. There are crowds of equally insipid starlets of the same caliber all over Hollywood. And if you are over 20 years of age, it’s not OK any more to consider what these starlets do “acting.” What’s next? Hollywood films are art?

      “She also didn’t say women with wrinkles are flawed or that women bigger than a size eight are lazy”

      - Reread the quote from your idol. It’s all there.

      • I haven’t really seen that many movies with Ashley Judd in them (most Hollywood movies made after 1980 give me hives anyway) so I can’t speak as to her acting skills. I do agree that actors do more, or should do more, than just look pretty. Acting takes talent and skill etc. But leaving that aside, Hollywood actors and actresses, at least the ones to come out of that industry in the last thirty years or so, are rarely up at the top when it comes to acting skills (and the ones that are tend to leave Hollywood and its plastic product behind for more artistically satisfying careers in the theater). So mostly all they have is their looks. That means they’re part of the problem, so complaining about it as if they’re just as “victimized,” by “lookism,” when they’ve benefitted from it, sounds hypocritical, to say the least.

        I will say though that I don’t believe that women are being victimized by the beauty industry. I’ve never felt victimized by it. I’m annoyed by the way the “youth is all important, getting old and wrinkly is the worst thing that can happen to you” idea, but that’s because so many people buy into it. But they’re not victims — they’re intellectually lazy.

      • “That means they’re part of the problem, so complaining about it as if they’re just as “victimized,” by “lookism,” when they’ve benefitted from it, sounds hypocritical, to say the least.”

        - Exactly! She wasn’t protesting much when she was getting paid huge sums for being young and cute.

        “I will say though that I don’t believe that women are being victimized by the beauty industry. I’ve never felt victimized by it. I’m annoyed by the way the “youth is all important, getting old and wrinkly is the worst thing that can happen to you” idea, but that’s because so many people buy into it. But they’re not victims — they’re intellectually lazy.””

        - I don’t feel victimized either. I’m 36 and I do have wrinkles, but I can guarantee that I feel more at peace with my appearance than many people who are 20 years younger and 10 sizes thinner than I am. And that’s because I worked on my psychological and emotional health and body acceptance. Low self-esteem and self-hatred are inside a person. Unless we are talking about teenagers, people are responsible for feeling good about their bodies. “The TV made me hate my fat ass” only works as an excuse at 13. At 43, it’s way too late for such facile cop outs.

  2. I enjoy your blog greatly and often agree with you, but in this case I read the original article via your link and have to say you took her comments out of context; if a student or colleague distorted quotations in this way you would surely disapprove. I will add that I am not a fan of Ashley Judd, just think you’re being a bit harsh.

    • ” if a student or colleague distorted quotations in this way you would surely disapprove”

      - What is it specifically that I distorted? I copy-pasted the quotes exactly as they are. As for putting an ellipsis in a quote in order to shorten it, that is completely acceptable in academic circles and everywhere.

      I consider the appearance of “flawless” and “no wrinkles” + “lazy” and “gained weight” in the same sentence to be very telling. I also consider that a 43 y/o woman who offers public reports on the number of her wrinkles should look to herself for the example of people privilege a woman’s appearance above all.

  3. Here is what she wrote (again, from your link):
    “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!) ” etc.
    The context does change things a bit: she’s not simply boasting about her perfection, but noting that she is damned if she does and also if she doesn’t. Surely not such a risible complaint.
    Your exam-writing assignment, by the way, is a really great idea.

    • Surely, you can see why this kind of a paragraph in the middle of a discussion on how female appearances are too analyzed and discussed sounds quite hypocritical.

      “Your exam-writing assignment, by the way, is a really great idea.”

      - Thank you.

  4. I don’t really see that, no, and I still think you’re choosing the wrong target for your ire, in this case, and using unfairly selective quotations to do so. That having been said, I would reiterate that I find your blog very enjoyable and that assignment (above) tremendously imaginative and useful.

  5. I liked it when I first read it, but after reading your post I’ve revised my opinion somewhat. I do think that it’s ridiculous, though, that people waste so much time speculating about which procedures she’s supposedly had done.

    Also, I’m wondering if your criticism would apply to all actors and actresses.

    • ” I do think that it’s ridiculous, though, that people waste so much time speculating about which procedures she’s supposedly had done.”

      - Of course, it is. But the focus on her appearance didn’t bother her when she was hugely paid for that.

      “Also, I’m wondering if your criticism would apply to all actors and actresses.”

      - Really talented actresses and actors can be as ugly as they want. They can transform themselves into anybody with the force of their talent. This is why nobody cares about their actual physical appearance. But I’m talking about real artists, not Hollywood starlets of both genders. Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in the world, was not conventionally beautiful. But her fame and her legacy have surpassed those of the millions of Ashley Judds and Brad Pitts.

      • Well, Sarah Bernhardt is from a different time…can you think of any contemporary actresses who aren’t beautiful? I don’t think I can.

      • Out of Hollywood there are crowds of extremely talented actresses who are famous for their acting gift, not for their photoshopped looks. In Spain, Carmen Maura is probably the most famous contemporary actress. She starred in many movies by Almodovar. Her recent movie The Promise is very good.

        My favorite Russian actress, Natalia Gundareva, died recently. Here she is in her (arguably) most famous role. Th woman is an acting genius.

        Argentina’s Norma Aleandro is hugely famous.

        In short, watch any good non-Hollywood movie (like this one from Norway, for example) and you’ll fine actors looking like normal people, not like those manufactured Hollywood cyborgs whose every pore, eyelash and tooth is completely fake.

        In Hollywood, I can think of 2 gifted actresses: Whoopi Goldberg and Glenn Close. The rest are completely interchangeable.

      • A lot of the really gifted actors and actresses are in television rather than movies in the United States.

  6. This is an interesting read, and I read (and enjoy!) your blog often, so I’m not just a fan jumping to her defense, but I’ve got to push back a little on this one.

    What you read as hypocrisy in Judd’s response, I see as trying to untangle the mess of recognizing the patriarchal system while still being a part of it–a balance that I think we all have to do at some point (if we ever even get that far to begin with), and a balance that I empathize with as I’m going through it myself in some ways.

    Sure, Judd may have changed her tune from when she was a 20-something or even a 30-something able to package and sell the “beautiful” product of her body to society, but just because she was participating in that system doesn’t mean that she was advocating it. Hardly any woman I know recognizes and stops participating in a patriarchal system at birth. It takes years of experiences, conversations with others, and analysis to gain that understanding–a feat that seems to happen more and more to women when they hit some sort of barrier that finally makes them look around.

    For Judd, maybe that barrier was her age and getting maliciously hounded by the media that used to adore her for her puffy face and weight gain. For me, that barrier was pregnancy and recognizing that all of that “equality” for men and women message I’d been getting my entire life wasn’t really manifested in many actual, lived experiences. There are lots of ways to come face-to-face with the patriarchy and suddenly recognize all of the ways you’ve been complicit within it. It is guilt-inducing and overwhelming, especially when it also comes with recognizing some of your own privileges (size privilege, age privilege, ability privilege probably top among them).

    I don’t think this makes the person at the receiving end of these revelations a hypocrite no more than I would look at one of my students’ previous papers and tell them they are hypocrites for now properly using the grammar rules I’ve taught them that they didn’t before. That’s progress, not hypocrisy.

    (I’ve got a little more to say about this, but I already feel like I’m writing a novel in your blog comments, so thanks for the post and getting me thinking about these things).

  7. [Sorry for re-posting, I messed up my WordPress log in on the last one.]

    This is an interesting read, and I read (and enjoy!) your blog often, so I’m not just a fan jumping to her defense, but I’ve got to push back a little on this one.

    What you read as hypocrisy in Judd’s response, I see as trying to untangle the mess of recognizing the patriarchal system while still being a part of it–a balance that I think we all have to do at some point (if we ever even get that far to begin with), and a balance that I empathize with as I’m going through it myself in some ways.

    Sure, Judd may have changed her tune from when she was a 20-something or even a 30-something able to package and sell the “beautiful” product of her body to society, but just because she was participating in that system doesn’t mean that she was advocating it. Hardly any woman I know recognizes and stops participating in a patriarchal system at birth. It takes years of experiences, conversations with others, and analysis to gain that understanding–a feat that seems to happen more and more to women when they hit some sort of barrier that finally makes them look around.

    For Judd, maybe that barrier was her age and getting maliciously hounded by the media that used to adore her for her puffy face and weight gain. For me, that barrier was pregnancy and recognizing that all of that “equality” for men and women message I’d been getting my entire life wasn’t really manifested in many actual, lived experiences. There are lots of ways to come face-to-face with the patriarchy and suddenly recognize all of the ways you’ve been complicit within it. It is guilt-inducing and overwhelming, especially when it also comes with recognizing some of your own privileges (size privilege, age privilege, ability privilege probably top among them).

    I don’t think this makes the person at the receiving end of these revelations a hypocrite no more than I would look at one of my students’ previous papers and tell them they are hypocrites for now properly using the grammar rules I’ve taught them that they didn’t before. That’s progress, not hypocrisy.

    (I’ve got a little more to say about this, but I already feel like I’m writing a novel in your blog comments, so thanks for the post and getting me thinking about these things).

  8. [Sorry for re-posting. I messed up my WordPress log in on the last one.]

    This is an interesting read, and I read (and enjoy!) your blog often, so I’m not just a fan jumping to her defense, but I’ve got to push back a little on this one.

    What you read as hypocrisy in Judd’s response, I see as trying to untangle the mess of recognizing the patriarchal system while still being a part of it–a balance that I think we all have to do at some point (if we ever even get that far to begin with), and a balance that I empathize with as I’m going through it myself in some ways.

    Sure, Judd may have changed her tune from when she was a 20-something or even a 30-something able to package and sell the “beautiful” product of her body to society, but just because she was participating in that system doesn’t mean that she was advocating it. Hardly any woman I know recognizes and stops participating in a patriarchal system at birth. It takes years of experiences, conversations with others, and analysis to gain that understanding–a feat that seems to happen more and more to women when they hit some sort of barrier that finally makes them look around.

    For Judd, maybe that barrier was her age and getting maliciously hounded by the media that used to adore her for her puffy face and weight gain. For me, that barrier was pregnancy and recognizing that all of that “equality” for men and women message I’d been getting my entire life wasn’t really manifested in many actual, lived experiences. There are lots of ways to come face-to-face with the patriarchy and suddenly recognize all of the ways you’ve been complicit within it. It is guilt-inducing and overwhelming, especially when it also comes with recognizing some of your own privileges (size privilege, age privilege, ability privilege probably top among them).

    I don’t think this makes the person at the receiving end of these revelations a hypocrite no more than I would look at one of my students’ previous papers and tell them they are hypocrites for now properly using the grammar rules I’ve taught them that they didn’t before. That’s progress, not hypocrisy.

    (I’ve got a little more to say about this, but I already feel like I’m writing a novel in your blog comments, so thanks for the post and getting me thinking about these things).

  9. Yes, I am a fan of Judd, one of the few people from a working class/Appalachian background in the public eye who will publicly talk about it. Also, one of the few conscious feminists in Hollywood. Not a good choice of woman to criticize, IMO… but then, I am not a professor, I am down here with the rabble.

    It pisses me off that women my age are not allowed on TV unless they paralyze their faces w/botox and collagen, showing no facial expressions and emotions. Confronting and analyzing this sexism is an important conversation. (If the subject were women not getting published, maybe it would mean more to you?) Large women, older women, working class women should be able to see people who look like us in the mass media. This is an important discussion, not to be trivialized… so it is surprising to see you doing this.

    I stand with working class country-singer’s daughters, of whom I am one. You need to show a little more political awareness regarding the women you decide to make fun of, unless of course you WANT to convey that a thoughtful, intelligent woman like Judd is not someone you respect.

    And as I said, that surprises me. Then again, maybe not. She IS the daughter of country singer, after all, and that usually is enough to garner disrespect from the elite, smart professors of the land, who have pretty open contempt for the people she comes from.

    And your classism, as I have pointed out before, needs a whole workshop.

    It’s also hilarious how Judd used to be completely fine with the Hollywood objectification

    HELLO? She has talked about this for years, especially regarding her famous sister’s famous weight issues. What the hell are you talking about? The NATIONAL ENQUIRER just published a whole nasty thing about her sister’s wedding and how fat she is and how this man must just be marrying her for her money.

    Please study your actual topic next time, Professor.

    • You are seriously suggesting that I “study” the national Enquirer and “respect” useless starlets like Judd? Thanks but no, thanks. Not interested. Dime-a-dozen aging actresses and dime-a-dozen tabloids are of zero interest to me as subjects of study.

      “HELLO? She has talked about this for years”

      - She has also been making tons of money exclusively on the strength of her skinny figure and cute face.

    • I’m fine with Judd – actually still don’t know who she is apart from what I get from this thread, am neutral – but I will say: in my experience it isn’t professors who are contemptuous of the US working classes, it’s the opposite. The actual rich treat us like servants, and those who claim to be or represent “the people” treat us like punching bags on the floors of state houses. This last group also votes to shut down the schools and programs that would give their children and also themselves access to the kind of education I got, for instance, without being rich. I never fail to find it interesting that they admire the crass rich and call the working and middle class people who got educations “elitist.”

  10. Exactly! She wasn’t protesting much when she was getting paid huge sums for being young and cute.

    Funny, I remember her in Ms and various places, wearing “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts. I remember her protesting pretty constantly and being an active feminist from the very inception of her career. Are we talking about the same person?

    • “Funny, I remember her in Ms and various places, wearing “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts.”

      - Oh yes, she wore a T-shirt, so she TOTALLY must be a feminist. Jeez.

      “She IS the daughter of country singer, after all, and that usually is enough to garner disrespect from the elite, smart professors of the land, who have pretty open contempt for the people she comes from”

      - Buddy, I have no idea who her parents are and I could care less. I will kindly ask you to stop this ridiculous Republican propaganda about the bad mean intellectual elites who “disrespect” the working classes and want to outlaw country music. I will also inform you that I’m an immigrant and my ancestors were slaves in my own land. I’m not suggesting, however, that this fact should prevent anybody from being critical of my opinions.

  11. I am going by what I read here, not “Republican propaganda”–which I doubt you have much acquaintance with. But yes, I *have* written repeatedly about how the Leftist Elites in the universities proudly diss the working classes and then turn around without irony, and simultaneously claim to represent us. (BTW, as a professor, you are far more respected than I am, and have far more influence than I do, as a member of the academic elite, even though you ARE an immigrant and I was born here. See, that is how CLASS PRIVILEGE works.) Simply stating you are progressive does not mean you are… giving a shit about real people matters.

    For example, you make it clear you are far superior to people who read tabloids, and you have no hesitation in saying the interests of such low-lifes are not worth your study. EXACTLY, thank you for saying that. Might be worth a whole post, the incredible elitism of professors who have no connection to the dreaded working class people who actually read such things! And these are the people teaching the kids… no wonder they develop such hatred for working class and/or Appalachian people.

    And you don’t know who Judd’s family is? (really????) Maybe you should get a clue, in that case, instead of being proud of your ignorance of American culture?

    Notice: when you trash someone from a poor-Appalachian-family-that-made-good, especially one that many people (women) admire, you make a statement. I guess you don’t care (of course), but you have made this statement whether you meant to or not. Since I read it that way, I am letting you know, lots of people will read it that way. And the fact that you proudly don’t care? You make it clear that some people are worth caring about and identifying with, and some aren’t. Just the way you blithely write off the millions of people dumb enough to read tabloids.

    BTW, you write whole posts about women you have not even Googled? (Is that decent research, professor?) As an uneducated person of the lower orders, I would never dream of doing such a thing, since I do not have the privilege of making the carefree statement about not knowing or not caring. For me, not knowing is evidence of inferiority and stupidity, for you, it is haughtiness and evidence of superior taste. Again, that is how CLASS PRIVILEGE works.

    I guess mass culture is not worth your precious professor time, but in that case, why care about what Judd has said AT ALL? Makes no sense.

    • “I am going by what I read here, not “Republican propaganda”–which I doubt you have much acquaintance with. But yes, I *have* written repeatedly about how the Leftist Elites in the universities proudly diss the working classes and then turn around without irony, and simultaneously claim to represent us.”

      - If you sound and act like a Republican, then you are one.

      “(BTW, as a professor, you are far more respected than I am, and have far more influence than I do, as a member of the academic elite, even though you ARE an immigrant and I was born here. See, that is how CLASS PRIVILEGE works.)”

      - Did somebody prevent you from get the same education as I did and look for an academic job? Did I, by any means, prevent you from it? Then whose problem is it that you are not as respected and influential as you want to be? It’s obvious that it is a lot harder for me to achieve anything in a society where I have to live in a foreign language, where I know nobody and am unfamiliar with how things work. So what’s your excuse for not being where you want to be in life?

      “Simply stating you are progressive does not mean you are… giving a shit about real people matters.”

      - If by “real people matters” you mean the horrible suffering of the ultra-rich starlets, then yeah, I don’t give a crap.

      “For example, you make it clear you are far superior to people who read tabloids, and you have no hesitation in saying the interests of such low-lifes are not worth your study. EXACTLY, thank you for saying that. Might be worth a whole post, the incredible elitism of professors who have no connection to the dreaded working class people who actually read such things! And these are the people teaching the kids… no wonder they develop such hatred for working class and/or Appalachian people.”

      - OK, the answer to why you aren’t successful in life has been provided. If you equate contempt for tabloids with hatred of the Appalachians, then I’m not surprised you nobody respects you and you have no influence. Of course, it’s easier for you to blame me for that than to accept that your problem is that you can’t formulate a simple thought.

      “You make it clear that some people are worth caring about and identifying with, and some aren’t. ”

      - Of course. :-) Have any more platitudes to share? :-) Have you met anybody who identifies with every single person in the world? :-) You are funny.

      “BTW, you write whole posts about women you have not even Googled? (Is that decent research, professor?)”

      - decent research is not conducted through Google, no. :-) And I’m not doing research on Judd. :-) Where on earth did you get that ridiculous idea? :-)

      “As an uneducated person of the lower orders, I would never dream of doing such a thing, since I do not have the privilege of making the carefree statement about not knowing or not caring. For me, not knowing is evidence of inferiority and stupidity, for you, it is haughtiness and evidence of superior taste. Again, that is how CLASS PRIVILEGE works.”

      - Every person in the world who does not know about the parents of a silly American starlet is inferior? How about the people of other countries and continents who haven’t heard about Judd, let alone about her parents? They are all inferior to you who has Googled Judd and read a tabloid article about her?

      “I guess mass culture is not worth your precious professor time, but in that case, why care about what Judd has said AT ALL”

      - If you actually read the post, you will easily discover what it is that I care about. A hint: it starts with an “f” and ends in “ism”.

  12. My point about the tabloids (which was sidetracked since you pissed me off in putting me down for reading them), is that Judd comes from a family in which her (famous, or so I thought!) sister has put up with an incredible amount of fat-hating media shit from all over the WORLD, and Judd has talked about this at length, as well as her mother’s chronic illness and the pressure to look good in these contexts. I can’t think of another actress who has discussed such issues in a familial and generational context, as well as discussing the differences in the way her mother and sister are regarded (as the more “authentic hillbillies”) and the way she is regarded as more acceptable, as the one born later and attended U of K. These public conversations have meant a great deal to those of us from this background.

    When you diss Ashley, you diss a lot of us who have identified with her story. This is what I was trying to say. I wish you would have chosen a non-Hillbilly actress from a middle-class background… but then, those women don’t bother to discuss these matters AT ALL, do they?

    • “When you diss Ashley, you diss a lot of us who have identified with her story.”

      - Ashley?? You know her in person? If not, it is extremely unhealthy to refer to her with her first name. Have some respect, the woman is 43. And if you identify with her story, I guess you are a millionnaire who gets paid millions for nothing but being cute and skinny, right?

      “I wish you would have chosen a non-Hillbilly actress from a middle-class background…”

      - I have no idea what “Hillbilly” means. I’m just vaguely aware that it’s considered offensive by many people.

      ” but then, those women don’t bother to discuss these matters AT ALL, do they”

      - Which women are “those”? I think that all actresses and actors in Hollywood are grievously devoid of talent and very stupid. This is why I don’t follow what they have to say about anything.

      ” I can’t think of another actress who has discussed such issues in a familial and generational context, as well as discussing the differences in the way her mother and sister are regarded (as the more “authentic hillbillies”) and the way she is regarded as more acceptable,”

      - It is a mystery to me why the whinings of an extremely rich woman as to how hard it is for her to perform the only job she has which is to look pretty and skinny are of any relevance to anybody’s life. Do you get paid as much as she does for nothing but being thin? Who cares about the imaginary struggles of these spoiled ultra-rich brats, seriously? Can’t you find any regular folks to identify with? Normal people who struggle to pay the bills, who work day and night at actual jobs? How can you waste any energy feeling sorry for people who are so much better off than you that it isn’t even funny?

  13. “When you diss Ashley, you diss a lot of us who have identified with her story.”

    - Ashley?? You know her in person?

    Have never met Judd personally, but country music is a small community in many ways, and my mother met her mother.

    If not, it is extremely unhealthy to refer to her with her first name.

    Unhealthy? Is it “unhealthy” to call Oprah “Oprah”? Or Madonna “Madonna”? Unhealthy? What should I call her, “Miss Judd”? (Is the New York Times style guide what we are required to use here at your blog?)

    And if you identify with her story

    I meant the story in her mother’s book, of course, as well as in her own. I share her ethnic background (which you proudly know nothing about) and the cultural milieu she was raised in, country music. I share many experiences she had and wrote about. My mother would disappear for long periods, as hers did, as most show-biz parents did. The feelings she described about coming home and finding everybody gone? Really hit me hard, and yes, I identified very strongly. I had never seen anyone write about that from a redneck kid’s POV. Yes, meaningless to you, of course, but it meant a lot to me. Like many folks say, thought I was the only one.

    I guess you are a millionnaire who gets paid millions for nothing but being cute and skinny, right?

    As I said, her sister is not cute or skinny, and there has been a lot of tension between them for that reason. (Doesn’t this interest you as a feminist?) This has been a big media-thing, contrasting the respective sizes and general appearance of Ashley and Wynonna. Maybe if you had bothered to look up the person you were writing about, you would know this?

    And BTW, she is a good actress, I don’t think being skinny is the only thing she gets paid for, is it? “Ruby in Paradise” is one of the BEST movies about a white working class woman ever made. I think that is likely because she was once one herself.

    “I wish you would have chosen a non-Hillbilly actress from a middle-class background…”

    - I have no idea what “Hillbilly” means. I’m just vaguely aware that it’s considered offensive by many people.

    And you are a professor? Really? Is this what passes for an education? You are PAID to teach people things?

    I actually find this very alarming. Knowing about me and my people, isn’t worth knowing. You can get hired as a professor and not be required to know about entire groups of people, some of whom you will be teaching… and I see you didn’t even take the time to Google.

    Definition: Hillbillies are the people considered so low-class, that professors like you do not consider us important enough to look up and do not even have to know about to get hired. (And they are proud of it, too.)

    Thanks for the example. I will be using the example of a professor not knowing the meaning of the word “hillbilly”– approximately for the rest of my life.

    I think that all actresses and actors in Hollywood are grievously devoid of talent and very stupid. This is why I don’t follow what they have to say about anything.

    Wow. ALL of them? You have met them ALL and you know this for sure? Or you just don’t like movies and think this is the same as actors having no talent? (Note: it isn’t)

    I see, a hater who stereotypes entire groups of people… my bad. I thought you were a progressive. Maybe you should look up “The Hollywood Ten” and educate yourself about the history of Hollywood progressives… but I know, I am talking to myself. You are a professor and you know everything already. (If it was important, you would already know it, right?)

    - It is a mystery to me why the whinings of an extremely rich woman as to how hard it is for her to perform the only job she has which is to look pretty and skinny are of any relevance to anybody’s life.

    As I said, I identified with what she has written about her life.

    I am beginning to get it. You don’t empathize with people and don’t care about them.

    Normal people who struggle to pay the bills, who work day and night at actual jobs? How can you waste any energy feeling sorry for people who are so much better off than you that it isn’t even funny?

    Um, I don’t “feel sorry” for anyone, except people so clueless they are incapable of basic empathy for others.

    Before The Judds became mega-famous, they were normal folks who performed at the same venues my mother did. Normal folks deal with sexual abuse, eating disorders and addiction, although I would imagine you never have. Obviously, you are a rare creature that is far above the rest of us, and you don’t even need to Google when you don’t know something.

    I stand corrected.

    • “Unhealthy? Is it “unhealthy” to call Oprah “Oprah”? Or Madonna “Madonna”? Unhealthy? What should I call her, “Miss Judd”? (Is the New York Times style guide what we are required to use here at your blog?)”

      - You really don’t know the answers to these questions? Really?

      “As I said, her sister is not cute or skinny, and there has been a lot of tension between them for that reason. (Doesn’t this interest you as a feminist?)”

      - No, this boring soap opera doesn’t interest me. And your overinvolvement with the lives of celebrities is, once again, extremely unhealthy.

      “This has been a big media-thing, contrasting the respective sizes and general appearance of Ashley and Wynonna. Maybe if you had bothered to look up the person you were writing about, you would know this?”

      - Sorry, unlike you, I actually have a life.

      “And BTW, she is a good actress.”

      - :-) :-)

      “And you are a professor? Really? Is this what passes for an education? You are PAID to teach people things?”

      - These hysterical strings of rhetorical questions start getting boring.

      “Definition: Hillbillies are the people considered so low-class, that professors like you do not consider us important enough to look up and do not even have to know about to get hired. ”

      - Are you on drugs right now? Surely, a sober person could not have written anything of the kind.

      “Thanks for the example. I will be using the example of a professor not knowing the meaning of the word “hillbilly”– approximately for the rest of my life.”

      - I know that the knowledge that people from other cultures have a different sort of cultural and historic capital is stressful to you but you’ve got to learn to deal. Other cultures exist, as traumatic as that is to you. Of course, that fact isn’t mentioned in tabloids, so how are you supposed to know, right?

      “Wow. ALL of them? You have met them ALL and you know this for sure? Or you just don’t like movies and think this is the same as actors having no talent?”

      - Dear weird person, outside of Hollywood there are amazing theatrical and movie traditions in many many cultures. Despising Hollywood does not equal to despising all actors.

      “I am beginning to get it. You don’t empathize with people and don’t care about them.”

      - I don;t “empathize” with millionaires because they are in no need of my empathy. They are doing very well for themselves, even though you like to make yourself feel better by pitying their horrible struggles with mean comments by bad journalists.

    • “Um, I don’t “feel sorry” for anyone, except people so clueless they are incapable of basic empathy for others. Before The Judds became mega-famous, they were normal folks who performed at the same venues my mother did. Normal folks deal with sexual abuse, eating disorders and addiction, although I would imagine you never have. Obviously, you are a rare creature that is far above the rest of us,”

      - You can dress up your “empathy” for the ultra-rich in tons of fancy verbiage. The reality, however, is simple: you like to pretend that Judd and you have something in common because it makes you feel more important. And that is very sad. It’s people like you who have bought into the myth of Judd as a girl next door who cares about you and has the same problems as you who are forking over your hard-won dollars to attend her talentless flicks and pay for yet another hugely expensive outfit, car or house of hers. In the meanwhile, you struggle to make ends meet because people like her have sold you a cheesy sob story and are living in luxury on your dime.

  14. For a feminist, you have a lot of derision for women who are unlike you. As an activist, do you think you can do effective feminist organizing without any appreciation or understanding of the popular culture that has formed most women these days?

    And can I ask how did you get to be a professor, if you come from poverty? Just curious, I couldn’t even pay for one whole year of college, much less 10 yrs or whatever it takes. I am astounded anyone can afford it, I just assume their parents paid for it.

    Mooing? Is this your cute way of calling me a cow? Ah, the weight insults start now, huh.

    Of course, that fact isn’t mentioned in tabloids, so how are you supposed to know, right?

    And after the cow comment, when the uber-smart professor starts calling me dumb, time to leave.

    Its been real.

    • “For a feminist, you have a lot of derision for women who are unlike you. ”

      - I have a lot of derision for rich, pampered and spoiled idiots who can’t get over the idea that their skin might not seem flawless to everybody.

      “And can I ask how did you get to be a professor, if you come from poverty? Just curious, I couldn’t even pay for one whole year of college, much less 10 yrs or whatever it takes. I am astounded anyone can afford it, I just assume their parents paid for it.”

      - :-) I was accepted at Yale for free. The university paid me to go to school with them.

      “Mooing? Is this your cute way of calling me a cow? Ah, the weight insults start now, huh.”

      - I know nothing about your weight, you weird creature. I suspect it’s smaller than mine, in any case.

  15. PS — I noticed you skipped a question:

    As an activist, do you think you can do effective feminist organizing without any appreciation or understanding of the popular culture that has formed most women these days?

    • I don’t see how knowing the difference between lousy Hollywood flicks and real acting can hamper one’s feminist activism. The complete absence of class consciousness that you demonstrate when you suggest that working people share the interests of millionaires is a much greater obstacle to any activism.

      Remember, a working woman and a pampered millionaire do not have the same weight issues, family problems, and mental health issues. We deal with ours on our own while they have an army of staff dealing with theirs.

  16. Okay, I don’t understand. Are you saying only millionaires like TV and movies?

    I am talking about your contempt for American popular culture, your statement that all movies are bad. Isn’t this your opinion? If not, could you clarify? I want to quote you precisely.

    Most Americans, of all classes, enjoy popular culture. For you to say it is categorically all bad and not worth analyzing, puts up a major barrier between you and us, wouldn’t you say? If not, am I misunderstanding you?

    Most feminists, for instance on all the major feminist blogs, DO analyze pop culture, whether it be tabloids, movies, whatever… in fact, that is what I thought you were doing here in this post. (You weren’t?) Instead, you are using this as a jumping-off point to say that all Hollywood product is bad, correct?

    • “Most Americans, of all classes, enjoy popular culture. For you to say it is categorically all bad and not worth analyzing, puts up a major barrier between you and us, wouldn’t you say”

      - So you are going to assign your own weird ideas to me and then argue with them, right? That’s up to you, of course, but what a weird pastime. You are not going to hear me because you have severe issues with maintaining a dialogue, but I’ll tell you anyways: as any reader of my blog knows, I love popular culture, am addicted to reality TV, and couldn’t live without my collection of mystery novels. If you paid attention, you’d notice that we’ve been passionately discussing a popular bestseller on this blog for days. You, however, prefer to cherish your invented image of anti-pop culture Clarissa. What can I do about that?

      “Most feminists, for instance on all the major feminist blogs, DO analyze pop culture”

      - If you paid attention, you’d realized that so do I.

      ” Instead, you are using this as a jumping-off point to say that all Hollywood product is bad, correct”

      - Hollywood does not equal all movies or all pop culture.

    • “Okay, I don’t understand. Are you saying only millionaires like TV and movies?”

      - No. I’m saying that YOU are only capable of caring about millionaires. Sorry, correction, I’m sure you are passionately into the sufferings of billionaires, too. It’s the regular folks who bore you.

  17. I am trying to dialogue, really I am… you are just being so snotty and superior. I have no idea what you are talking about (admittedly, I am stupid, but so are lots of people and we deserve to be treated like human beings also) and I am trying hard to figure it out. (?)

    Okay, so are you saying those reality TV people and authors you enjoy, are not also millionaires? Do you instantly stop enjoying their product the minute their income hits the millionaire-mark? What is this obsession with millionaires, in specific? Do you hold everyone to this standard (the millionaire-hating) or just Hollywood people? For instance, would you not vote for a millionaire just because they are one?

    (that last point happens to be an ongoing subject on my radio show, BTW)

    • “Okay, so are you saying those reality TV people and authors you enjoy, are not also millionaires”

      - I don’t identify with them and write sappy mile-long diatribes on other people’s blogs about how they struggle just like I do. I consume their product while realizing that their lives are in every way different from mine. It’s not good, it’s not bad. It’s just a fact of reality.

      “Do you instantly stop enjoying their product the minute their income hits the millionaire-mark? What is this obsession with millionaires, in specific? Do you hold everyone to this standard (the millionaire-hating) or just Hollywood people? For instance, would you not vote for a millionaire just because they are one?”

      - More crazy projections. You do realize that you are not acting like a mentally stable person when you invent these weird statements and then act all outraged about them, right? A barrage of unhinged, completely invented weird statements that you attribute to somebody who patiently answers your questions is your definition of a dialogue?

  18. It’s the regular folks who bore you.

    I am as regular and ordinary as they come… my show is broadcast out of beautiful downtown Fountain Inn, SC. Funspot of the Western world!

    Really, I invite you to listen, if you think I am all focused on the rich! LOL–my Tea Party stalkers would be amazed by your statement. They think I am this dangerous communist who wants to madly re-distribute their “wealth”. (they don’t have any, but try telling THEM that).

    So you see why what you are saying is just very strange to me. I didn’t think identification with a famous country music family (that played in the venues my family did, as I said) meant all of these awful things about me, but I guess they do, since a Yale-educated professor would never lie.

    • “Really, I invite you to listen, if you think I am all focused on the rich! LOL–my Tea Party stalkers would be amazed by your statement. They think I am this dangerous communist who wants to madly re-distribute their “wealth”. (they don’t have any, but try telling THEM that).”

      - I never disagreed that Tea Partiers are irredeemably stupid.

      “So you see why what you are saying is just very strange to me. I didn’t think identification with a famous country music family (that played in the venues my family did, as I said) meant all of these awful things about me, but I guess they do, since a Yale-educated professor would never lie.”

      - From my blogging experience, I know that when people start discussing the opinions of others in terms of “a lie”, a lot of insanity is about to be unleashed. Once again, identifying with millionaires when you are not one is, indeed, extremely bizarre.

  19. You two are fun. I hope you both realize that regardless of wealth or lack of it, we all suffer from something or enjoy happiness comparably.

    “Fucking in the penthouse or Fucking in the alley, just remember, its still Fucking.”
    :) :)

    • That’s precisely what the ultra rich want us to think as they laugh their way into the bank. I have been cursed by spending a lot of time around the very rich at every stage of my life, so I find all this “I identify with a millionaire” spiel very unconvincing. She wouldn’t share a space with you to save her life while you waste your time identifying with her made up suffering. (The “you” here is addressed to DD).

  20. No Clarissa, you are wrong. You cannot classify ALL the ultra rich as the same. If you want you can generalize about many of them. Just like I think many feminists are, well, you know. ;)
    I suspect you are biased, by what I can gather you come from poverty or something close to it. Ive been around both the ultra rich and some pretty poor people. They all have one thing in common. In their own ways they are just as FUCKED UP as you or I. Some just do it in style. ;)

    • ” You cannot classify ALL the ultra rich as the same. If you want you can generalize about many of them. Just like I think many feminists are, well, you know. ”

      - They are all the same in that they are rich. That’s a very important characteristic.

      ” In their own ways they are just as FUCKED UP as you or I. Some just do it in style. ”

      - You are mistaken here, too. The ultra rich are at risk for completely different psychological issues than the poor or the middle classes.

      • The ultra rich are at risk for completely different psychological issues than the poor or the middle classes.(Clarissa)

        Oh, you mean the ones like alcoholism, drug addiction, child abuse, domestic abuse, bullying, and the list goes on………………..
        You are so far off base with thinking that just because someone is rich they will not have similar issues that other human beings have. Im not saying there arent differences, there are, but there are many similarities too. We all bleed red. :(

      • They are all the same in that they are rich. That’s a very important characteristic.(Clarissa)

        Nope, wrong again. Chris Rock says it best……..

        “If Bill Gates woke up with Oprah’s money…He would jump out a fucking window”

  21. You do realize that you are not acting like a mentally stable person when you invent these weird statements and then act all outraged about them, right?

    I’ll let you tell me all about that, since mental stability has never been my long suit. (and in my humble opinion, totally overrated at that).

    Does making nasty remarks about my sanity instead of answering my questions, mean that you can’t answer the questions? That’s what I thought.

    Tit, believe it or not, I do agree with you. I am startled when anyone says “all _____ are are evil” (whoever they are, whoever the current scapegoat is) –that is morally reprehensible, and that way leads directly to the Gulag.

    • “Does making nasty remarks about my sanity instead of answering my questions, mean that you can’t answer the questions? That’s what I thought.”

      - You don’t ask questions. You make a series of outlandish statements that you concocted and end them with, “right?” You don;t need an interlocutor. You are happy talking to yourself.

      “I am startled when anyone says “all _____ are are evil””

      - And who said these words in this discussion (other than you)?

      It’s rare that one meets a person so incapable of hearing anything that others say.

  22. This caused me to finally read the Judd piece and I think it’s great! (I still don’t really know who she is, etc., of course, so I just had the text to go on.)

  23. Pingback: Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion | Clarissa's Blog

  24. Pingback: Hollywood Double Standard | Clarissa's Blog

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