Ashley Judd has a great post up on the Daily Beast that she wrote in response to the media frenzy about her “puffy face.”
Here’s a quote from it I love:
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. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.
A case in point is that this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact.
This internalized sexism is exactly what I was writing about in my letter to Dara-Lynn Weiss, the mom who put her seven year old daughter on a diet. It’s also predominantly women who perform cliterodectomies on girls in countries that practice this brutal procedure.
Try to be aware of how you buy into sexism. Don’t think that you are immune. We all live in a world that privileges males and we are all affected by it. The first step is awareness. When you look back in history, it’s easy to wonder how could people ever believe slavery was okay or let the holocaust happen. But today, too many of us refuse to recognize, take action, or give money to help stop the discrimination against women and girls happening all over the world.
If you doubt how serious gender discrimination is RIGHT NOW please read Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicolas Kristof.