Ashley Judd is addressing the “misogynistic hullabaloo” over her looks, calling it “women bashing.”
The A Time to Kill actress and activist, 51, helped Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail this week and found herself trending on Twitter, but not for her politics. Instead, people were posting nasty comments about her physical appearance.
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2016/03/15: Ashley Judd speaks with the press. Ashley Judd and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin spoke at a press briefing regarding Ms. Judd's appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Ashley Judd attends the APNE Aap dinner on September 21, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by CJ Rivera/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Ashley Judd arrives to The Paley Center For Media's 11th Annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews Los Angeles at The Paley Center for Media on September 16, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 25: Ashley Judd and Keke Palmer of EPIX 'Berlin Station' pose for a portrait during the 2017 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 25, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Smallz & Raskind/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Ashley Judd speaks at the rally at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
Hollywood actress and social activist Ashley Judd looks in the Humanitarian Award 2016 at the KISS (Kalinga Institute of Social Science) in the eastern Indian city Bhubaneswar on Thursday, 09 February 2017. KISS institute give the Humanitarian Award for the year 2016 to Ashley Judd. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: American actress Ashley Judd during a press conference on Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls at India International Centre, Lodhi Estate on January 30, 2017 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Shivam Saxena/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Debi Mazar and Ashley Judd attend the rally at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Actress Ashley Judd attends the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
US actress Ashley Judd attends the opening of the 'Safe Birth Even Here' campaign on May 23, 2016 during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
Many aid groups have become 'big bureaucracies' and need help to slim down in order to help the growing number of people in need, a key EU commissioner said on May 24. A so-called 'Grand Bargain' launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul aims to make aid more effective by reducing the bureaucracy of aid groups and keeping down the demands of donors on them in return. / AFP / POOL / VELI Gï¿½GAH (Photo credit should read VELI GURGAH/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 27: Actress Ashley Judd attends The Creative Coalition's Benefit Gala Featuring Fergie at The Electric Factory on July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 11: Actress Ashley Judd watches the Kentucky Wildcats during the first half of an SEC Tournament Quarterfinal game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bridgestone Arena on March 11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Actress Ashley Judd and Executive Director of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin attend the 2015 Social Good Summit at 92Y on September 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Ashley Judd, Ambassador, Population Services International attends the Breakout Session: The Economic Implications of Gender-Based Violence during the first day of the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative's Annual Meeting at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on September 26, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Actress Ashley Judd attends a photocall for 'Big Stone Gap' at Ace Hotel on September 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Ashley Judd and Jenna Elfman attend the 'Big Stone Gap' New York Screening at Sunshine Landmark on September 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Zak Photography/Getty Images)
Ashley Judd attends the '2015 CFDA Fashion Awards' red carpet arrivals at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. ?? LAN (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)
Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, left, and actress Ashley Judd, center, attend the Bloomberg Vanity Fair White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner afterparty in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The 101st WHCA raises money for scholarships and honors the recipients of the organization's journalism awards. Photographer: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Actress Ashley Judd attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Ashley Judd attends the 2015 Moves Power Forum at Red Door Spa on April 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
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After an old essay Judd wrote about the criticism she’s long endured over her appearance was resurfaced — including how a steroid medication she takes makes her face “puffy” — the situation was ultimately turned into a positive thing. But Judd had been silent about it — until now.
In an Instagram post, Judd shared “some reflections concerning the misogynistic hullabaloo that has recently swirled around me.”
She started by writing, “Healthy self-esteem. Good boundaries. Unshakable knowledge of self,” calling those three things “essential when I wake up & learn from caring friends that my appearance has been trending on Twitter.”
Judd said the “misogynistic savages of both sexes have come out,” but also that “plenty of folks who empathize and see it for what it is (women bashing).” She went on to call it a “gendered way to distract from my political speech: the hate happened in response to a video in support of the presidential candidate of my choice.”
My friend @AshleyJudd made a few calls to people who chipped in a few dollars to our campaign. I’m proud that our campaign is grassroots—built by people, not Super PACs or billionaires.
She went on to say that she has been sick with intense migraines, which she calls “siege migraines,” for “over a year.” One of the “standard treatments” for her migraines is botox and her insurance pays for “31 injections every 12 weeks,” something she said she was advised against sharing publicly because it can be “used against me,” so she added, “Shame on anyone who distorts my words.”
Talking more about the migraines, which she was first diagnosed with in 2016, she said her neurologist pain specialist banned her from “anything but mild walking exercise.” So when her last migraine hit — and “lasted a grueling four and a half months” — she took medication for it and also couldn’t work out heavily, leading to “some un-fun weight gain.”
Judd, who was hospitalized earlier this year her migraines, has since been given the green light to exercise again and said it’s been “joyful” to resume running, hiking and yoga. (She often goes backcountry camping for days in the Smokey Mountains.) She signed up for a half-marathon in June.
Judd went on to say that she knows “misogynists on Twitter have been slaughtering me compared to my pre-weight gain idealized self. My conventionally thin, athletic ‘pretty’ AcroYoga body and more slender face is a merely the flip side of the same patriarchal coin.”
She said that the good news in all of this is that, “I don’t take compliments any more seriously than I do slurs” and that her “self-worth and value are neither based on being built up nor on being torn down.” Further, she added that “as a cis white woman, the hate I get is pretty generic compared to women of color, to my friends in the LGBTQIA+ communities and those of diverse lived experiences.”
Judd, ended by sharing her “earnest wish” and it’s that “when women speak up and we still get beaten up,” the Weinstein silence breaker continued, “Speak up anyway. The slings and arrows will come, but your voice and the body from which it comes is beautiful, courages, powerful and necessary.”
And while “conversations about our female bodies will continue to roar,” what she “knows for sure” is that “my peace is on the inside, in spite of the patriarchy and all those who participate in it, male and female.”
As for those who find what’s she’s saying “obvious and redundant,” Judd added, “I feel you.”
After Judd started to trend on Wednesday amid some pretty vicious comments, hundreds of people shared photos of themselves on and off the steroid Prednisone, along with inspiring stories.
Meanwhile, actor Dean Cain denied he was among those taking a swipe at Judd. He had commented on the initial video showing Judd, "I certainly have nothing positive to say, so I’ll be quiet.” However, he said Thursday that it was because of politics, not her appearance.
"I made zero comment about Ashley at all," said the former Lois & Clark star, who is politically Conservative. "I’m commenting on the inauthentic campaign by Elizabeth Warren, calling this grassroots. Nothing screams authenticity and grassroots like having a millionaire actress make your donor phone calls.”
Cain added,"It says more about them then it does about me because I didn’t mention her looks at all."