Whether or not we are parents, most of us find ourselves at some point talking about the necessity to empower our daughters. Daughters can of course be our own or they are our nieces, our younger sisters or the daughter of a best friend. Most people agree that we have a responsibility to encourage them to achieve all of their dreams because they are smart and capable, not because they have physical attributes that make them superior.
If that’s the case, why then are we talking out of both sides of our mouths? And no, I am not pointing fingers at you – we all do it. It seems we have a double standard when it comes to grown women.
Unless you have been Healthy Living under a rock, you know that actress Ashley Judd is irritated and who can blame her! Her appearance in a televised interview with what many referred to as a “puffy face,” began the tongues wagging. Within 24 hours, bloggers, plastic surgeons, celebrity rags and many of us normal people were speculating about how much work she had had done on her face. Although she explained that she was getting over a terrible sinus infection and yes, admitted she gained weight because she isn’t in production at the moment, she shouldn’t have had to. You can’t blame her for being ticked off. She was called everything from puffy face to a cow and a pig. One went so far as to suggest that if she didn’t lose the weight – that her husband would leave her. Of course the implication is clear: she is little more than a pretty face and a hot Healthy Body to her husband!
But this isn’t just about Ms. Judd. It’s about all women. Many before us have fought so hard to overcome the image that we are mere Barbie Dolls. But by judging women’s looks so harshly, we send the message that despite wanting to break glass ceilings, and be taken seriously for our brains, it’s absolutely fine to objectify us. And I am not innocent here, either. I grew up idolizing Marilyn Monroe and other “bombshells” just like her and admired them for their beauty.
I don’t believe there is anything wrong with appreciating someones good looks, but participating in this need to criticize the appearance of others, is damaging on many levels. It undermines the important message we want our little girls to hear, which is that they are smart and capable.
I don’t expect this to happen overnight, but Ashley Judd is right. The next time you find yourself negatively judging another woman’s looks, please stop yourself! Praise her for her accomplishments. Don’t tear her down for not personifying Barbie. It’s not healthy for any of us.
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!