Monday, April 16, 2012


Recently read an article by Ashley Judd lambasting the media for what she labeled misogynistic comments about her "puffy face". Apparently media sources were quick to assume her puffy appearance was an indication of "work done" on her face, etc, etc...

The part that got me was when she called out women for participating in this misogyny, claiming that we are participating therefore in the patriarchic system that we claim to despise.

Aside from all the feminist rhetoric, I truly had to have a long think about the things I say about other women. I can hear myself denigrating their bodies, faces or outfits aloud, yet of course I would be offended if anyone felt they were free to make such comments to me or about me. I was struck by the pettiness and cattiness inherent in so much of media aimed at women.

Anyway, the real thing that hit me as I thought about all this was how my mother would always say, "Do you see that woman over there? Isn't she beautiful?" Most of the time, it would take me a moment to recognize what she meant, because most of the women she pointed out weren't glossy mag model material. They were usually ladies who dressed appropriately, took care in their appearance, and walked with grace and purpose. In this subtle way, my mother imparted to me a picture of where true beauty can be found. It never looked exactly the same twice; black women, white women, large and small, old and young would be pointed out and praised for their innate and natural beauty. (She also made a point of highlighting photos of movie stars with no makeup on, not to say how ugly they looked, but to show us how normal and everyday these women were without hours and hours of hair, makeup, and airbrushing.)

My challenge to myself is to continue this line of thinking and attempt to impart it to my son. The challenge is to throw off the pettiness and cattiness and choose to point out the good and beautiful in what I see. Thanks, mama, for setting such a good example. I was actually listening! And you remain one of the most beautiful people I have ever known, inside and out.

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