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If you’ve been asleep or your only feminist readings are through the F-word, you may have notice some feminista loving to Ashley Judd through her article basically scraping her critics across coals at The Daily Beast. Her critics have been complaining that Judd’s face has been too puffy and for some reason felt it was within their own entitled privilege to knock her down. She addresses them in a beautiful five point essay breaking down each type of critic carefully educating people about feminism and why their points of attack are completely moot.

However, I’m not just here to send you over to the Daily Beast (cause you really should read it yourself). I would like to praise on two particular points.

1) She identifies a tool to combat self-criticism.

I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside myself. I thus abstain from all media about myself. The only thing that matters is how I feel about myself, my personal integrity, and my relationship with my Creator. Of course, it’s wonderful to be held in esteem and fond regard by family, friends, and community, but a central part of my spiritual practice is letting go of otheration. And casting one’s lot with the public is dangerous and self-destructive, and I value myself too much to do that.

Maybe some of you don’t have this problem of self-esteem, but I definitely do. It’s extremely helpful to see how another woman combats her self-criticism and where she draws her boundaries. I believe we need more women discussing these types of tools.

2) She defines patriarchy as a system.

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.

As I mentioned in a previous post, feminism is about identifying the system. It’s about identifying the winners and losers of the system, and then determining what formal/informal rules are reinforcing the system. Sexism is something both men and women participate. I am really glad Judd correctly identifies this and gives it the boot it deserves.

*Small vocabulary changes have been made after posting!