The Daily Caller is on the hunt to squash a possible Ashley Judd Senate run before it even starts with the most idiotic of ploys: Attack her for being naked. With a political party so hell-bent on pounding the puritan pulpit regarding all things sexual – now they are angry about a person that just pretended to have sex. For shame.
Ashley Judd is an actress. Actors and actresses of all levels use their bodies in many ways to tell a story, many of these times without words. Sometimes the very best acting is contained in merely a facial expression, other times it is in showing the entirety of human body. What would Titanic be without Kate Winslet’s famous “drawing” scene? And after such a shameful display, she spent time fighting Autism and AIDS, and supporting Afghanistan relief. Angelina Jolie? She’s shown the goods on-screen a multitude of times…and is also a Special Envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner. Ashley Judd made a highly decorated career out of her theatrical pursuits and also holds a Master’s Degree from Harvard in Public Administration and engages in numerous charitable pursuits. She is on the board of directors for YouthAIDS as well as being on the leadership council for the International Center for Research on Women. Showing her body in or out of film does not make her or anyone else damaged goods or demean her achievements – that’s just plain sexism. Even worse, most of those films The Daily Caller decries as being practically pornographic are highly regarded films, not low-budget skin flicks. Of course they also had to bring up Frida in their article, because lesbians are twice as scary and intimidating as nudity.
Let me throw in some personal perspective. I was a theatre major in my first two years of college, and have been a part of many shows since in and out of that school. I walked in cold to two auditions my first week after hearing about them in a 101 Theatre Appreciation class. The first was A Christmas Carol, which was the reason I had shown up. The second was the play How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel. I knew not a thing about How I Learned to Drive, but tried out at the urging of my professor after auditioning for Carol. The next day’s actor call posting showed that I was walking away with contrasting rolls. Bob Cratchit in one, and a lead role in the second as Uncle Peck, a child molester.
I remember sitting down for the first reading for How I Learned to Drive with the cast and asking, “A lot of this physical stuff is just implied right? I don’t actually do any of this on stage?” I was to take the stage as a manipulative, abusive uncle that pushed my niece into sexual situations and molested her on multiple occasions from ages 11 to 18. The actress selected to play the physical roles was 18, but through the smoke and mirrors of theatre was made to look as young as possible. I would go out on that stage to make out with her, put my hands up her shirt and feel up her breasts, make her sit on my lap and hump her, and even stage a photo shoot with her where I slowly removed her clothing piece by piece. The role was incredibly brutal, and after the first night I could no longer come into the house after curtain call because each full crowd was furious at my character. I ended up earning a Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival nomination for my performance which was a great honor – should that mean I am no longer eligible for public office?
So, when I do make my inevitable senate run, I should prepare to be demonized by others for my performance in that role. I played a child molester! That play was not the end of roles I took which involved sexual situations with actresses in various stages of dress. Ashley Judd and I are both at vastly different levels of success, yet we both take jobs and try to perfect our craft (one pant leg at a time). The real issue here is a common one with some politicians. It’s not a problem with her politics, but her gender. Also a persisting idea that the female body is a dirty, dirty thing that needs covered up. Bring out the Burkas.
In the end, it’s not your damn business what Ashley Judd does or has done with her body. Start asking if she is the right person is for the job, rather than if someone saw her boobs, butt, etc. Ashley Judd isn’t a porn star, she’s a respected and intelligent actress that has taken a wide array of roles in a tough industry. The only question for Kentucky is whether or not she could serve her state and this country well – not an inquiry into her artistry or sexuality. If showing our bodies is an action that deserves a questioning of our character, lord help us all that go to the beach.
Paula Vogel won a Pulitzer Prize for How I Learned to Drive. Ashley Judd received multiple nominations and awards for her roles, even some of those in which she showed skin. I earned a Kennedy Center Theater nomination for being an effective predator on stage. To those that would pound a Bible to decry Ashley’s career actions, remember that it was Adam and Eve that were ashamed of their nudity once exposed, not God.
So grow up. Women have boobs – if they show them it does not soil them for life. It is time that there stop being a different set of rules for women and men concerning nudity, sexuality, and shame. And frankly, the political party most affiliated with sexism and scandal doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing anyone else about what they do with their bodies. It’s far better to have a senator in office that has shown their body rather than their stupidity, racism, or corporatism. If conservatives are really at a place that they go so far as to criticize people for their artistry rather than their politics, they are really grasping at sexist straws.
Good luck in 2014, Ashley. Apologize for nothing.
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