"The misogynistic savages of both sexes have come out."

By Leah Groth
February 14, 2020

Despite all the strides in the past decade regarding body positivity and acceptance, social media is still a battleground for appearance-shaming—especially for celebrities who live (and age) in the public eye. Now, after dealing with some trolls of her own, Ashley Judd is fighting back against rude comments on Twitter.

Judd, 51, appeared in a recent campaign video for Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In the video, Judd showed her support by urging supporters to donate to Warren's grassroots campaign. But, instead of focusing on Judd's politics, Internet commenters decided to critique her looks, accusing Judd of getting plastic surgery, falling victim to a bad bee-sting, and not being able to "resist that Snickers bar."

Despite the extremely rude comments, Judd, known just as well for her activism with the #MeToo movement as her acting, fought back against the trolls with a lengthy op-ed shared on Facebook.

"Healthy self-esteem. Good boundaries. Unshakable knowledge of self," she began the poignant blog post. "These things are essential when I wake up & learn from caring friends that my appearance has been trending on Twitter. The misogynistic savages of both sexes have come out, as have plenty of folks who empathize and see it for what it is (woman bashing).”

She continued to point out the “gendered way” it distracted from her political speech: "The hate happened in response to a video in support of the Presidential candidate of my choice," she wrote. 

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While no one deserves an explanation to why Ashley might look different than she did a year ago, she went on to fill in the public on her health struggles. "What I know is that I have been sick with siege migraines for over a year,” she revealed, explaining that the condition bans her from doing anything but "mild walking exercise." Judd added that her last migraine lasted for "a grueling four and a half months," and that "along with medication, and the inevitable laziness that gathers around forced inertia, I have experienced some un-fun weight gain."

In the same post, Judd even owned the fact that, yes, she has gotten Botox injections—but for health reasons: “It is a standard treatment for the ailment that I experience. My union insurance pays for thirty-one injections every twelve weeks,” she admits. Adding that many of her friends suggested that she omit that information,”because it can be excerpted and used against” her, “but I think it's honest and real and is a public health message. Shame on anyone who distorts my words.”

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Greenwich International Film Festival

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Luckily, it seems as though Judd is on the upswing: “It has been joyful to resume running, yoga, and vigorous hiking, and I am already benefiting from everything that comes with movement. I've made a date with my favorite half-marathon in early June,” she wrote.

But she still wanted to address that her weight is not the issue here—the fact that people think they deserve to comment on it is: "What I know is that misogynists on Twitter have been slaughtering me compared to my pre-weight gain idealized self," she wrote. “My conventionally thin, athletic, ‘pretty’ AcroYoga body, and more slender face, is merely the flip side of the same patriarchal coin.”

She concluded the post by pointing out that because she finds peace from within, no matter how loud her haters are, they won’t be able to get to her: "Conversations about our female bodies will continue to roar—both about us and outside of us," she wrote. "What I know for sure is that my peace is on the inside, in spite of the patriarchy and all who participate in it, male and female."

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