Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tusk Editor's Note: April 13, 2012

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tusk Editor's Note: April 13, 2012

Article excerpt

One of these quotes about appearance was crafted by an award- winning writer. The other is from an actress. See if you can tell whose is whose.

First: "... I'm tall, slim, blonde and, so I'm often told, a good- looking woman. I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty -- the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks ... You'd think we women would applaud each other for taking pride in our appearances. I work at mine -- I don't drink or smoke, I work out, even when I don't feel like it, and very rarely succumb to chocolate. Unfortunately women find nothing more annoying than someone else being the most attractive girl in a room."

Second: "Who makes the fantastic leap from being sick, or gaining some weight over the winter, to a conclusion of plastic surgery? Our culture, that's who. The insanity has to stop, because as focused on me as it appears to have been, it is about all girls and women. In fact, it's about boys and men, too, who are equally objectified and ridiculed, according to heteronormative definitions of masculinity that deny the full and dynamic range of their personhood."

The latter is in a thoughtful piece by Ashley Judd, addressing critics -- largely of the Internet-based, non-professional kind -- who slammed her for looking "puffy" in the new TV drama "Missing," suggesting the 41-year-old must have had bad plastic surgery.

The former is from London's Daily Mail, typed by a woman named Samantha Brick. As if to paint a dartboard on, the "My life suffers because I'm beautiful" column came with photos of the also 41-year- old. She's OK, not bad-looking, though of course that's spoken from a lofty tower of objectivity. But the rage and ridicule Brick inspired comes from the same misplaced fervor in the Judd story: People don't wish to accept what 41-year-old hot looks like. It's 21- or-surgically-enhanced-bust. If even once-trim Val Kilmer sports a potbelly, one might have to gaze down upon one's own shortcomings. Or overlaps.

I feel Brick's pain from the time we published my "Don't hate me because I am a voodoo love god with bulging biceps, leonine hair and a groovy car" column. Talk about backlash. …

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