11 April 2012

April Photo-A-Day Days 9 - 11

Hey Darlings!

Back to this Photo-A-Day thing I've got going on - 3 more days to give you today, and then we'll be all caught up!

April 9: Younger You

This is probably my favourite picture of the small version of me. My Dad's holding me, and my Mom took the picture. I really look happy in the picture, and it makes me smile when I see it. So, this is what I looked like when I was small! Much cuter than now :P (joking!!)!!

April 10: Cold
This day, the only "cold" I could think of was these ice cube trays in my freezer. They're cold - mainly because they live in a freezer and have ice in them.

April 11: Where You Ate Breakfast

Well, this is a picture of a desk. It is not my desk, obviously. But, my desk is where I ate breakfast today. I usually wind up eating my breakfast at my desk, because I'm up early in the morning, and I don't find I like to eat right when I get up. So, this is not only my workspace, but also my dining area as well.

I know this was a quick post, but I don't have too much to say about this set of pictures. Hopefully the next one or two will be more talk-inspiring!!

I hope you are all having an awesome day or night, and I shall talk to you very soon!



10 April 2012

A Conversation - Written by Ashley Judd

Hello Darlings!

I love this woman. This is her response to suggestions that she has gained weight/had plastic surgery on her face. What she says is 135% truth, and should be read by every single woman in this world, and probably also by every single man. We have to have pride in ourselves, and in each other, as women. We have to stand up for ourselves against these kinds of views. A size 8 does not mean you are overweight, nor does a size 12 or 14 make you obese. You are the only person who should dictate whether or not you feel beautiful - not the media, not other people, just you. You are the only person whose thoughts about you really, truly matter.

Please read this, and please learn from it, and walk a little taller tomorrow because of it. Love yourself, and love your girlfriends, because it is the only way to stop the madness that is the way that modern society views its women. It has to change - for us, for our daughters, and for our granddaughters. This is a good start, but it has to go on from this essay.

The Conversation

Posted on 
The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us. The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted.
As an actor and woman who, at times, avails herself of the media, I am painfully aware of both the conversation about women’s bodies, and it frequently migrates to my own body. I know this, even though my personal practice is to ignore what is written about me. I do not, for example, read interviews I do with news outlets. I hold that it is none of my business what people think of me. I arrived at this belief after first, when I began working as an actor eighteen years ago, reading everything. I evolved into selecting only the “good” pieces to read. Over time, I matured into the understanding that good and bad are equally fanciful interpretations. 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.
However, the recent speculation and accusations about the unusual fullness of my face in March, 2012, feels different., and my colleagues and friends encouraged me to know what was being said. Consequently, I choose to address it because the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle. The assault on our body image, the hyper-sexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.
A brief analysis demonstrates that the following “conclusions” were all made on the exact same day, March 20, 2012, about the exact same woman (me), looking the exact same way, based on the exact same television appearance. The following examples are real, and come from a variety of (so-called!) legitimate news outlets (such as HuffPo, MSNBC, etc), tabloid press, and social media:
One: When I am sick for a over a month and on medication (multiple rounds of steroids), the accusation is that because my face looks puffy, I have “clearly had work done,” with otherwise credible reporters with great bravo “identifying” precisely the procedures I allegedly have had done.
Two: When my skin is nearly flawless, and at age 43, I do not yet have visible wrinkles that can be seen on television, I have had “work done,” with media outlets bolstered by consulting with plastic surgeons I have never met who “conclude” what procedures I have “clearly” had. (Notice that this is a “back-handed compliment,” too – I look so good! It simply cannot possibly be real!)
Three: When my 2012 face looks different than it did when I filmed “Double Jeopardy” in 1998, I am accused of having “messed up” my face (polite language here, the “F” word is being used more often), with a passionate lament that “Ashley has lost her familiar beauty audiences loved her for.”
Four: When I have gained weight, going from my usual size two/four to a six/eight after a lazy six months of not exercising, and that weight gain shows in my face and arms, I am a “cow” and a “pig” and I “better watch out” because my husband “is looking for his second wife.” (Did you catch how this one engenders competition and fear between women? And suggests that my husband values me based only my physical appearance? Classic sexism. We won’t even address how extraordinary it is that a size eight would be heckled as “fat.”)
Five: In perhaps the coup de grace, when I am acting in a dramatic scene in “Missing, the plot stating I am emotionally distressed, have been awake and on the run for days, viewers remarks ranged from “What the f*&^ did she do to her face?” to cautionary gloating, “Ladies, look at the work!” Footage from “Missing” obviously dates prior to March 2012, and the remarks about how I look while playing a character powerfully illustrate the contagious and vicious nature of the conversation. The accusations and lies, introduced to the public, now apply to me as a woman across space and time; to me as any woman and to me as every woman.
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 indentify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.
A case on point is that this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact. (That they are professional friends of mine, and know my character and values, is an additional betrayal.)
News outlets with whom I do serious work, such as publishing Op-Eds about preventing HIV, empowering poor youth worldwide, and conflict mineral mining in Democratic Republic of Congo, all ran this “story” without checking with my office first for verification, or offering me the dignity of the opportunity to comment. It’s an indictment of them, that they would even consider the content printable, and that they, too, without using time honored journalistic standards, would perpetuate with un-edifying delight such blatantly gendered, ageists, and mean-spirited content.
I hope the sharing of my thoughts can generate a new conversation: Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? If not in the conversation about me, in parallel ones about women in your sphere? What is the gloating about? What is the condemnation about? What is the self-righteous alleged “all knowing” stance of the media about? How does this symbolize constraints on girls and women, and encroach on our right to be simply as we are, at any given moment? How can we as individuals in our private lives make adjustments that support us in shedding unconscious actions, internalized beliefs, and fears about our worthiness, that perpetuate such meanness? What can we do as families, as groups of friends? Is what girls and women can do different from what boys and men can do? What does this have to do with how women are treated in the workplace?
I ask especially how we can leverage strong female to female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women. It doesn’t actually matter if we are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. We experience brutal criticism. The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others – and in my case, to the actual public. (I am also aware that inevitably some will comment that because I am a creative person, I have abdicated my right to a distinction between my public and private selves, an additional, albeit related, track of highly distorted thinking that will have to be addressed at another time).
If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that is a feminist one, because it has been misogynist from the start. 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 hetereonormative definitions of masculinity that deny the full and dynamic range of their personhood. It affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self image, how we show up our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings. Join in – and help change – The Conversation.

April Photo-A-Day Days 5-8

Hello Lovelies! Long time no post!

Well, I suppose considering that my usual "long time no post" greetings are a month spaced, this isn't actually that long.

As I had announced in my last post, I took a mini-hiatus for the Easter weekend, as I was away from home and therefore not able to post anything. But, now I'm back, and I've got 4 photos from over the weekend for you! (Aren't you so excited!)

Here we go...

April 5: Tiny

At the time when this picture was taken, this peeled Cutie orange was the tiniest thing I had near me at the time. It really is tiny! And cute, which, I suppose is why they call them "Cuties." They taste AMAZING, and I have been taking them in my lunch to work for a while now. They're super easy to peel, too, so that's kind of nice. I'm going to stop rambling on about little bitty oranges now - particularly considering this is a beauty and fashion blog (supposedly).

April 6: Lunch

Lunch on Saturday was eaten at probably the coolest restaurant I've ever been to - Crépes à Go Go in Toronto (check them out on Facebook). The restaurant was quite small in size, but the food (again with the food?!) is big on taste, despite its simplicity. The crépes are also not served in the way that you would traditionally think - there are no plates here. Your order is actually served to you in a paper bag, which the waiter will tear open for you when he hands it to you. I will give a word of warning, though, these crépes are definitely fresh - they are about a thousand degrees when you first touch them, I swear! Anyway, this place also had an in-house made variation on a lemonade. My dining companion and I tentatively ordered a small bottle. They were out of small bottles - so we cringed and ordered the large bottle in it's place. We collectively take our cringe back - the Limonana (that's what this amazing brew is called) was AMAZING! The concoction is a mixture of filtered water, mint juice, lemon juice, and evaporated cane juice. The result is a sort-of lemonade that is equal parts palate cleansing and thirst-quenching. It makes an impeccable dance partner to the crépes served in this little café, and I urge all of you to, if you are in the Toronto area, seek out Chef Véronique and her créperie, and try something. Sit inside or outside, and just watch how the place works. That is totally my favourite part - just sitting there and listening to the staff shout back and forth in French to one another is really fun, and adds an authentic French atmosphere to the café. Anyway, if you're around Toronto, go try it out! Believe me, it's awesome.

April 7: Shadow

This is my cousin's cat. Her name is Shadow. Clever, no?

April 8: Inside Your Wallet

Well, the inside of my wallet isn't that exciting, I'm afraid. I do like the wallet itself, though. It was a major bargain from a Claire's store near me - I think when I bought it it was about $5. It's also silver faux-leather with some type of alligator-ish embossing. I like it. Anyway, it doesn't have a great deal in it, aside from a vast number of membership cards and some change. Oh, and coupons. I am apparently an old lady inside - I can't stop clipping coupons. Thankfully, not so much that I am a candidate for the TLC show "Extreme Couponing." That would be... well... extreme.

Anyway, I need a break from typing all of this - I'll get back to you on days 9 and 10 tomorrow (hopefully). I've been at this big guy for hours!

I hope you are all having a lovely day or night, and I shall speak to you soon!



4 April 2012

April Photo-A-Day: Part 2!

Hi Loves!

Well, time for the next instalment of my April Photo-A-Day challenge!

I didn't quite get around to posting yesterday, so we've got days 3 and 4 today.

Day 3 - Mail

This is a photo of the mailbox on the outside of my house. The mail goes in (obviously) and it says "MAIL" right on it. I considered taking a picture of my actual mail, but I was afraid of the crazies and decided not to post my address all over the internet. Generally not a good idea, wouldn't you agree?

And Day 4 (today!) is Someone Who Makes You Happy

I couldn't choose. I had to pick two of the people who make me the happiest in the world. These two girls are my best friends - have been since I was very small. These two, between the pair of them, are always there to make me smile if I'm upset, or to share in my happiness when things go right. I like to think I do the same for them. I love them both to the moon and back, and I wouldn't give them up for anything. Having them in my life makes me happy every single day, regardless of what's going on. They are my inner glitter. <3

Anyway, I'll stop sapping at you for now. I'll be back with more pictures after the Easter long weekend! I'll be away from my laptop from Thursday night til Sunday night, so between then, I won't be posting. I shall miss all of you, though!



2 April 2012

April Photo-A-Day Challenge!


Hi Girls!

I have been trying very hard to think of a way that I can blog every day, and recently, I came across the April Photo-A-Day Challenge! I have seen these challenges done before, and I thought it would be cool to try it out on my blog, instead of on twitter (not that I have anything against twitter, I just need more than 140 characters to be able to get my point across, as I am sure you have realized.)

So, I decided to go for it! Here is what the challenge entails:

Keep your fingers crossed, darlings! I am starting out with this today, because I did not have time yesterday to put up April 1st's photo. That said, please do not count on a photo every day, as there will be days where I am too busy, or too exhausted to even consider blogging (despite that it is not the most strenuous occupation in the world), and until I get some cash, don't count on amazing quality photos, either, I'm afraid - my blackberry camera is going to just have to cut it for all of us for the time being (I wish it was better quality too, I assure you)! 

So, here are the photos from yesterday and today!

April 1st: Your Reflection

Please pardon the fact that my bathroom mirror is really quite dusty. I need to clean it, apparently. Perhaps this is the other good thing about this challenge, it will show me when/where I need to clean things in my house.

April 2nd: Colour

In this case, I took a picture of the most brightly coloured thing I had close by - my laptop! It's a plain white macbook… when you don't have a hot pink hard plastic cover on it… with matching hot pink silicone keyboard cover. I adore it. The cover keeps my laptop (also absolutely my baby) safe and sound, as well as being completely adorable!

Anyway, I shall speak to you again as soon as possible - Hopefully tomorrow for April 3rd's photo - Mail!