Ashley Judd has penned a scathing rant about what she called the "sexist" and "mean" media reports and online comments about what she dubbed the recent "unusual fullness" of her face, which had spurred plastic surgery rumors.
The speculation began last month after the 43-year-old actress appeared in press interviews and candid photos. Judd, who stars in the new ABC series "Missing," had said at the time that she had taken steroids to combat the flu and a sinus infection. Her spokesperson denied that the actress had had cosmetic work.
In an essay titled "The Conversation," posted on her website on Tuesday, April 10, Judd said: "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."
"It would have been easy to let this Conversation simply fade away, replaced by latest media cycle news," Judd Tweeted. "However, it was so sexist & mean & indicative of what all girls & women live w/ daily, that I decided to write about it."
"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," she said in her essay. "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.'"
"Missing" premiered on March 15. Ratings for the show, which airs at the same time as FOX's "American Idol," have fallen from a 2.0 among adults aged 18 to 49 to a 1.5 on Thursday, April 5. Judd plays a single mother and former CIA agent who goes to track down her missing teenage son.
"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(expletive) did she do to her face?' to cautionary gloating, 'Ladies, look at the work!'" Judd said. "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."
Judd also addresses criticism made about her body, calling it "classic sexism."
"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,'" she said.
"If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one," she said. "Because it has been misogynistic 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."(Pictured above: Ashley Judd cheers watches the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game between Kentucky and Kansas on Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans. / Ashley Judd poses for a portrait on Mar. 13, 2012 in New York. / Ashley Judd appears in a scene from the 1999 movie "Double Jeopardy.")