Ashley Judd and Seeing Our True Value

by lopc

Categories: Youth Ministry

Last night at BTW, we talked about (among other things) sex and pressures on both men and women to be and behave in certain ways. For men it tends to be: don’t show emotion, be steady and stable and strong, be the initiator in relationships, always be calm and collected. For women, on the other hand, it tends to be pressures to always look pretty, be emotionally vulnerable, and your body should look a certain way in order to qualify as beautiful, and be sure to defer to men in relationships.

These are myths that get forced on us by society, and if you have watched a movie in your lifetime, you can confirm that our culture sets expectations for men and women’s roles.

Recently the actress Ashley Judd was criticized in the media for an appearance in which she had a “puffy face.” Though she usually ignores what is written about her, in this case she wrote back forcefully to highlight the ridiculousness of the way especially women are treated by our society and media. It is a brilliant and strong piece, definitely worth the read.

A couple of really worthwhile things in this article jump out at me (Matthias):

1) The idea that women particularly are judged based on their bodies suggests that who we are belongs not to us, but to whoever sees us and makes a judgment about us based on limited information. She notes that this is true for men too, if they don’t match absurd ideals of “manliness.”

2) Did you notice this quotation?: “I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside 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.”

Now, I don’t know all the ins and outs of Ashley Judd’s religious views. But, I think this idea is a good one, that our value depends not on what others say about how we look or how we fit the mold, but on our relationship with our self and with God.

Beyond that, I love the idea of letting go of “otheration.” She doesn’t define this term, and you won’t find much about it, but I think the idea is: we turn “other people” into just “other” without an idea of them being people. The idea that she exercises her spirituality and faith by letting go of the ways people see her. What if we try to see ourselves as God sees us? What would that look like? Imperfect, but beloved, is my guess.

Looking at ourselves in that way helps us to connect with God and find our value in Christ alone, not the way society says we should be or act or look.

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