I did it this morning. I threw away the “Smith Family Reunion: We’ve Come This Far by Faith” T-shirt, which I wore for years despite not being a Smith and not having any faith. Into the bathroom garbage also went an “I’m Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs” T-shirt, which I wore as some kind of ironic comment on corporate marketing to toddlers. Old, holey, too-small, rock T-shirts of concerts I never attended—gone. Even my beloved baseball cap that read “Gooseberry Pie” found its way into the pile of discarded floss.

As it turns out, Ashley Judd looks somewhat chubby or bloated lately.

I hadn’t noticed.

In fact, I had somewhat forgotten that she existed.

But apparently she is out promoting a new project, and at some point during the press junket, she was characterized as looking “puffy” or as if she’s gaining weight.

Little did they know, boy-o, the press had objectified the wrong Hollywood-actress-who-has-posed-nude-to-help-sell-magazines-and-fronted-a-cosmetic-line-but-also-objects-to-patriarchal-beauty-standards*:

Some time in the late nineties, some time around the release of the Ewan McGregor/Ashley Judd vehicle Eye of the Beholder, a friend asked me which living actress embodied the epitome of beauty.  Because I’d just seen Eye of the Beholder, I answered, “Ashley Judd.”  Sure, she’s a lovely woman, but what had really prompted my response was her nude scene in Eye of the Beholder in which we see her backside in all its dimpled imperfection.  She’s lovely … and she’s real.  And, more importantly, if her willingness to film this scene is any indication, she’s not ashamed of who she is as a woman.  And why should she be?

It’s a rare case when we are shown, in film or on television, physically imperfect (as society deems it) leading women who are meant to be the object of beauty and desire.  Even more rare is the leading woman who isn’t meant to be objectified at all.  But in 1999 Ashley Judd came close to achieving the former by the tiniest of margins with a little cellulite.  Baby steps.  I loved her for it.   And yesterday, when she posted a response to the body-snarking backlash to her “puffy” appearance of late, I decided I loved her a little bit more.