Ashley Judd: ‘It’s OK for Me to Stand Up for Myself’

3 minute read

Ashley Judd has lost her patience. She’s done taking the kind of abuse that is routinely thrown at well-known actresses, and she’s added “gender activist” onto her already very long resume.

Judd came to TIME’s offices recently to talk about her new movie Big Stone Gap, out Oct. 9. It’s a romantic comedy about a 40-year-old “spinster” in a rural West Virginia town who grapples with grief and finds love, written and directed by Adriana Trigiani and co-starring Patrick Wilson. While Judd had a lot to say about the joys of making a movie in a town the resembled the rural community in which she grew up, we quickly moved onto other topics. Check out our video interview above, and read on for more about what Judd had to say on cyber-bullying, Hollywood ageism and why Hillary Clinton is having such a hard time.

On experiencing extreme cyber-harassment after she tweeted about a sports event (read her essay about it here):

There’s absolutely no distinction between the effect on the brain [between] cyber violence and physical touch, because it is a brain event. It imprints on our neurochemistry and it goes into the very biology of our bodies.

On why actresses are subject to so much ageism:

I think that ageism in Hollywood, like ageism in all aspects of our global life, is simply a reflection of what’s going on everywhere. So we can talk about it in Hollywood or we can talk about it in literature. We can talk about it in the newsroom…I think that movies reflect back to us… that harder work of facing my own mortality, right? Because it’s our own mortality that’s ultimately being mirrored back. And women go through that decades earlier than men.

On rape scenes on TV:

You know what rapes I would prefer to see on television? I’d prefer to see the second rape that happens when the forensic team shows up and there are no women on it. Or the girl or woman is debriefed multiple times because there’s a shift change….What I would prefer to see is the emotional aftermath [for the woman], you know, or the dysfunctional behaviors that arise, the lasting effect on generations of a family. Because that I think is what motivates people to address it more so than constantly re-witnessing acts of sexual violation.

On Hillary Clinton and women’s issues in 2016.

You know, you have a strong, empowered, really well-educated woman with an incredible amount of experience who is trivialized and it’s astonishing…There’s really no such thing as women’s issues or dare I say [Laughs] — women’s health — that they’re American issues, that they’re family issues, that they are social issues. The greatest stimulus package, the greatest way to lift up the American economy would be to give equal pay to women.

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