Ashley Judd has been outspoken about her feminist beliefs; therefore, it was really no surprise that Judd appeared as a prominent speaker at the women’s march in Washington D.C. However, even Judd supporters were likely shocked about at least some of the content in the poem selected for reading at the event. The “nasty woman” poem was written last year by a 19-year-old Dunkin’ Donuts employee from Tennessee and was picked up by Judd to highlight the reason behind the women’s march. However, one portion of the poem seemed to go against everything Judd stands for regarding verbal abuse of women. Many have said the poem was tantamount to the “verbal rape” of Ivanka Trump, something that Ashley Judd has condemned in the past.
To better understand the controversy, we must look at Ashley Judd’s history of being a vocal supporter of women’s rights. In an op-ed written for Mic, Judd’s position as a feminist figurehead became clear. She notes it began when she filed a series of sexual harassment lawsuits against Twitter users who sent degrading and sexually abusive remarks to her online after she made a tweet about the Arkansas Razorbacks. Judd noted that being called names and having sexual violence threatened upon her for her comment was all too common for girls and women and she vowed to do something about it.
“What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet. Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood. My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually.”
Judd has advocated for harsher penalties for online bullying, harassment and threats of violence on the internet noting that it is traumatic for the women involved. In a TED Talk given in October of 2016, Judd discusses how verbal attacks affect women. She recounts some of the tweets she has received and what we can do as a whole to stop such treatment of women.
Therefore, many were surprised when Judd’s women’s march speech in Washington DC seemingly portrayed Ivanka Trump as the object of her father’s “wet dreams.” in which she decries herself as a “nasty woman” who isn’t quite as nasty as some other people called out in the controversial poem.
“Not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol. Like wet dreams infused with your own genes.”
Even Judd’s open supporters didn’t quite care for that line of the poem noting that it was tantamount to “verbal rape” noting that Ivanka should not have been on the receiving end of such vulgar and demeaning discussion at a women’s march.
— Al Holmes (@AlHolmes66) January 22, 2017
@AshleyJudd For the first time I'm ashamed and disappointed in you. What you said today about Trump and Ivanka was disgusting.
— Jackie (@JackieUSA78) January 22, 2017
— Media Liarz (@MediaLiarz) January 21, 2017
The 19-year-old writer of the poem, Nina Mariah Donovan, says that the poem was “art” and that she personally has nothing against Ivanka.
“I knew it was going to offend people. Everyone has their opinions but if I keep censoring myself then it’s not art. It’s no longer me. The only part (of the reaction) that bothers me is that they’re thinking I’m attacking Ivanka. I’m cool with Ivanka, we even have the same birthday. I don’t have anything against her but I do have something against a father sexualizing his daughter.”
Though Donovan and Judd are standing behind the poem, more than a few people believe the poem overstepped boundaries by calling Ivanka a “wet dream” for her father which could under Judd’s own admission, be detrimental to Ivanka should she read the poem.
Perhaps, it seems, Ashley Judd should listen to her own advice when it comes to being careful with one’s public words. Judd wisely stated during her TED Talk, “trauma not transformed will be trauma transferred.” Did Judd transfer her own traumas onto Ivanka by choosing to put the controversial poem on display at the women’s march in which Ivanka was portrayed as a “sex symbol” for her own father? Did Judd go too far?
[Featured Video by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]