Ashley Judd Clarifies Statements On Misogyny In Hip-Hop

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Because it can't be enough to simply focus on her recently released memoir chronicling her experiences with drug use and sexual assault as a child —or to fault her for her "less-than-perfect face" make-up application— Ashley Judd is now being criticized for comments she made in the book about "the misogyny surrounding hip-hop artists including Diddy and Snoop Dogg."


In an interview with her "pal" Russell Simmons, Judd said:

"My intention was to support artists to know that they have so much power. That they make incredible life changing impressions, particularly on the young. And we have choices everyday with our expressions, either empower and celebrate people or to re-enforce inequality and degradation," Judd said.

She continued: "There are elements, and that is the part that has been so distorted...what I'm being accused of is condemning rap and hip-hop as a whole, and the whole community and when they say community, they mean the fans, and African-Americans, it's become so generalized."

"My intention was to take a stand to say the elements of that musical expression that are misogynistic and treat girls and women in a hyper-sexualized way that are inappropriate. That is not acceptable in any artistic expression, in any cultural form, whether its country music or in television story lines. And if they read more than one paragraph in the book, they would see that all four hundred pages are about that," she concluded.

While it's unfortunate that this is the part of the book that people are focusing on —and that people seemed to assume she was talking about every hip hop or rap song ever recorded— it's even more unfortunate that I can't think of a single example of the specific type of hip-hop song she may have been referring to. Oh well.

Ashley Judd Responds to Book Backlash After Calling Hip-Hop a 'Rape Culture'



She didn't clarify anything, she defended herself. Judging from this bit she isn't taking the criticisms of her statments seriously. When Jezebel first posted those sections from the book, many commenters did a fine job of taking her to task. None of them—and likely few people anywhere—were pretending there was no misogyny in hip hop or acting like it's not a problem.

The issue was her using hip hop (black culture) and a jumping off point to discuss sexism in music when she is intimately familiar with country music (white culture), which has its own history of being pretty damaging to women. As this book is supposed to be a memoir of sorts, one that talks about her own abuse and the abuse of women around her as she was growing up in the country music industry, she could have very easily (and probably with more sincerity) used that "rape culture" as her main reference point.

Of course, she can write whatever she wants. But she should also be prepared for criticism when instead of being honest she chooses tired scapegoating.