If you were unaware, actress Ashley Judd is considering a run for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
It’s a big deal given that the Hollywood star could be taking on not just any lawmaker, but Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Critics have suggested Judd is too liberal, too close to President Obama and too anti-coal to run in Kentucky. And she still lives in Tennessee.
But this week a new narrative questions whether Judd has been too nude to run.
From The Courier-Journal:
“…Judd has bared her body in several movies.The question is, how does that effect her chances of winning election if she decides to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.
We’ve not been so open-minded about our politicians shedding their clothes, however.Ask former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, who sent creepy photos of himself shirtless and with a bulge covered by boxer shorts to women with whom he wasn’t married. That’s why he is “former” U.S. Representative.
I asked WFPL arts reporter Erin Keane if Judd’s career is a salacious as political reporters were making it out to be. She says Judd has had a respectable career as an artist and her nude scenes aren’t comparable to a political sex scandal.
“Really what it points to is this interesting ‘slut-shaming’ zeitgeist that’s going on right now that says because you did things we don’t approve of you deserve a negative outcome,” she told me. “I feel that’s what is being implied here. That Ashley Judd does not deserve to be taken seriously because she has made these artistic decisions in her career.”
Keane also says male actors rarely—if ever—have to do nude scenes, and an analogy of Judd’s career to other actors turned politicians such as former President Ronald Reagan, Congress Sonny Bono or Sen. Fred Thompson doesn’t apply.
“There’s a double standard in ratings,” says Keane.”If you go full frontal male nudity you’re going to quite possibly end up with a NC-17 rating, which is the kiss of death.”
Other news organizations have jumped on this meme and asked outright if Judd will “be the first potential senator who has—literally—nothing left to show us?”
From The Daily Caller:
The actress has bared her breasts in several films and has had some raunchy sex scenes in others.
According to MrSkin.com, which bills itself as “the largest free nude celebrity movie archive,” Judd has flashed just about everything on-screen.
Judd did a lesbian sex scene in 2002′s Oscar-nominated “Frida” and has nine other films categorized as “sexy” by Mr. Skin, meaning that there is at least one racy scene in those films.
Both stories imply voters (read: social conservatives) may view Judd differently, or that these films could be used in attack ads. But women on opposite sides of the political spectrum say the subject of nudity in Judd’s acting career shouldn’t matter.
“In general I think that nudity is certainly not something that should preclude or disqualify you from running for office. If they’re comparing her being nude in a movie to the Anthony Weiner situation, that is very inappropriate. They are vastly different,” says Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand.
“I can think of tons of reasons why I wouldn’t want Ashley Judd to be our senator, and her boobs aren’t one (or two) of them,” says Durand.
The subject of nudity in a Senate race did come up a few years ago when it was revealed that Republican Scott Brown posed nude for the centerfold of Cosmo magazine. In the 2010 Massachusetts race, however, Brown got more of a pat on the back than ridicule.
Bobbi Jo Weber is treasurer of the Metro Louisville Women’s Political Caucus. She says Judd’s nude scenes shouldn’t have any bearing on her ability to serve, and if it’s used in an attack ad there would be a considerable backlash from women voters of all stripes.
“I’m not sure anybody wanted to see Ronald Reagan or Sonny Bono strip down,” she says. “It’s a sexist double standard. You don’t hear people talk about the way Mitch McConnell is wearing his hair, but you certainly hear a lot about the way that Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton styling their hair.”