Kit Steinkellner
August 06, 2016 11:54 am
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In October 2014, Renée Zellweger stepped onto the red carpet for the first time since 2010, and she was immediately excoriated by the media for they said was facial plastic surgery (Zellweger has repeatedly denied that she has participated in any procedures). It was upsetting to see Zellweger put under this judgmental microscope, and the media circus reminded us just how unforgiving our culture is about women aging.

With Zellweger’s new movie Bridget Jones’ Baby coming out in September and Renee back in the limelight, the actress took to the Huffington Post to pen a personal essay detailing how she feels about this toxic culture of humiliation.

“It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance,” Zellweger writes.

“Although we have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence, the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains, and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment.”

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Zellweger holds the culture at large accountable, but she specifically focuses on the media in her essay.

“What if immaterial tabloid stories, judgments, and misconceptions remained confined to the candy jar of low-brow entertainment and were replaced in mainstream media by far more important, necessary conversations?” Zellweger asks.

“What if we were more careful and more conscientious about the choices we make for ourselves, where we choose to channel our energy and what we buy into; remembering that information — both factual and fictitious — is frequently commodified as a product, and the contents and how we use it are of significant personal, social and public consequence?”

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She then puts forth a possible answer to these questions, and it’s pretty simple. In a powerful conclusion, Zellweger suggests that we need to search our own feelings about why we line up to be spectators for humiliation, and what exactly it is that makes us focus on surface-level concerns instead of the many pressing real problems society is facing.

Universal Pictures/Giphy

Hear, hear. To read Renee’s essay in full, head on over to the Huffington Post.

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