Ashley Judd is reeling over the harsh comments made about her so-called "puffy face." The actress, whose rep revealed that the puffiness was a side effect of prescription steroids she was taking to treat an illness, is "hurt" by the reactions and believes that "the hatred of women" is what "invites the criticism."
"I don't think that being a public figure makes it legitimate to criticize people the way they are currently criticized in this cultural climate," Ashley, who turns 44 next week, told NBC News in an exclusive interview. She said she was offended by the "nasty, vitriloic and gloating tone" the comments took and believes that the "objectifcation of women" plays a huge part in why people believe they can poke fun at and critique the bodies of others.
"If I look bad, I've had work. If I look too good, I've had work," Ashley explained. "It hurt me. It hurt my feelings.
"We're taught not to admit how much it hurts," she added of the scrutiny men and women face in today's society. "Just go buy more hairspray, get back to the gym, or buy another butt-clencher exercise DVD — that's how to undo the hurt. When, in fact, that's just contributing to the pain."
Ashley hopes that critics will soon realize the pain they are causing, although it's doubtful.
"My 'puffy face' moment is another person's 'big butt' moment," Ashley said. "What happened to me is very common.... We all go through it."