It’s a sign of how anxious the right wing is about the possibility that Ashley Judd might run for Senate against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that the attacks on her have geared up before she’s even formally entered the race. There’s the American Crossroads ad trying to frame her as out of touch with a series of relatively anodyne and contextless quotations. And now, the Daily Caller, which has been trying to frame Judd’s feminist beliefs as fringe, has launched the stupidest salvo against her at all: arguing that Judd, because she has done nude scenes for her work as an actress, “has—literally—nothing left to show us.” In an exceptionally gross piece, Taylor Bigler, the Caller’s Entertainment Editor (Entertainment, in Caller parlance, apparently means surfing Mr. Skin and publishing clickbait trash gossip) writes:
We are used to knowing just about everything there is to know about serious political candidates. But will Judd be the first potential senator who has — literally — nothing left to show us? 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. It seems like she was particularly liberal with nudity early on in her career…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.
It may come as a surprise to the Daily Caller, but actresses don’t generally take their clothes off on-screen as an expression of some sort of groovy seventies lifestyle, or as a way to have sex with people who are not their spouses or partners. Rather, getting asked to take off some or all of your clothes is, for a lot of actors, a frequent requirement of the job, and something that until recently, tended to be asked of women more frequently than men.
Attacking Judd for her nude scenes is part and parcel of the right’s current strategy to discredit promising female advocates. Like Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke, the Caller’s attempts to impugn Judd as an exhibitionist are an attempt to make her seem less serious by impugning her sexual chastity (that this tactic remains in the playbook is a whole other world of crazy). But the evidence is even more specious and pathetic here. Fluke, who became engaged shortly after enduring nationally-broadcast attacks on her character, stumped for birth control access in the real world. Judd took her clothes off as part of fiction. The Daily Caller may not know the difference, but voters do. And Judd, who already knows a thing or two about the insanity of media scrutiny, is getting a real, and sadly valuable education in what you have to be willing to take if you want to be active in American public life as a woman.