Ashley Judd’s Speech at the Women’s March
January 21, 2017
My name is Ashley Judd, and I am a feminist. And I want to say hello to Independence Avenue in the back, all the way down to 17th Street, and I bring you words from Nina Donovan, a 19-year-old in Middle Tennessee. She has given me the privilege of telling you what she has to say: I am a nasty woman.
I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust – a man whose words are a distract to America; Electoral College-sanctioned hate speech contaminating this national anthem.
I am not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is gonna rise again; maybe for some, it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves just for being Black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.
I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag. And I didn’t know devils could be resurrected, but I feel Hitler in these streets – a mustache traded for a toupee; Nazis renamed the cabinet electoral conversion therapy, the new gas chamber, shaming the gay out of America, turning rainbows into suicide notes.
I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege.
I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokémon before their bodies have even developed.
I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol – like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.
But yah, I am a nasty woman – a loud vulgar, proud woman.
I’m not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth.
I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth.
I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson, why were the famous actors paid less than half of what the male actors earned last year? See, even when we do go into higher-paying jobs, our wages are still cut with blades, sharpened by testosterone. Why is the work of a black woman and a Hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter? This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality.
So we are not here to be debunked. We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty.
I am nasty like my bloodstains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me, if we could, some of us would. We don’t like throwing away our favorite pairs of underpants. Tell me, why are pads and Tampax still…well, there’s a brand name…why are tampons and pads still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more than protecting the sacred messy part of my womanhood? Is the bloodstain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?
I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country.
I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet – hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life, I have been zipping up my smile – hoping you don’t think I wanna unzip your jeans.
I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.
And our pussies ain’t for grabbin’. They’re for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sheikh – you name it – for new generations of nasty women.
So if you are a nasty woman or love one who is, let me hear you say:
I love you. Thank you.