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Portrait of the Actress Carrie Fisher member of the jury in the 70 Edition of Venice International Film Festival 2013/Wikipedia photo by Riccardo Ghilardi

I don’t want Princess Leia in a bikini

By Eric Blauer

I am a Syfy geek and a huge fan of the Star Wars series (yes, even the other ones) and I have been enjoying all ‘The Force Awakens’ mania except for one thing. It might be just me but I have loved hearing from the old cast except for one issue that Carrie Fisher has thread throughout her interviews. I find her body and age comments border on self-shaming even though they have been propped up as self-depreciating comedy.

Carrie Fisher Dishes on Return to ‘Star Wars’

Carrie Fisher on Ellen:

At first, I found myself laughing and then after a few piled up, I started wishing she would stop apologizing about her age and looks.

“Years of living longer makes you look worse…who knew about that?,” Carrie Fisher

It’s weird how our culture is so fascinated with ‘Then and Now’ photos (Star Wars characters Then and Now). We have a love hate relationship with age. There’s so much judgment thrown at a reality that all of us undergo. We verbally punish people, especially women actors, who don’t look the same in a Jabba the Hut slave bikini now that they are a grandma. It’s ridiculous and just adds to the already chronic problems of self-hate and body-loathing that is at the root of so many society ills.

The Bible highlights that beauty is far more than external attractiveness but is a full grown bloom of a life well lived from the inside out.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise,” Proverbs 31:30-31

I hope Carrie Fisher is at peace with herself and can champion the gift of being part of a iconic story instead of using it to feel bad about herself. There is nothing wrong with beauty, just the misrepresentation of what it truly is, the real truth is that a beautiful woman is made, not born.

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Pastor Deb Conklin

Eric,

It IS sad that a woman as vital and interesting as Carrie Fisher is insecure about this issue of aging and appearance. (I refrain from calling her beautiful because that would just feed into the problematic issue.) It would be wonderful if she could be pleased with the success of the Star Wars franchise and her work as an actress without detracting from that by even commenting on the aging/beauty issue. And yet… for women of ‘a certain age’ the cultural messages about this can feel overwhelming.

In my twenties I was one of those young and privileged women. People found me attractive. I was seldom without a date unless I chose to be. I flirted, I dated, and eventually I married a man that I loved. In my mid-thirties, I found myself unexpectedly divorced. And I discovered that, for me, the dating world had changed drastically. Even though I was still much more slender and younger looking than I am now, I was treated totally differently by men than I had been in my 20’s. And over the years, as I’ve gained weight and wrinkles and gray hair, the way I am treated has become ever more discouraging. I have not had a date in years. And on the rare occasions when I’ve plucked up the courage to ask ‘him’ out, I’ve been turned down. I doubt that my character has deteriorated that drastically, so I can come up with no explanation other than my appearance.

So, while I join you in lamenting Fisher’s self-deprecating comments, I also understand. In our culture, aging women lose much more than our looks.

Eric Blauer

Ah geez Deb, I am sorry, I know you didn’t share that to get sympathy or props but even still, that was a very honest and pain tinged comment and it made me feel a bit sad. I am sorry that wonderful people like yourself and other young and older people I love, suffer in a culture like ours, because of these issues.

I almost don’t want to say anything for fear of being like Job’s friends unless it’s the sit in silence part: “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”(Job 2:13 )

It’s a mess and that is one reason I love the Christian faith and the beautiful way it’s message and teaching if understood and followed, undermines that illusionary cultural narrative and builds up people instead of tears them down.

One of the most transformative aspects for me of coming to know and follow Jesus and learning the scriptures, was the reeducation on relationships, sexuality and personhood that I got. I was an ignoramus on the matters and there was a wake of pain behind me and within me because of it.

The teaching of Christianity opened me up to a new world that began a change in me that even touched the way I viewed beauty. So, I guess, I think there is hope but I pray people purposefully train their children to see the opposite sex through the biblical, redemptive narrative that places one another in the throne of saint and sister/brother not as a means to an end. It’s a change that got a lot of ugly out of my mind and heart.

Thank you for sharing and I totally agree with your observations.

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