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Carrie Fisher and the ageless princess by Mariana Lins

by Ethan Tussey

The long awaited comeback of Carrie Fisher in "Star Wars - The Force Awakens", in 2015, was greatly celebrated by the fans of the saga, however some of them seemed to get sort of astonished at what they saw on the big screen: a 59-year-old actress playing a mature version of the young character that she was best known for. It should sound as something normal, but when it comes to Hollywood and its youth culture, reinforced by mass media, the shocking is inevitable. Princess Leia is no longer a sex symbol. She is now a general and also a regular middle-aged woman whose remarkable struggles can be found in every inch of her body, such as Carrie Fisher herself.

After "The Force Awakens" premiere, columnist Kyle Smith wrote an article to New York Post criticizing Fisher's looks on screen and her complaints about those saying "she did not age well". According to him, since Fisher was a public figure, she should put up with the judgments on her looks or quit acting, in fact, she must also be grateful to Disney for being forced to lose weight for the role. In sum, Hollywood double standard was nothing but foolish. Fisher, on the other hand, used her Twitter account (@carrieffisher) in order to contest Smith and make several statements about the subject: "youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they are temporary happy biproducts of time and/or DNA", she tweeted.

Female body has always been an enigma to society as it arouses different kinds of issues: object of surveillance, dispute and power. In the movie business, age seems to remain a ruthless value, among others like race and gender, that can define whether you are interesting or profitable enough to the industry. By standing up against Smith's words, Fisher helped to increase the aging debate on the media and extend it to the audiences as well.


For In Media Res, 2017

from Carrie (2017)
Creator: Mariana Lins
Distributor: Vimeo
Posted by Ethan Tussey