When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

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When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:14 am

When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?
by Jennifer Weiner
January 8, 2016

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AS a lifelong devotee of fashion and tabloid magazines, I’ve read dozens of “Beautiful/Sexy at Any Age” features. You’ve probably seen these spreads, showcasing a bevy of lovely women whose faces, fashions, exercise routines and skin-care regimens are laid out to encourage imitation. For years, readers could stare at starlets and actresses and singers in their 20s, their 30s, their 40s and even edging bravely into their early 60s.

Then — nothing. While Vogue’s most recent “Age” issue expanded its range to include a runner in her 90s, and People’s “World’s Most Beautiful” made room for 75-year-old Jane Fonda in 2013, those are exceptions. It’s as if, for the purposes of good looks and sexiness, older women simply cease to exist. Or maybe they turn 60 and go marching, “Children of the Corn” style, into the racks at Nordstrom, never to be seen again.

On one hand, it’s obvious discrimination. The Golden Globes are Sunday night, and the red-carpet parade is likely to include the nominees Lily Tomlin and Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren and Ms. Fonda, proving that a woman can be stunning and stylish when she’s 70, or beyond.

On the other hand, those magazines always gave me — and, I suspect, other female readers — a little hope. Reading into the absences, you could make out a finish line, a point at which you were no longer expected to perform what sometimes feels like a woman’s major duty in life — looking good for men. You could bobby-pin the “babe” tiara atop the next generation’s head, throw away your Spanx and your food scale and enjoy your accomplishments, your grandchildren, your free time.

Sadly, recent events suggest that the finish line has moved — if it existed at all. Consider the fuss over Carrie Fisher, who reprised her role as Princess Leia Organa in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” almost 40 years after her debut in the original “Star Wars,” when she was 19.

In the decades since the first film, both the actress and her character have dealt with a lot — mental illness and addiction in Ms. Fisher’s case, intergalactic warfare in Princess Leia’s. One might assume, what with the Dark Side to contend with, that the princess-turned-strategist might have found herself too busy to attend Pilates class, or to hunt down coconut flour for paleo pancakes.

But the “Force Awakens” filmmakers determined that Leia should not only be smart and powerful, but she needed to be slender, too. “They don’t want to hire all of me — only about three-quarters!” Ms. Fisher said.

She ended up losing weight for the role. Still, some fans were displeased. Online discussions about Ms. Fisher’s looks raged across social media. When the actress objected, tweeting “please stop debating about whether OR not I have aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my feelings,” Kyle Smith, writing in The New York Post, swiftly put her in her place. Ms. Fisher should be as grateful to the studio for making her drop the pounds as she’d be if they’d forced her to quit heroin or cigarettes, he wrote, lazily equating “thin” with “healthy.” Never mind that many of the medications used to treat bipolar disorder can cause weight gain.

But the scorn didn’t stop there. “If she didn’t want the public to talk about her, she could have spent the last 40 years teaching kindergarten,” Mr. Smith wrote of the actress, and the discussion of her appearance. Which makes me wonder whether he’s ever visited a playground. Or eavesdropped during back-to-school night. The truth, as any woman can tell you, is that there’s no place, no profession, nowhere that a woman’s looks don’t matter. Just go live a quiet, private life? Tell it to the women on the London Tube, who say, last month, they were handed cards by people claiming to be from a group called “Overweight Haters Ltd,” which read, in part, “it’s really not glandular, it’s your gluttony … you are a fat, ugly human.”


If that isn’t depressing enough, an unlikely voice has joined the fix-yourself-fatties chorus. Oprah Winfrey is all over your TV, your phone, your Instagram feed, urging women to join her on yet another weight-loss journey with Weight Watchers. “Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be,” Ms. Winfrey says in the minute-long ad for the company. “Many times you look in the mirror and you don’t even recognize your own self because you got lost, buried, in the weight that you carry.”

Seriously? Oprah Winfrey, with all her influence, all her accomplishments, the school she’s built and the money she’s earned, is still feeling lost, buried, or like she’s not her best and most authentic self? Shouldn’t Oprah, of all people, be open to the possibility that she already is the woman she’s meant to be? And when you’re 61, are you really, still, expected to be fretting over whether you’ve got your “best body”? Can’t you just page through your high school yearbook, eat the way your cardiologist says you should, and call it a day?

Maybe Oprah’s find-that-woman-inside-shtick is unvarnished honesty, or maybe it’s savvy salesmanship. In October, Ms. Winfrey became a part owner of Weight Watchers, investing $43.2 million to purchase a 10 percent stake in the company. She joined its board of directors, enrolled in the program and has been trumpeting her 15-pound loss. She has been less vocal about the paper profit of more than $70 million she made after her involvement was announced.

If she keeps that weight off, she’ll be a statistical outlier. On Weight Watchers, as with any diet, “you lose weight in the short run, and it comes back in the long run,” says Traci Mann, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and the director of its health and eating lab. “Your body senses deprivation and launches all of these changes to make sure you don’t starve to death, to make sure you eat. And they are effective changes — you think about food more, you want food more, it looks tastier to you, you can’t get it out of your mind.” So you eat. And you regain the weight.

Weight Watchers’ business model depends on repeat customers, Professor Mann says, adding, “I’m really depressed that Oprah’s done this.”

While her viewers have long seen Ms. Winfrey’s ups and downs — who can forget the wagon full of fat she schlepped onstage in 1988 after a liquid diet left her 67 pounds thinner — lately, she’s talked more about self-acceptance than she has harped on weight loss.

But just because Oprah’s back on the New Year/New You bandwagon doesn’t mean we have to follow. Each new year, women are encouraged to reduce — to measure out our lives in 55-minute barre classes and four-ounce servings of chicken breast, to adhere to the diet that we’re sure is going to work this time, even if none of the other diets worked any of the other times. Plastic surgeons run ads for injectable fillers, body contouring and laser skin resurfacing to stave off the inevitable.

But what if, instead of investing in paid diets and microdermabrasion, we donated our dollars to worthy charities and gave our time to the food pantry or elementary school? What if we thought about adding things to our lives — new foods, new skills, new classes, new walking routes — instead of taking things away?

“Lose weight and gain so much more,” invites Weight Watchers’ website. If you’re looking for a New Year’s slogan, here’s another one to try — in 2016, let’s look beyond the superficial and all resolve to make more of ourselves, not less.

Jennifer Weiner is the author, most recently, of the novel “Who Do You Love,” and a contributing opinion writer.
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Re: When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:24 am

‘I’M IN A BUSINESS WHERE THE ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER ARE WEIGHT AND APPEARANCE’
by The Good Housekeeping Features Team
7 December 2015

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Our January 2016 cover star, Carrie Fisher, talks candidly about the film industry, celebrity and the surprising new love of her life.

The new Star Wars film is the most hotly anticipated release of the century, and there’s nobody we want to see more than Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. But how has life treated her in the 38 years since she first wore those famous hair buns? How has it been, going from teenage pin-up to acclaimed screenwriter and novelist? Has she recovered from her Hollywood childhood and the trauma of her father leaving her mother, Debbie Reynolds, for Elizabeth Taylor?

With just days to go before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Carrie talks exclusively and honestly to Good Housekeeping. She opens up about the industry’s obsession with her weight, her relationship with her parents and the surprising new love of her life. Read on for a taster – to see the full interview, get the January issue of Good Housekeeping, out now.

Carrie reveals she was pressured to lose more than 35lb for the new film

‘They don’t want to hire all of me – only about three-quarters! Nothing changes: it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.’

...and talks about how she lost it

‘I did it the same way everybody has to – don’t eat and exercise more! There is no other way to do it. I have a harder time eating properly than I do exercising. It’s easier for me to add an activity than to deny myself something. And when I do lose the weight, I don’t like that it makes me feel good about myself. It’s not who I am. My problem is they talk to me like an actress, but I hear them like a writer.'

She speaks candidly about Hollywood’s obsession with appearance

‘We treat beauty like an accomplishment, and that is insane. Everyone in LA says, “Oh you look good,” and you listen for them to say you’ve lost weight. It’s never “How are you?” or “You seem happy!”’

And what was it like to grow up as showbiz royalty?

‘I looked at my mother and said, “Wow. She is gorgeous and I don’t look like her, therefore I’m not pretty. And my father doesn’t visit… I mustn’t be pretty because he likes pretty women.” You think, I’ll go into show business because then I’ll get enough love and they will put make-up on me properly and then my life will work.’

Will she ever get married again?

‘I’d like to in theory, but it’s very hard for women in show business. I don’t want to make someone Mr Fisher. The most important things in my life now are my mother, my daughter, my friends and my dog, Gary. He travels everywhere with me! I love that saying: make me become the person my animal thinks I am. If I am who Gary thinks I am, I’m fantastic!’

Read the full Carrie Fisher interview in the January 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale from 1 December 2015. Subscribe to Good Housekeeping here or download a digital edition. Stay up to date with us every day on Facebook and Twitter.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released on 17 December 2015.

To keep you occupied in the meantime, here are 10 things you probably didn't know about Carrie Fisher:

1. Her parents are Hollywood legends Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. Carrie reportedly still lives right next door to her mother in LA.

2. She is an alumnus of the London Central School of Speech and Drama – but didn’t graduate. The school, however, granted her with an Honorary Fellowship in 2011.

3. Carrie competed against many well-known Hollywood actresses for the role of Princess Leia, including Meryl Streep, Anjelica Huston, Glenn Close and Jessica Lange.

4. For the film, her breasts were taped down with gaffer tape, as her costume did not allow any lingerie to be worn underneath. She later joked, ‘As we all know, there is no underwear in space’.

5. She had to stand on a box for many of her scenes with Harrison Ford in the Star Wars movies, as she was about a foot shorter than him and often didn’t fit into the frame.

6. Carrie is a keen writer and her first novel, Postcards from the Edge, was published in 1987. She later adapted it for the screen, where it starred Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and Dennis Quaid.

7. A talented screenwriter, Fisher has also helped revise many Hollywood scripts, including Sister Act (1992), Outbreak (1995) and The Wedding Singer (1998).

8. Dan Ackroyd proposed to her on the set of 1980s film The Blues Brothers. She said, ‘We had rings, we got blood tests, the whole shot. But then I got back together with Paul Simon’.

9. The actress has guest-starred in a string of television shows, including Sex and the City, Smallville, Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory.

10. Her daughter, Billie Lourd, is following in her footsteps; currently starring in the TV show Scream Queens.
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Re: When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:29 am

Carrie Fisher Calls Out Shamers on Twitter: 'Please Stop Debating Whether or Not I Aged Well'
by Gabrielle Loya
12/29/2015

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Carrie Fisher
AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC


Carrie Fisher wants people to stop talking about her appearance.

"Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well," the Star Wars: The Force Awakens star, 59, tweeted on Tuesday. "Unfortunately it hurts all three of my feelings."

"My body hasn't aged as well as I have," she continued. "Blow us."

Carrie Fisher @carrieffisher
Please stop debating about whether OR not EYE aged well. unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my feelings. My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have. Blow us.
12:26 AM - 29 Dec 2015 · Los Angeles, CA, United States


Fisher previously spoke about being pressured to lose over 35 lbs. to reprise her role of Princess Leia.

"They don't want to hire all of me – only about three-quarters!" she told Good Housekeeping U.K. "Nothing changes, it's an appearance-driven thing. I'm in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that's how easy it is."

She told the magazine there is an unhealthy societal obsession with weight, especially in Los Angeles.

"We treat beauty like an accomplishment and that is insane," said Fisher. "Everyone in L.A. says, 'Oh you look good,' and you listen for them to say, 'You've lost weight.' It's never 'How are you?' or 'You seem happy!' "
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Re: When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:35 am

If Carrie Fisher doesn’t like being judged on looks, she should quit acting
By Kyle Smith
December 30, 2015

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Carrie Fisher arrives at the world premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Pity Carrie Fisher, who said she felt “pressured” to lose 35 pounds to reprise her role as Leia in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

It’s shameful of Hollywood to have done that.

One pictures similarly gruesome headlines for other entertainers. Imagine a Scott Weiland story on his 65th birthday in 2032: “Weiland: Those Record Company Bastards Pressured Me To Give Up Drugs in 2000.” Or 2001 lung cancer victim George Harrison still being around to angrily promote the Beatles on Spotify this Christmas Eve: “Harrison: Paul McCartney Bullied Me Into Playing Guitar on ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,’ Giving Up Smoking in 1969.”

Fisher told Good Housekeeping UK that — news flash — Disney didn’t love her weight when casting for “The Force Awakens” a couple of years ago.

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(From left) Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in “Star Wars” in 1977.Photo: AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation

“They don’t want to hire all of me — only about three-quarters!” Fisher said. “Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.”

Not really, because while it isn’t possible to get younger, it is possible (not to mention beneficial) to lose weight, which is exactly what Fisher did. What’s surprising about Fisher’s comments is the note of weary resignation about the importance of “appearance” in the movie biz.

No one would know the name Carrie Fisher if it weren’t for her ability to leverage her looks. George Lucas only cast her in the first place because she was young, slim and cute at the time. (She turned out to be a talented writer as well, but it’s an open question whether the second career would ever have gotten off the launch pad without the fuel provided by her first. Mostly she has written about what it’s like to be Carrie Fisher.)

This week Fisher had herself a Twittantrum when she noticed people were talking about whether she has “aged well” (she’s still only 59!) in the new movie. In a shaky-looking tweet posted at 2:26 a.m., she suggested her fans should “blow us,” meaning her body and her self.

Carrie Fisher @carrieffisher
Please stop debating about whether OR not EYE aged well. unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my feelings. My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have.Blow us.
12:26 AM - 29 Dec 2015 · Los Angeles, CA, United States


The source of her anger was fan discussion. “Please stop debating”? When has that ever worked? Fisher is a public figure. If she didn’t want the public to talk about her, she could have spent the last 40 years teaching kindergarten. As for whether it’s “messed up” for Hollywood to prefer pretty people to appear in its films, Fisher made millions off being pretty. Far from being bitter about this, she and other actresses who profited nicely from their looks should be grateful they had a turn at the top.

That’s more than average-looking people ever get. As for Disney’s “pressure” to lose weight, she should be even more grateful for being nudged to get healthy.
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Re: When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

Postby admin » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:49 am

‘Fat’ cards are being handed out on London’s Tube
BY Alexandra Gibbs
Tuesday, 1 Dec 2015
CNBC.com

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A group claiming to call itself 'Overweight Haters Ltd' has been handing out abusive cards to commuters on London's underground rail network, branding them as "fat" and "ugly."

National Health Service (NHS) worker, Kara Florish took to Twitter slamming the campaign group's "hateful" and "cowardly" tactics after being given a card on the London Underground.

The card went on, adding that Overweight Haters Ltd hated and resented "fat people", accusing them of "wasting NHS money" and adding "it's really not glandular, it's your gluttony."

kara Florish @kflorish
was handed this card on the underground. is hateful + cowardly +could potentially upset people struggling with confidence
Follow
Kara Florish @kflorish
@kflorish pic.twitter.com/gBIvj69WQ1
2:52 PM - 28 Nov 2015
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Overweight Haters Ltd.
It's really not glandular, it's your gluttony ...
Our organisation hates and resents fat people. We object to the enormous amount of food resources you consume while half the world starves. We disapprove of your wasting NHS money to treat your selfish greed. And we do not understand why you fail to grasp that by eating less you will be better off, slimmer, happy and find a partner who is not a perverted chubby-lover, or even find a partner at all.
We also object that the beautiful pig is used as an insult. You are not a pig. You are a fat, ugly human.


The British Transport Police have announced that they are aware of the cards, and ask anyone who was handed one to call them.

"We have spoken to a number of people and, to date, have had two formal complaints and several anecdotal reports," the police said in a statement Tuesday.

One person reported on social media that he saw a woman in tears after a "young man" at Oxford Circus handed her a printed card saying "You're Fat".

People across the globe ran to the woman's defense, condemning the actions of Overweight Haters Ltd.

Kara Florish @kflorish
@kflorish pic.twitter.com/gBIvj69WQ1
AmandaHudg @dersalers
@kflorish I'm so sorry this happened to you. What absolutely cruel inhuman cowards. Love sent from Texas ❤
5:46 PM - 30 Nov 2015


Anna @TGAnnaWade
Overweight Haters Ltd are clearly very limited people...
8:42 AM - 30 Nov 2015 · Lambeth, London, United Kingdom


Kara Florish @kflorish
was handed this card on the underground. is hateful + cowardly +could potentially upset people struggling with confidence
Not Dressed As Lamb @notlamb
@kflorish I hope this brings a smile to your face. Be smug in the knowledge you're a kind and decent human being x pic.twitter.com/Jhv0HqSA3p
10:50 AM - 30 Nov 2015
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Bigot Detesters Ltd
It's really not personal, it's your personality ...
Decent human beings dislike and resent bigots. We object to the enormous amount of positivity you extinguish while half the world is doing their best to find happiness. We disapprove of your wasting time and resources to feed your own low self-esteem. And we do not understand why you fail to grasp that by treating others with kindness you will be more popular, less stressed, nicer to be around and find a partner who is not a sadomasochist, or even find a partner at all.
We also object that the (sometimes cute) troll is used as an insult. You are not a troll. You are an insignificant, ugly human.


Emma Oulton @eggplantblog
If someone hands me an Overweight Haters Ltd card on the tube I'm gonna eat it
10:41 AM - 30 Nov 2015


Catherine Gee ✔ @catherinegee
I really really want to see someone hand over one of these Overweight Haters Ltd cards so I can take them to task on their spelling.
10:28 AM - 30 Nov 2015


Erin Cardiff ✔ @erincardiff
LIFE HACK: Given a fat-shaming card? Use it to spoon Nutella directly out of the jar. Hazelnut based spread > haters #OverweightHatersLtd
6:39 AM - 1 Dec 2015


Companies from all walks of life including personal care brand, Dove, and plus-size clothing designer, Navabi, have reached out on Twitter to show their support to those affected.

Kara Florish @kflorish
@kflorish pic.twitter.com/gBIvj69WQ1
Follow
Dove UK & Ireland ✔ @DoveUK
@kflorish We salute your bravery. #SpeakBeautiful.
12:23 PM - 30 Nov 2015


navabi @navabiFashion
If anyone can find this woman, we'd like to offer her a free outfit up to £500. Life is short. Be positive. https://twitter.com/thomasknox/status/6 ... 9824287744
7:18 AM - 30 Nov 2015


navabi @navabiFashion
If anyone can find this woman, we'd like to offer her a free outfit up to £500. Life is short. Be positive. https://twitter.com/thomasknox/status/6 ... 9824287744


navabi @navabiFashion
We're getting cards printed & going to Oxford Circus to give to people. Feel free to use & do the same if you like pic.twitter.com/IeU7eIuUzC
8:21 AM - 30 Nov 2015
Image


Local government body responsible for the city's transport, Transport for London (TfL), has issued a statement about the matter, saying the anti-social behavior wouldn't be tolerated.

"All of our customers have the right to travel with confidence, and this sad and unpleasant form of anti-social behavior will not be tolerated," Steve Burton, director of enforcement and on-street operations at TfL, said in a statement emailed to CNBC.


—By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.
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Re: When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:23 am

Carrie Fisher's Comments on Appearance Are Even More Revolutionary Than You Think
by Sarah Seltzer
January 4, 2016

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Internet denizens got into our customary “go girl!” frenzy when Carrie Fisher took on critics of her appearance — initially aiming her virtual blaster at grousing fans and subsequently firing back at nasty New York Post writer Kyle Smith for sneering at her age. As these cycles tend to go, it was a rout. The masses cheered, deeming Fisher even more heroic than she was when Princess Leia singlehandedly strangled Jabba the Hutt. It seemed like yet another feel-good moment for pop-culture feminism, with Carrie Fisher as the latest “queen” who “owned” her “haters.”

Except what Fisher actually said went deeper than one might initially consider, even tweaking and undermining some of the accepted wisdom of today’s iteration of online feminism. She didn’t just say what many of her supporters said: “Stop hating — I’m a beautiful older women.” Instead, she basically said, “Screw beauty, it’s superficial anyway, and my other attributes matter way more than my appearance.”

How else to interpret her statements on Twitter? “Youth and beauty are not accomplishments.They’re the temporary happy by-products [sic] of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either,” Fisher wrote. And: “My body hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us.” And finally, my favorite: “My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places and in front of faces where there’s something to say or see.” This latter statement is a somewhat shocking thing to hear in our cultural moment of hallowed mind-body connectedness. Whatever our ideology, we are a culture that enthuses about workouts and cleanses, seeking purification through physical transformation.

In fact, at this particular moment in time, dismissing beauty as unimportant and tedious, as Fisher has done, is positively radical. Today, selfies are celebrated, excellent lipstick is deemed feminist as hell, and putting in effort to look good is in no way seen as incompatible with empowerment. Nor should it be; feminism’s current relationship with beauty is focused on exposing the time and labor behind constructed appearances, and smashing the standards that reinforce white, thin female bodies (which Fisher was famous for having) by showing other bodies and faces as equally beautiful.

Praising Michelle Obama’s arms, spotlighting the new group of transgender models, and celebrating plus-size Instagram stars and athletes’ tough builds are all ways to push back against dominant and painful beauty standards. It’s vital and important work. And by doing this work, contemporary feminist are also shaking up stereotypes that haunt feminism: bra-burning, dowdy women who “don’t take care of themselves” on one end and shallow, manipulative shopaholics on the other. Contemporary feminist thinkers from beauty bloggers to Amy Schumer have successfully pointed out that most women are constantly buffing and primping just to look acceptably “bare” to male eyes. “Look at Beyoncé!” we cry. The most beautiful woman in the world is strong and wise, too, and her line “I woke up like this” cleverly pokes fun at the idea that cover-girl-worthy beauty is naturally occurring.

But what Fisher is actually saying goes even further beyond that level of critique and explanation: she thinks “taking care of yourself” is overrated, boring, and secondary to the life of the mind and spirit. She has gone on the record complaining about how dull it is to talk about dieting and exercise, and actively made fun of the training regimen she was on for the new films. She didn’t buy in to the idea that, as Kyle Smith suggested, she should be grateful for her new body or her fitness regimen, preferring to lay it bare as a mandatory, frustrating aspect of her work. These quips, and that attitude, earned her derision. But they also reinforce one of the best aspects of Star Wars‘ female characters: Rey and Leia are remembered by female fans for their baggy, nondescript desert outfits as much as male fans salivate over that one stupid slave bikini.

Speaking of the legacy of that lamentable bikini, as a woman who found herself fashioned into a sex symbol for nerds in order to sell a movie, Fisher may have particular cause for her utter rejection of her former body and disdain for the culture that worshipped it. And as a white woman, she has the privilege of remaking herself in her own image, critics be damned. So keeping her unique circumstance in mind, I don’t wish to valorize Fisher (I’m sure the outspoken actress has said many stupid and possibly offensive things in her time) — or even take her words as universally applicable and a Lesson For All Women Everywhere.

But I do think hers are words that 2016 needs to hear. Because her set of comments is also a corrective to a disturbing trend that Jia Tolentino nailed in her year-end essay on feminism, writing: “There is a growing inseparability between female narcissism and feminist liberation and female identity full stop; there is an idea that women and women’s bodies have to be sacred, treated worshipfully or never mentioned, in order to be worthwhile.” In our efforts to course-correct the pernicious white male gaze, are we replacing it with a female gaze that, in its own way, emphasizes external appearance and glossy success over substance and ideas? At the very least, it’s a question worth asking.

I wish it were OK for young women who don’t care about appearance to acknowledge that our bodies are just our brain bags, and that what matters are the things that, as Fisher puts it, we “say and see.” Sure, some of us might want more adorned bags, or sleeker ones (no one’s coming for your lipstick or spinning class), or utterly pragmatic ones that simply take us from place to place. But at least none of us would accept it as a given that Oprah, the most powerful woman in the entertainment industry and culture at large, would mournfully endorse Weight Watchers with this upsetting statement: “Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be.”

As a fellow writer noted on Facebook, we should feel free to start with a premise that’s closer to Fisher’s: the person we want to be is already there, and our packaging is arbitrary window dressing for the inner character that matters. Carrie Fisher can’t be the only person who feels that way, so in this year of ascendant feminism, why is she so alone in expressing it?
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