“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments. They’re the temporary happy byproducts of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”
Carrie Fisher, otherwise known as Princess Leia, once inspired countless fantasies for Star Wars fans and non-fans alike. At the time, she was in her mid-twenties and from what I’ve gathered in my 34 years of socialization, women in their twenties are just more… appealing to the masses. To say that a woman looks good for her age implies that she has maintained some of that youthfulness she once possessed. Because getting older isn’t pretty. At least, not in the eyes of a camera.
Cameras have been used to capture important events and splendid sights. We hope that by taking a photo we can somehow make that moment last forever and remember the exquisiteness found there. But time is fleeting, just as youth and beauty are transient worldly notions… nothing lasts forever.
Change is the only constant and yet we resist it with such brute force. We use words like: fat, ugly, old and gray, wrinkly, decrepit to express our disapproval of the aging process. In fact, it is words such as these that Ms. Fisher was responding to in the quote above. The general assumption seems to be that what you have contributed to the world, as a woman, doesn’t matter unless you looked good doing it. And if you are no longer found to be sexually appealing, according to the masses, you have nothing more to offer. News flash: Leia is a fucking Jedi. Back the fuck off.
Oh, and I’m sorry… did Carrie Fisher critics miss seeing the comeback of 73-year old Harrison Ford on the screen?! He’s 14 years her senior and yet somehow he has managed to be found exempt from accusations of being OLD (gasp!) or from receiving any negative slurs that tend to surround the inevitable.
Other accomplished starlets have remarked on the pandemic of ageism/sexism permeating Hollywood, like Maggie Gyllenhaal who, at 37, was told last spring that she was too old to play a 55-year old woman. Movies where the leading actor is twice the age of the actress playing his love interest is not uncommon; the same cannot be said of leading actresses. “[Men are] fuckable forever. They could be 100 with nothing but white spiders coming out [of their dick], but they’re fuckable.” —Last F–kable Day sketch from “Inside Amy Schumer”
If we continue to look to the camera to tell us what is alluring, enticing, captivating, we are certainly missing out on the bigger picture. No wonder men, as they age, continue to be sexually attracted to women old enough to be their daughters. They’ve not learned to notice the beauty and grace worn by the faces and bodies of aged women (read: women their own age!) They’ve been taught that they can grow old and still remain “fuckable”. But women, we must forever maintain that youthful glow, with soft taut skin and tight bodies, round lips and supple breasts if we are to be considered desirable .
The attention that women continually seek from the camera seems to have given men the impression that it is within their right to act like morons. Most of Carrie Fisher’s recent critics were guys of all ages. With so many young and beautiful women vying for public approval, men carry on as though they have the authority to criticize models and actresses for any little blemish that might tarnish their “perfection”. We have become obsessed, as a society, with this notion of perfection just as we are preoccupied with juvenescence. Alas, we are in an age that is afraid to age.
Women: What will you cling to when your youth and beauty fade? What contributions will you have made? Fear not the loss of admiration for things beyond your control for “fear is the path to the dark side.”