Not Just a “Pretty” Role Model

Who didn’t fall in love with Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars? For most boys, it was that infamous Jabba the Hutt pseudo-bondage scene, right? But for girls—ah! for girls, we finally had our swashbuckling role model who could battle storm troopers with the best of them!

Finally, we got to be brave and beautiful. We got to be sexy and snarky…

Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?

We got to be all of that AND fall in love with the dashingly handsome renegade space cowboy…but I digress.

Carrie Fisher was beautiful in Star Wars, she was. Since then, she’s continued her acting career, starring in countless movies and television shows. She’s also an award-winning writer with best-selling novels, screenplays, televisions shows and magazine articles to her credit. She’s been on the New York Times Best Sellers list, won the Los Angeles Pen Award for best first novel, and has been nominated for both a Grammy and an Emmy Award.

She’s been married, raised a child, battled addictions and mental illness, succeeded in multiple careers—and remains an American icon now, more than 30 since her Princess days.

The first Star Wars film came out when I was 11 years old and more interested in Han Solo than female role models. I can’t claim to be an avid Carrie Fisher fan—most of the information herein came from her own website. What I can say is that I’ve always thought of her as smart and funny, successful and beautiful—part classic Hollywood, part modern woman.

So, I did a double-take when I saw her on television last night. A Jenny Craig commercial. Apparently, she’s lost 30 pounds. Which is great, really it is. Except that the parting image is Carrie looking into the camera saying:

“Thank you for letting me be pretty one more time.”

And it just broke my heart.

“You ARE pretty!” I yelled at the television before I shut it off in protest. “You always have been!”

Shame on you for thinking any less of yourself.

But SHAME ON YOUR MORE Jenny Craig for trying to make us think we’re only pretty when we’re thin and dieting. There is so much more to all of us than that kind of pretty, and so much more to which we can aspire.

4 thoughts on “Not Just a “Pretty” Role Model

  1. she sure is an icon – but then she’s always been very self-deprecating, so maybe that’s why she thought it was okay to say that hideous line – still, it’s not what i would expect of such a headstrong female – unless she’s not all that strong, not really… perhaps we put her up on a pedestal and kept her there too long? maybe she’s just a woman who, like so many of us, wants to look all svelte and glamorous sometimes so she can feel admired again… on one hand, there’s nothing wrong with losing some weight if we’ve been packing it on, and in this country we tend to do that…on the other hand, it just seems like the message here is all wrong… i mean, she’s thanking us for allowing her to be pretty one more time? very unsettling, so i see your point there… i guess we’d have to walk a mile in her shoes to know what really makes her tick – still, it’s very odd indeed – i’ll bet she’s kicking herself for saying it now

    1. Exactly. There is so much we connect to weight loss: our attraction, our confidence, our self worth. But a lot of that is the media, don’t you think? Telling us what makes attraction, confidence, self-worth? What makes “pretty.” I understand that one person might not feel pretty because they are overweight. But there are plenty of women who do. It’s scary to have it generalized in such a way, and generalized by someone who is “pretty” is so many ways, including her self-deprecating humor!

  2. I dunno —-
    the walking a mile in the moccasins is probably a good idea.
    And may I crassly suggest that she may have done it for the money? Since she did the work? I have the vague idea that she’s had many many expenses and while hardly on the bread lines, is not filthy rich either.

    She’s a person, not an icon, when you come right down to it.

    My husband and I (the elderly!) have been talking lately about how OUR icons — Betty Grable, Lana Turner, would absolutely be considered really overweight by today’s standards. The word “curvaceous”, an accolade in our youth, is a pejorative now. Fashion has a lot to do with everything when it comes to women (more and more to men, also). Blame it on Twiggy! That was the revolutionary moment. Serious.

    (Not to mention Rubens’ babes!)

    1. Oh, I’m sure she did it for the money. And I don’t mind that…almost. I mind the inference that we’re only pretty if we’re thin (and devouring toxic diet food and dressing like super models). Twiggy was a revolutionary moment – but when does the “accept me for who I am, as I am” revolution happen?

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