I’ve mentioned it here before that I used to have a weight loss blog. I stopped writing there because I was tired of publicly discussing my body. Body image is one of those things that still haunts me and wreaks havoc on my self-esteem – and blogging about it made it even worse. We live in a world where the pressure to be thin and beautiful is just so high and although I feel there’s been a lot of movement in the right direction with body positivity, we still have a ways to go. I don’t think I ever intended to touch on this subject here, but after reading about Carrie Fisher being required to lose weight for The Force Awakens, I just had to write.
When I first saw the other day that she was required to lose 35 lbs for her role as Leia, I was pissed to say the least. Just who sets these arbitrary rules about women and their bodies and how they must look. Men, I suppose… and I’m not trying to be a man hater, but we all know this to be true. This is 30+ years later – Leia is no longer a svelte 19 year old rocking a tiny gold bikini. She’s a 50-something year old woman who’s body has been through many experiences including one that space most noticeably lacks – gravity.
I decided to do a little more reading. Now, given that I’ve newly discovered my love for Star Wars, I can’t say I knew much about Carrie Fisher. I was unaware that she struggled with addiction, her weight, and most likely body image issues as well. My heart broke when I read this, because I only know her as Leia – the badass, strong, empowering princess, but I guess one can’t be too surprised by the life of the rich and famous.
I also read that she was happy to be doing the new movie because she’ll get a trainer at her house and can wear that gold bikini again. Sometimes we all need a little motivation, an outside source even, to really get into gear for what we want. I’ve been there before, losing weight for a wedding or a social function, and feeling happy with how I look afterwards. Then I watched this video and hearing her say they only hired her minus 35 lbs, seeing the look on her face and how she said those words, well, it broke my heart again.
I mean, I guess I understand from the casting perspective to have her lose weight. I’ll be honest, when I saw pictures of her pre-weight loss, I didn’t recognize her – at all. I noticed that there was no mention of Mark Hamill being told to lose weight, but he definitely did. He may have been told the same thing Fisher was told (and to be fair, I didn’t recognize him at his heaviest either), but for some reason we only like to publicly talk about women’s bodies and what they should do with them. For the sake of continuity, I realize the character should look like the character, even if it’s 30 some odd years later. However, it still really sucks. I can’t imagine being told that. We like you, we want you, but we only want a portion of you. It’s putting the value in the physical despite the amazing non-physical qualities and I feel this is something females battle with every day. It’s disheartening to say the least.
So for Carrie’s sake, I hope that she’s really proud of this amazing character she has breathed life into. I hope she’s feeling comfortable in her skin, regardless of a number on the scale. I also truly hope she knows that I, and probably many other Star Wars fan, female or otherwise, value her just as she is and that we’ll always take her, full body and all.