BADASS WOMEN: CARRIE FISHER

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in her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, the then twenty-five-year old Carrie Fisher was a role model for a whole generation of young girls (yup, till they put her in a bikini! – she protested guys…as many of us knows). in 1977, feminism wasn’t exactly a care for movie directors, all male you think (more on this later? so, any surprise the character of Leia had to swoon & act as if, though the future of the universe was in fact, leaning directly on her shoulders as well as Luke’s (she’s a Jedi too, damnit!) she needed rescuing (cue the “kiss for luck” & being carried via rope on Luke across the inside of the Death Star). &, although she managed to get in a few great shots at Storm Troopers, did you know Fisher (revealing in her memoir Shockaholic,) was cast under the strict condition that she lose 10 pounds – putting her weight at the time an anorexic 95 pounds! this really should embarrass Hollywood…but it won’t.

Fisher’s memoir also reveals that since her role in Star Wars, she continued to struggle with her weight (cue a small eating disorder) & a severe mood disorder that required the last resort measure of electro-convulsive therapy. sure, depression & bipolar disorder have a DNA basis, but I have to wonder if those experiences also contributed…oh wait, I don’t actually have to wonder because it’s so OBVIOUS. it’s an industry that uses people & discards them when they’ve passed their too-brief “prime”…but it’s worse because of the lack of females in charge. I’m thinking of Maggie Gyllenhaal revealing that at age 37, she was considered too “old” to be cast as the love interest of a 55-year-old man.

some fun facts. in 1979, the later Emmy-award winning TV director Victoria Hochberg & five other female directors began collecting data on the numbers of women working in the industry. known as the “Original Six,” they found that of all the assignments in both television & motion pictures, 1/2 of one percent of all those jobs were going to women. they partnered with the DGA & the EEOC to file a gender discrimination lawsuit against the studios…quickly thrown out…things started to look a bit better, in TV anyway, from 1980-1995, where stats for female directors jumped from one-half of one percent to sixteen. but, never happened in movies, & only got up to three point five percent, where they remain this day. &…in studio diversity agreements, ethnic minority men & women of all ethnicities are clumped together in one category, meaning, when studio reps need to hire a minority for diversity’s sake, the job almost always goes to a minority male. the numbers confirm this — men of color make up 18 percent of the population & 17 percent of TV director jobs, while women make up 51 percent of the population, but make up 14 percent of TV director jobs. (me, shaking my head…)

after Twilight, which earned 400 million & was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, people were excited about Divergent as well as The Hunger Games. they show there’s an audience! you see a brave, badass girl out there…lo & behold…people will go see the movie. but, even though a female director directed the first Twilight — none of the other Twilights, or The Hunger Games, or Divergent…all books written by a woman & starring a woman…not one of them was directed by a woman.

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back to Carrie Fisher’s return to the big screen…apparently the cave-dwellers at THE NEW YORK POST (!) or those lurking on her Twitter feed could only focus on the fact that the actress, at 59, was no longer the waif in the infamous bagel buns & bikini, but a distinguished & accomplished author, actress, comedian playing a military general…who by the way, looks awesome! Fischer looked by FAR & ABOVE the least weathered of all (& she went through drug & alcohol addiction & recovery, a childhood with Debbie Reynolds, dating John Belushi & being married to Paul Simon…geesh! need I continue?! 🙂 I mean the woman is a warrior in real life!) &, I mean, if you are going to point out such silly, trivial things like how an actor has aged, where are the Mark Hammil posts? looking like he came off a 3-month bender & years of Krispy Kreme runs while Harrison Ford…watching the man ”run?” can we call it that(?) with jowls wobbling, was it really cute? who cares! good god & come on guys?! the very least you can do is get with the times & play it equal here! I actually liked ALL of them! I cared not at all about their age. I enjoyed seeing them again…but, while MEN criticize, women admire. women seem to have daddy issues & men have insecurities, so (& I’m talking generalities here 🙂 men seemingly see only girls as sexy & girls see dads as sexy. hmmmm. on the topic, while Fischer has to deal with the nonsense of being body/age shamed online, females are now furthering their own cause so well…making the “dad look” popular…what is the “dad look”? a “kinda in shape but not too in shape guy who isn’t super cut, plus we’ve got leading feminist, Mindy Kailing leading thousands, hell maybe millions of mindless women settlers who are furthering their own cause on a personal level by decreeing the 73 year-old actor is, “still mega bangable on all planets.” are you fricking kidding me here!?

well, here for you too, to become nauseated over, are some of the low points of the dialogue:

SurferJoe ‏@surfJoeMalibu  29 Dec 2015

YOU DIDNT AGE WELL AND U SUCKED IN STAR WARS. IT WAS A REST HOME FLICK. WANT MY MONEY BACK  @Variety @carrieffisher #StarWars @badrobot

Tom Roberts ‏@TomRoberts983a  29 Dec 2015

@carrieffisher So you want the money & adulation that comes with being a famous actor but not the criticism. Whoever told you life was fair?

never beaten down, the quick-witted Fisher has been retorting since & here is one:

“Please stop debating about whether OR not [I] aged well. unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my feelings. My BODY hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us!”

you go woman!

Bette Midler chimed in (& so many others have as well): Brava to Carrie for standing up for the radical notion that women have the right to get older! Youth is temporary, diva is forever!

this is of course a topic close to my heart, & not just because I am a woman, not just because I am a 49-year-old woman, & not just because I am a 49-year-old woman in the skincare industry (a truly insidious industry that often longs to make women feel awful about themselves in an effort to sell products! I mean, have YOU been looking a bit “crepy” lately? a brand new word recently heard in skin “care” ads created by those awesome marketing “geniuses” to make us race out to buy the latest & greatest bullshit product that will NEVER “turn back the clock” – ahhhhhh.

yes, I make skincare products. but, I refuse to use the term “anti-aging”, I refuse to make people feel bad about themselves! it’s about nurturing HEALTHY aging, it’s about working with the underlying causes of skin problems to make us feel & look better of course, the best we can feel & find OUR TRUE SELVES, not change & plasticize & fill & alter who we are, including the smile, stress & life lines we have earned through our experiences & histories…in an effort to become more “youthful.” I wouldn’t, for all the money in the world, wish to return to my twenties, or my thirties, or actually to any age! I love who I am now & in fact, how I look & feel now more than at any time in my past & I SO wish the same for everyone out there!

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we have it so backwards with regards to enjoying life & self. we work so hard for monetary gain & pick ourselves to pieces over the smallest wrinkle & blemish. I do have a mission to help people avoid toxic synthetics & get real results, solving problems that, like my lifelong struggle with whole body eczema (which landed me nicknames & bullying & loss of self-esteem – now THAT is a real goal to help solve I believe), staying off fabulous pills like Accutane which, forgive me but if you tell me you can’t take something if you are even thinking about getting pregnant, I say no thank you! I endeavor to get folks to see for themselves that a properly formulated product, with 21st century science at its core, utilizing 100% pure actives from botanicals, highly-potent yet stabilized & safe, in 100% pure formulations that penetrate the skin will actually stop a toxic cycle of imbalance in the system (the same sort of things we talk about with food & lifestyle nowadays). it’s all about systemic imbalances & treating the whole body, not symptoms. &, it’s NEVER about promising something that is impossible, such as getting rid of wrinkles, an impossibility for ANY product!

know your beauty is my philosophy & it means so many things. the foundation behind suki® skincare, it means accepting ourselves for who we really are, never punishing ourselves for being “less than perfect” or needing to live up to an outside definition of beauty, & acknowledging we must always take & own our power, including the power over our health & well-being.

I applaud Fisher for surviving addiction & depression, for writing about it so well, so comically & in such an inspiring way in one of my favorite books & movies, Postcards from the Edge. I thank her for being an awesome part, in a classic movie I waited in line with my mom to see when I was 12, & kind of saw again at 49! not only that, but for being a fabulously funny character in one of my other faves, When Harry Met Sally!

&, thanks to her & JJ Abrams, for moving Leia beyond the damsel in distress role to offer a strong role model to a new generation of fans.

@ Carrie Fisher: you are what “know your beauty” is all about. looking forward to seeing you as the badass GENERAL Leia Organa Solo again in the next episode of Star Wars!

xo

—Suki

 

BADASS WOMEN: OPRAH!

Oprah

Oprah never stops moving in her external persona as our Oprah Winfrey, inspiration, talk show host (seems so trite to even write this one), ever changeable television / movie producer, book & script finder, & indeed, host & inspirational “speaker” in our homes). she is not just inspirational but truly aspirational & I think this is what she would like most of all, getting us off our asses & thinking/doing for ourselves rather than against ourselves…since 1983.

unlike many sensationalist daytime talk shows of her era (here’s looking at you, Jerry Springer, even with your “maudlin endings”), Oprah used much of her airtime to promote reading itself (a lost pastime in our age of 140 word limits & big graphics that say it without words, heck, we are graduating kids who actually CANNOT read or write – I’m telling you…they allow phonetic writing, OMG can you believe it, & I personally have proof of this guys!), self-improvement & empowerment, spirituality (not necessarily religion) & charitable giving, & hopefully bringing out that impetus in people. Oprah was also Academy Award nominated for her role in The Color Purple, not to mention her involvement, production, finding amazing stories & acting in several other movies including Selma, The Hundred Foot Journey, Precious, Beloved, Nine & too many TV shows, specials & movies to name.

cited as the richest African American of the 20th century & born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, & Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, & city councilman. she was raised by a single, teenaged mother in the city of Milwaukee, & shortly after her birth, her mother left & Oprah to be raised by her grandmother, Hatti Mae Lee in terrible conditions. her only friends? farm animals. however, even at that age Oprah had a very imaginative mind & would frequently give the animals dramatic parts & include them in games. due to her grandmother teaching her to read & write before the age of three, she was often promoted several grades ahead of her age in school. (sorry, but suck it Waldorf “we wait till our kids express the desire to learn” theory…ugh).

sadly, at nine she was raped by her nineteen year-old cousin, & this wouldn’t be the only sexual abuse she experienced. her cousin, a family friend, her mother’s boyfriend & her uncle during her stay in Milwaukee rack up the list of the core challenges that made her not only the strong woman she is today, but the empathetic one. like many of us who have had such experiences, she never told a soul because the predators swore her to silence. at thirteen, Oprah ran away from home & at the age of fourteen became pregnant with an ill son who died shortly after birth. she took the death as a second chance in life, but was sent to live once again with her father in Nashville. Oprah’s father was very strict & made education the number-one priority.

in high school, she began reading news on the radio & later, during college, was offered a job as a co-anchor on the CBS television station, declining several times before being convinced by her speech professor that it could be the ultimate step to launch her career. Oprah wanted to find work outside of Nashville & was soon offered a job in Baltimore. the job offer came a few months before graduation, so she had to make a choice between taking it & finishing her degree. she turned out to be not the best reporter & was shortly fired…just going to show that even immensely talented people sometimes take a while to find their niche. however, in 1981, Oprah sent recorded tapes of her show to a talk show in Chicago called “A.M. Chicago”.

during this time, I actually met Oprah filming an interview at my high school! this was a performing & visual arts “fame school” as folks called it, where famous folks came & went to inspire us “future creative types”. I have to say, Oprah is one of those people who burned an image in my mind that I still see clearly. she was, even then, totally in charge. I remember her as the lone woman on set, demanding & directing the men to get it done & moving around like a hurricane. I’d literally never seen anything like it. I watched intently, & little did I know then that it would be a reminder to me during dark times to stick to my instincts & vision to matter what. needless to say, she sunk in…& I am privileged for the seeds planted early on which I have tried to manifest, & continue to! 🙂 I’ve been lucky enough to have others pick up where my vision left off, but Oprah was one of my first images of what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it, throws outside constructs to the wind & holds her vision & goals as most important. I’m quite sure Oprah’s goals have shifted multiple times over the years to where she is today, & they will continue to shift, but her role is clear to all of us.

in September 1985, she changed the name of her show to “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, which ran ‘til 2011, sweeping 47 Emmy awards & inspiring millions. Oprah has published numerous books & her magazine “O” reaches over 2 million people each year. in 2006, Oprah held her Legends ball—the first of its kind—honoring African-American women, including Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Toni Morrison & so many more, including women from all ethnicities, all inspirational for what they offer the world. & now her “Master Class” which includes topics from A to Z has broken barriers & continues to inspire in new ways we’ve never seen on TV.

the real take away from Oprah is not her fame, her money, her largess…to me, anyway. it is how she rose like a phoenix from the atrocities in her childhood & utilized her past to recreate herself anew, for the purpose of helping others. she isn’t hiding her story in the shadows, it’s right out there for all of us who can identify with so much of it. we know we can do so much more than “make it through.” we can thrive, achieve, succeed, struggle through our relative challenges & come out the other side incorporating the totality of all our experiences. I see them as our histories, that make each of us, indeed, who we really are. none of us are perfect, nope, not even Oprah herself…but like her, we can use our experiences to show empathy to others, show them they aren’t alone & so importantly, be inspirational ourselves, saying with our actions…anything IS truly possible! through aggressive effort, through love, through assertiveness, through not “guilting” or “shoulding” ourselves, but going after our deepest desires for our lives & being in our own corner! I think Oprah has lived that example – & I’m grateful for that aspect of her bigger-than-life icon status & the chance to look deeper into the person she actually is.

xo

—Suki