This Tuesday, iconic actress, author, and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher passed away after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. In the days following the incident, there were hopeful reports that she would recover, but ultimately it wasn’t meant to be.
Fisher’s contributions as an artist were massive, but to a certain generation — of which I’m a part of — her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films had an almost transcendent effect. For most of us, her immortality as an icon wasn’t just a juvenile objectification of her once youthful beauty that ignored her other accomplishments; it was the unavoidable effect of the immense power her character created, along with her co-stars, that burned itself into a generation’s collective psyche.
Unfortunately, there were some who couldn’t deal with the fact that Fisher was subject to the human process of aging. When she made her return to the Star Wars universe’s latest installment, The Force Awakens, last December, excruciatingly-dumb comments about how “she hasn’t aged well” circulated around certain excruciatingly-dumb corners of the internet.
Carrie Fisher is this angry, Loud mouth , fat woman now .
— Dennis (@cublion) December 14, 2015
Princess Leia got fat
— ManJuggs (@ManJuggs) December 18, 2015
Instead of lashing out at these room-temperature IQ critiques, Fisher saw them as an opportunity to have one of the most revealing and poignant conversations about women aging in Hollywood I’ve ever seen. If “youth culture” is a thing, Fisher exposed it as a phenomenon for people whose brains are not yet fully developed.
Just over a year ago today, Fisher responded to her critics on Twitter using her biting wit and slightly hieroglyphic texting style:
Youth&BeautyR/NOT ACCOMPLISHMENTS,theyre theTEMPORARY happy/BiProducts/of Time&/or DNA/Dont Hold yourBreath4either/ifUmust holdAir/takeGarys
— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) December 30, 2015
‘Youth and beauty are not accomplishments.’ Timeless advice for people who’ve bought into the lie of immortality.
Carrie Fisher, October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016