Why I wish Carrie Fisher didn't defend ageing.

I understand why Carrie Fisher is being praised for speaking out against those who have criticised her for daring to age. I really do.

I understand why she has spoken out. I really do.

But it makes me feel flat. The fact that in 2015, a woman as talented and accomplished as Carrie Fisher feels she has to defend something as natural as the ageing process makes me sad.

Ageing is ageing. None of us escape it. None of us control it. It happens as surely as the sun rises every day, whether we like it or not.

Fisher has faced a barrage of criticism following her reprising the iconic role of Princess Leia in the new Star Wars movie, 35 years after the first movie was released in 1977.

Because guess what? She looks older. Thirty five years have passed, so why would anyone expect her to look the way she did 35 years ago? When it comes to “unattainable beauty standards”, is there anything less attainable than looking 24 when you are 59?

According to Fisher’s critics she hasn’t “aged well”. What does that even mean? That her appearance should remain unchanged? That her appearance should bely the years that have passed? Ageing well, apparently, has nothing to do with your heart, your soul, your talent, your achievements. It rests solely on the way you look. And it’s rubbish.

Why can’t “ageing well” mean not caring that you are ageing? Or simply growing older, looking older and loving it? Why can’t “ageing well” mean living life as it comes, doing your damned best along the way?

The actress has been open about her long battles with alcoholism, substance abuse and bipolar disorder. She has navigated a personal life that can only be described as tumultuous yet her work has always shone through. She has persevered in spite of her troubles and maintains a full life.


Now, at the age of 59, she is having to push back against the endless and exhausting standards for which her profession is renowned.


And that is why I really wish Carrie Fisher hadn’t bothered to speak out against haters criticising her.

Carrie Fisher made a cameo appearance in the Sex and the City TV series. Article continues after this video.

Video by HBO

Carrie Fisher is amazing. She’s talented, successful and right now she has reason to feel on top of the world. Instead she is fighting off cruel and callous criticism that hurt her.

I don’t blame her for speaking out. (I admire her for waiting as long as she did before she addressed those accusing her of ruining the film.)


I love the wisdom in her words about youth and beauty. I love her humour, her humility and her honesty about the fact that these comments hurt.

But I wish she’d ignored the abuse — not because it’s acceptable but because it doesn’t warrant her attention.

What I want is to free Fisher, and every other woman, from the burden of never feeling good enough about the way they look.

Nobody should have to engage with ridiculous unattainable standards of beauty and ageing set by others, standards that many of us have sadly internalised anyway. Least of all someone like Carrie Fisher, an incredible actress and writer whose work we have been lucky enough to enjoy for decades.