I just don’t interpret his tweet the way you and a few others did. It seems to me that these people are OK with feminists expressing and celebrating their own beauty, but are not OK with men who knew Fisher personally complimenting that beauty in a clearly respectful way. To me, that is indeed puritanism. Maybe it would help if you knew that I certainly did reject those news outlets who chose to use the pic of her Star Wars metal bikini as her obit picture. This was needlessly sexualizing her, especially odd because that pic was from a relative blip in a long and varied career.
Okay, and I appreciate that.
Sara Lynn Michener
1

So you do have a line where you say “this is needlessly sexualizing and this is not.”

Ok. So let me again state, I am not talking about sexualization. I never actually actually said anything about sex or whether or not Martin was correct in his assessment of her appearance. I was trying to make a much broader point and it’s interesting to me that you’re somehow not seeing it. So I’ll try again, with the awareness that this may not be able to see this as I do.

What I said in my first comment was this:
“when Martin made his comment about how he was drawn in, when she was a 19 year old who had been sent to a fat farm and had a bra made of gaffer tape, he became part of an ongoing discussion about her life, and the way that single role, with all it’s strength and beauty, colored the rest of her career forever.”

That’s not criticizing Martin for sexualizing her and that wasn’t how I understood his comment. When I read his tweet which had already been deleted by the time I even discovered the story, my internal reaction was something like, “UUUUNNNNgh did he never read her books??”

Because that’s where I came from. I was mourning her too, and I was aware of how much content she had generated to express her experience of Hollywood and being Leia. To me, that’s her legacy, and I think a lot of people felt that too. I watch Star Wars with my kids and I hope they admire her and love her like I did, but I’m also an adult who has also experienced what it is like to lose your youth and beauty and it changes the way people treat you. Her words about that resonated with me deeply and I don’t think Martin’s tweet was sensitive to that way of seeing her. And maybe he literally can’t be sensitive to that, because the experience of aging as a male celebrity is completely different from the experience of female celebrities.

There’s a second layer to that. You make a comparison to being catcalled, as if that was what Martin did, and again, that’s weird to me, because she was dead. Catcalling a dead person is a completely different thing. Nobody whistles at corpses. So I’ll be honest that the analogies you’re bringing to bear here are completely weird to me. I do not think she was being catcalled, and what did happen was, in my view, actually much more toxic, but it’s also something that gets very little attention. She was being held up against her younger self, the way she had been her entire life.

That’s why I said very specifically in my first response to you:

“my response to all the people making this point, about that particular comment, is, “Did you stick up for her when she was being criticized for her appearance in TFA?”

My objection is not that he thought she had been beautiful. Everyone did. My objection is that women as they age are constantly being compared to their younger selves and being held responsible for falling short. Being mad about this constant drumbeat of “Why aren’t you still the Leia I wanted to fuck?” is absolutely not the same as me saying “It sucks that people wanted to fuck Leia!”

Again, I tried to explain that to you. The most prominent articles I can find criticizing Martin also say that with relevant recent quotes from Fisher:
http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/12/steve-martin-this-isnt-how-you-pay-tribute-to-carrie-fisher.html

To me, sticking up for Martin is a way of repeating the same kind of comments that rejected her as she aged for not being fuckable Leia anymore. And when I tried to comment on this when the fallout was still ongoing, I tried hard to make it about how she was treated when she was alive. As in, did you stick up for her when people online were sad she was 50 years older? Or that she wasn’t skinny? It’s not about admiring the Leia from 50 years ago, it was the fact that that admiration was a constant and fairly toxic experience she described in her life, that came instead of admiration for Carrie Fisher the live woman.

That is why I think your use of this incident to depict puritanism is off-putting. I’m not being a puritan. I’m not running into Toys-R-Us yanking Slave Leia off the shelves. I don’t give a shit that she was sexy or that she was sexualized. I’m reacting instead to the fact that one of my very favorite older actresses passed and instead of talking about her experiences and mourning her, we’re talking about how to be respectful to the experience of guys mourning her and continually reinforcing how sexy she was before she did all her awesome Carrie Fisher things. I mean, all the pictures and memoirs of her life were 99% pictures of Leia!

And if you stuck with all that, thank you. I actually felt like that was a legitimate thing to wrestle with and I’m glad for the occasion to get it out, even if you still don’t agree. Because that’s the other part of this: I kind of would like to see more people get that, but now I’m afraid to attempt it because there are so many progressives and SJWs depicting it as a vicious and mean thing to do, as you did.

And HOLY SHIT. It motivated me to find this.

“I slept with Steve Martin once and once only, 20-some years ago. And I interviewed Steve Martin once and once only, 20-some days ago. You do the math.”

This is actually an adorable interview and not nearly as acerbic as the quote I snipped. And I wish other people who had written about this tweet found it, because it IS humanizing. This is a relationship between equals, discussing their skills. That would have been such a great thing to include in the conversation about his tweet, but I kind of feel like, as you say, no one has actually cared to see them both as people, but rather as characters justifying a perception of this single exchange.

I guess that’s where I’ll end this. I wish there were more space for humanizing everyone. And I feel like that comes with more dialogue, especially respectful dialogue, not labels.

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