My wife and I watched the Star Wars movie over the holidays. Along with a gazillion other people. Movie prices can kill you. We survived by doing the later afternoon show for roughly $6 each, getting a free popcorn (buttered, of course), and sharing a large drink. A mere $5.75 at the concession stand.As shocking as some food item prices can be, we had a somewhat similar wake up call in seeing the original Star Wars heroes Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher in the film. Imagine this…they’ve all AGED!!! How can it be?The bigger surprises were Hamill and Fisher, or Luke and Leia if you prefer. That stands to reason since we’ve seen Harrison Ford in a number of films since his hang-around-with-Wookie days. Actually, Chewbacca looked pretty good after 38 years. Must be his stylist.For those who weren’t around to see the original three Star Wars productions, no need to dwell on this age thing. Except to say…spoiler alert…you too will get wrinkled and gray! And probably wider.Of course, I’m not the only one who noticed these physical changes. Apparently, LOTS of moviegoers have commented, and some quite rudely. You see, unlike life for most of us, Hollywood stars are not allowed to show this aging process. And if they have the audacity to show up on film in a way that makeup cannot overcome, well….OOFTA, as the Scandinavians would say.Princess Leia has taken the brunt of fans' criticism. Here’s the way it showed up in the Washington Post recently: “…Yet some longtime fans were stuck on a detail that shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone: The actors have aged. Or, to zone in on the preoccupation, Fisher has aged — and allegedly “not well.” Ouch. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/30/carrie-fisher-strikes-back-at-haters-youthbeautyrnot-accomplishments/Her original role as a princess had her on screen in a gold bikini. Producers decided not to do that outfit again. Since she is now a General, she must dress more appropriately. And she does.But it’s her weight that drew criticism, even though she lost 35 pounds for her film role. Responding to some critics, Carrie tweeted, “My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places and in front of faces where there’s something to say or see.” She’s made mention of weight in other tweets as well.But the larger issue to Carrie Fisher (if you’ll excuse the pun) is that Hollywood isn’t made for the unattractive woman. In early December, she complained that an actress over 40 finds it difficult to get work. According to the Post, Fisher told Good Housekeeping magazine, “They don’t want to hire all of me – only about three-quarters…Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say ‘get younger,’ because that’s how easy it is.”Female actresses are not alone. Quite coincidentally, as I was preparing this blog, a New York Times piece appeared this week on females over 50 and jobless. As it’s stated, “… many of these older women now earn far less and use many fewer skills than they did before. Others have been left stranded without any job for months or even years. Some have given up the search altogether.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/02/business/economy/over-50-female-and-jobless-even-as-others-return-to-work.html?emc=edit_th_20160102&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68618012If the statistics are correct, here’s how it looks. A Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis study found job prospects shifted significantly for women after the so-called Great Recession, which began in 2007. Up to that point, women over 50 comprised about one quarter of the unemployed. Just seven years later, that same category has grown to around half the unemployed.If our culture has become insensitive to the experience, wisdom, and insight of women in the workplace, value is lost. My heart especially goes out to women who are compelled to work outside the home due to life’s circumstances. My own mother was in that situation. Fortunately, employers considered her valuable even into her later years.The Bible speaks about the value of the hard working woman in Proverbs 31, albeit a married one. It says, “When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: ‘There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” (Proverbs 31:26-31, NLT)That one line is worth its weight in gold: Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.Yes, that woman is to be celebrated. Even to a galaxy far, far away.That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.Catch “Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand" weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life. To listen to the live broadcast or a podcast of previous shows click here.
Perspectives on ideas and stories that impact the workplace, including a spiritual dynamic. Authored by media and communications veteran Mark Elfstrand.
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Monday, January 4, 2016
Star Wars over Looks
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