This is a “theory” I’ve been thinking on for at least a year, and each time I watch one of the 3 original Star Wars films I’m reminded of it. I offhandedly comment to whoever I’m watching with, “Leia is literally everything a girl can aspire to be.” Everything. I laugh, but I mean it! Carrie Fisher served as an excellent role model for young women, through Leia, and her recent passing made me (finally) want to really think it through.
Leia was on a political, humanitarian mission, and she never acted like she needed anyone’s pity or help. She was independent, self-sufficient, and her priorities soared above the day-to-day trifles a typical girl indulges in. The men in Leia’s life were “added bonuses.” Helpful but never commissioned for work; and Leia fought in combat just the same as they did.
Like any princess, she always exhibited grace. Leia showed gentleness and kindness where it was deserved, she dressed modestly, and didn’t need to use profanity to prove her points. Leia never verbally put herself down, either. She had a bold personality, but didn’t apologize for it. She didn’t change herself for men, or cling to them for acceptance or attention. Even when she did have feelings for someone, she didn’t allow herself to jump into a relationship. In fact, she was reluctant; stubborn. She respected herself and eased into that commitment slowly, secondary to her mission.
Leia always showed a great deal of bravery alongside her grace, and even in those rare moments when her courage faltered, she disguised it. Leia put herself, her needs and goals, first. She showed confidence in herself and her decisions, and stood by them even when they didn’t turn how she hoped. And I will always be thankful that this brave, gracious role model was created in 1977 for women like me.
I can’t talk about Leia to this length without mentioning how truly and sincerely I appreciate the person Carrie Fisher was. Carrie led a very, very brave life; she was braver than Leia ever had to be, because Carrie was a real person. And, admirably, a very realistic person. For as much as I “admire” Leia, she will always be overshadowed by the fact that she’s made up. Carrie was Leia, and Carrie was a real woman—sarcastic, zany, outspoken, tough, humorous, honest and brave– deserving of all the admiration Leia received and more.