A person becomes a legend when they embody what it means to be a human in its fullest, truest sense. When the highs and the lows of humanity and everything in between is on display. The full spectrum of what it mean to be alive shines through. These people mean the world to us, even when the world could never (and, sometimes, does never) fully reciprocate that love. If you’re a women, it’s never enough to be a women, right? You have to be sexy and scantily clad. But what if it’s your destiny to save the galaxy from fascism? It’s okay to go from Princess to General if the moment calls for it. Hell, even if it doesn’t, you should still have the option to choose because it’s your choice.
Coming of age in the 90’s, there was a level of palpable feminism that could not be ignored but, even still, there were still many hurdles to jump through. When you’re a kid, you never truly notice how men are always portrayed to be the most important or the strongest or how a man is always needed to save the day and the girl. There’s always a damsel in distress. For me, the ’90’s showed that facade slipping away. I saw actresses, celebrities, musicians and everyday women establish their independence and declared that their womanhood was just as important as manhood. I saw women wrestlers kick ass in outstanding fashion, and not just women ass either. They challenged men head-to-head, confronting fragile masculinity with strength. During this time is when I introduced to the original Star Wars trilogy. Here, is where I was introduced to Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher.
Granted, if you look at the character of Leia, she is a damsel in distress and she needs two white dudes and a seven-foot Snuffleupagus to save her. But, looking closer, she represented more than that. She played as every bit the equal to Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. This character was smart, quick witted and could shoot a blaster just like any other man in a galaxy far, far away. As in real life, Fisher was all of these things as well. The different roles she played showed she was smart, but that she could also be in on the joke as well. In a small, but potent role for Scream 3, she takes a poke at her Star Wars character:
I was up for Princess Leia; I was this close. So who gets it? The one who sleeps with George Lucas.
Her dry, witty humor was apparent in her acting, writing (click here for a piece she wrote in May ’99 about her reminiscing on Star Wars) and in her tweets, but she was open about her demons as well. Her first publication Postcards From The Edge, written as a semi-autobiography, discusses recovery from addiction and battle with mental health issues:
It’s like I’ve got a visa for happiness, but for sadness I’ve got a lifetime pass. I shot through my twenties like a luminous thread through a dark needle, blazing toward my destination: Nowhere.
From growing up and watching Fisher to becoming older and seeing who Fisher became was a true pleasure. Seeing anyone tackle their mental issues, especially in such a public way, is something worth recognizing and respecting. As someone who had not truly understood the gravity of addressing mental health until this year, for her to be open about her struggles makes her feel legendary. Even thinking about her now doesn’t make me too sad, but looking back at the great things she’s done is making me laugh, reflect and laugh some more. I smiled when I saw her last year in Force Awakens and I smiled at the end of Rogue One this year, seeing her character reincarnated.
From princess to icon back to human again, salute to Carrie Fisher. Rest well. At ease.