I keep choking up today. See, when I was a kid, I loved math, and was told that that was s boy thing. I loved science, and was told that that was a boy thing. Being a leader was a boy thing. To be blunt, it really fucking sucks when you’re a kid, and are told that building things and figuring things out are boy things. I am so thankful we had Carrie and how she portrayed a young princess kicking ass and not bothering to take names.
Leia was a hero in her very own right. She wasn’t an off-shoot, like She-Ra was to He-Man, and she didn’t sit at the seat while the men did the major work. Carrie could have made Leia a joke, but instead, from her first moment on the screen, she owned that role, and she made it clear that power was hers. In that first moment, you could believe that she was the leader of those around her. Her head was high, and she had a steely glint that showed that no one was going to be the boss of her. As a little girl, that made an impact on me. Here was a woman who was doing what girls weren’t supposed to! Here was a girl who was just as strong as the boys, who could save people just as well as the boys. She was smart and in charge! She would fix things and solve problems! She went against the grain and said that girls can do the “boy” things too helped me continue doing what I loved even as I was told by so many people that boys are the ones who are supposed to do math and science. Carrie showed women (and girls) can be strong all by themselves. Even in her iconic leather and metal bikini, she exuded bravery and confidence. And that was pretty damned awesome. That was Carrie. How she played Leia is her. A fighter. A feminist. A leader. A problem-solver. An advocate. She was who we had.
I’m glad that my daughter, Charlotte, is now growing up in a world where she has role models who are girls who are strong for themselves. Even among a bevy of women and girls who save the day, she is drawn to Star Wars. She loves Rey. Rey is today’s Princess Leia. Carrie showed that a young woman can be prominent in an action sci-fi film, and that audiences would believe it and want to have move. In her way, she helped pave the road for The Force Awakens to center around a young female protagonist. We are extremely lucky to have had her in our world.