Carrie Fisher will forever be inextricable from Princess Leia, and Princess Leia, the heroine at the heart of the Star Wars films, will forever be bonded to the actress who played her. Fisher will continue to be known best for her portrayal of Princess Leia, the character she created based on her feminist vision of how women could lead, fight and exist, both here on Earth and in a galaxy far, far away.
“I like Princess Leia.
“I like how she handles things. I like how she treats people. She tells the truth, and gets what she wants done”.
“The downside is the hair and some of the outfits”.
Star Wars movie was released in 1977, at the peak of the feminist movement’s second wave. It’s not that there were no female superheroes before, but Princess Leia was the one who mesmerised everyone.
“You can play Leia as capable, independent, sensible, a soldier, a fighter, a woman in control – control being, of course, a lesser word than master,” Fisher told Rolling Stone. “But you can portray a woman who’s a master and get through all the female prejudice if you have her travel in time, if you add a magical quality, if you’re dealing in fairy-tale terms.”
Jackson, who co-authored the essay “Lightsabers, Political Arenas and Marriages for Princess Leia and Queen Amidala,” sees Princess Leia as a bridge between older female action heroes, like Wonder Woman, and new ones, like Mulan.
“The basic idea you have in mind when you think of a princess is of dominant Disney princesses like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White — they’re dressed in pastels, they sing,” Jackson said. “But Princess Leia was this new kind of princess; she’s a bolt of energy, she’s just as strong as everyone around her, she controlled her own destiny and she was independent. That was such an important image.”
In 2008 Princess Leia was listed 89th Greatest Character of All Time.
Sources and further reading
Second Wave of Feminism, The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90s. This wave unfolded in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups around the world. Four Waves of Feminism by Martha Rampton https://www.pacificu.edu/about-us/news-events/four-waves-feminism
Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology by Ray Merlock and Kathy Merlock Jackson. https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fHgKDWAZ0SIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA77&dq=feminist+princess+leia&ots=Bh57ezur7e&sig=deYLFBqBtgaMLJkHvHxBifmkAJ0&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=feminist%20princess%20leia&f=false
Image, Goodbye Princess by Robert Shane. http://robert-shane.deviantart.com