As I sat down in the theater to watch “Star Wars: Rogue One” on Christmas Day, a breaking news alert came through on my phone. George Michael had passed away. Whoa. Wow. 2016 had done it again. After a minute I thought, “Well, that should mean that Carrie Fisher is going to be okay,” as if the death of one entertainment legend would satisfy the gods which have been insatiable this year.
We know now that’s not the case.
Fisher, on her own and as her character of Princess Leia, made a permanent mark on girls of my generation (the “Jennifers” of the 1970s.) Princess Leia was the role model we needed then, and the “Carrie Fisher” attitude of 2015 is what we needed to see as we, ahem, get a little older.
Carrie, as Princess Leia you showed the little girls of the 1970’s a strong, smart, confident woman who could lead an army of men and defeat some pretty disgusting-looking characters. Leia did what needed to be done and didn’t whine about it or ask for special accommodations or different standards because of her gender. She was unapologetic, and embraced her femininity.
As a 50-something woman, you showed us what true confidence and acceptance of oneself looked like. Having battled addiction and mental illness, in books and interviews you were candid in a way that few celebrities are, and self-deprecating in a way that didn’t beg for others to compliment you. You had no time for the outrage society. When you were asked what fathers should say to their daughters about the bikini outfit, you said:
“Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.”
You gave answer which empowers girls, not one that encourages them to act as victims of the “patriarchy.”
In my favorite interview, you had your interviewer crying with laughter because of your forthright, confident answers – and impeccable comedic timing.
You candidly discussed getting older and gaining weight in a nonchalant way – perfectly shooting down Hollywood’s fixation on “thin” without making it a spectacle. You didn’t have to give a speech at the Oscars, do a mermaid photo shoot, or shame people to make your point.
Youth&BeautyR/NOT ACCOMPLISHMENTS,theyre theTEMPORARY happy/BiProducts/of Time&/or DNA/Dont Hold yourBreath4either/ifUmust holdAir/takeGarys
— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) December 30, 2015
That’s the difference between you and some other women in entertainment. They claim to have an “I don’t care” attitude, but as they scream how much they don’t care, all we see is their frantic cry for attention.
I know that you arrived at that spot in your life after dealing with a lot of painful issues, and that your peace and confidence was hard-earned. But that doesn’t make me, or the millions of women in my generation, appreciate your example any less.
To your mom, to your daughter, to your puppy, and to everyone who knew and loved you, my condolences. Thank you, Carrie, for being who you are. Rest in peace, Princess.