Upon reading the news of Carrie Fisher’s untimely death, I scoured my photos looking for the picture. I remember taking it and loving it, but I never remembered really getting a chance to study it. When I found it buried among all the other pictures from Halloween, I realized exactly why I loved it. My daughter looked fierce, a force to be reckoned with, a total badass. She was exactly what a princess should look like.
In 1977 when Star Wars premiered, society’s perception of what a princess should be included the likes of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Obedient damsels in distress who would wait for Prince Charming to come and rescue them. There was no Elsa with her ice powers and ability to rule a kingdom (without a husband, mind you) or Merida with her love of archery and rebellion against an arranged marriage. The Disney princesses who challenged authority and set their own path hadn’t been born yet. In the late 1970s, Princess Leia changed the face of what a princess should be and began to show girls everywhere that a princess can be anything she wants. She can be powerful. She can be fierce. This was Leia’s gift to us, her gift to our daughters, her gift to women for years to come.
Princess Leia redefined what it meant to be a princess and a hero. She was a no-nonsense heroine who wasn’t afraid to take charge and didn’t need a man to rescue her. Leia wasn’t going to sit by and passively watch the action; she was in the middle of it, kicking butt and taking names. Princess Leia certainly wasn’t going to take crap from anyone, regardless of who they were.
So thank you, Princess Leia, for showing our daughters that a princess can be a politician and a rebel. She can pick up a light saber and join the fight. She can be a leader. A princess can put powerful men in their place and not be afraid to speak her mind. She can be feisty, and she can have the strength to battle her own demons. A princess can be smart and funny and strong and independent all at the same time. She can be witty and intimidating. She can be kind and authentic. A princess can be unapologetic. And a princess might wear a gold bikini, but she’s sure as sh*t going to kill the bad guy before it’s all over.
Thank you, Princess Leia, for being a princess and a badass.