Geek Girls Rule! #111 – I wanted to be Princess Leia

Via the blog Jezebel, I found a link to a year old article by Carrie Fisher in the Daily Mail, essentially a synopsis of her life to that point.  I strongly recommend reading it.  I’ve also added her blog to the blogroll on the right hand side of the page.  It did remind me that I really need to pick up a copy of Wishful Drinking as well. 

One thing reading that Daily Mail article really brought home to me though, is while the parents of normal (i.e. not famous) kids and teens do really embarassing shit, at least it’s not tabloid fodder when we go through it.  I mean, can you imagine how much more embarassing everything would be magnified through the lens of pop-culture, particularly NOW with the intrywebz and cable television channels devoted to nothing but pandering celebrity gossip to the salivating, masturbating hordes? 

Anyway, back to Carrie Fisher.  Some of the anecdotes she relates are funny in the “If you don’t laugh you’ll cry” vein, and hilariously so.  I don’t understand people who think that impulse is awful.  It’s human.  Get over it.  Some of her anecdotes are just plain funny.  Although I have to say, the mere thought of Debbie Reynolds suggesting that the two of them experiment with pot together nearly caused a catastrophic spit-take over my keyboard.  Apart from the magnification caused by celebrity and her awesome story-telling ability, those stories are not so different from the stories I and my friends have about the bizarre shit our parents did when we were kids and teens.    

However, on an entirely different track (the brain, she likes tangents), Carrie Fisher, regardless of what she looks like, how old she is, whatever, will always be Princess Leia to me.    And Princess Leia remains iconic in my brain for slightly different reasons than the metal bikini.  Princess Leia DID things.  She was funny and sarcastic (“Aren’t you a little short for a Storm Trooper?”).  She got to shoot, she risked her life to rescue Han.  She killed Jabba.  I’m still more than a little annoyed that her only Jedi power was knowing her brother was ok, or whatever.  Really, she SHOULD have been just as Jedi-licious as Luke.

Regardless, instead of just sitting there, or sleeping, or keeping house for dwarfs, she DID things.  I think I was five when I saw Star Wars in the theater (first run) and there on the screen in front of my huge, unblinking eager eyes (we were pretty poor, so movies were a BIG DEAL) was Leia.  Raised on a diet of the Disney ideal of womanhood, SHE sounded more like the women in my life, she did stuff, she was capable.  I fell in love. 

In second grade I was Leia for Halloween, complete with the cinnamon buns on the sides of my head.  I had waist length hair, so no wig needed.  I had the 18 inch Leia doll, that actually mimicked real person proportions, had feet that allowed her to stand independently, and the cinnamon buns, which, alas, fell out revealing her hair to be barely shoulder length wrapped around plastic donuts.  Odds are good my parents still have her in a box somewhere (see previous post about the curse of packrattery). 

I’ve always been pretty good about imagining a place for my kick-ass self in universes that didn’t have a place for me already.  Such as with Battlestar Galactica, I imagined roles that did NOT involve me sitting quietly back on the mother ship keeping the home fires burning.  Screw that.  You may also add, to my credit, the invention of Shirley Holmes, instead of Sherlock, MS. Zorro thank you very much, and while the Lone Ranger has no implied gender in the name, in case of confusion with neighborhood boys, Ms. Lone Ranger also made her debut in the mid to late 70s in Jackson, Michigan.  My long suffering best friend Brent got to be Watson, rescued from the Al Calde, and Tonto.  But Leia represents the first time I ever saw an active woman played out on the big screen before me. 

My vision of Leia remains that white gown, swirling around her (must have been hell to run in), holding the laser pistol.  I am a big fan of the incongruity of the feminine and weapons (ask me about my “toys”).  Or that amazing kiss she shared with Han.  Sigh.  Also, in my household “Scruffy looking nerf herder” is a term of endearment. 

Ok, nostalgia moment over. 

As Carrie Fisher’s gotten older, she’s gotten more outspoken and more kickass than ever she was as Leia.  Every time I read a quote like, “I’m not as cooperative as you might want a woman to be,” I get all sorts of gleeful and in my head she’s wearing that damn gown and shooting down storm troopers again. 

/shameless fan-girling

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