Princess Leia showed us that princesses could smart, independent, and outspoken, and that they could save themselves. Carrie Fisher showed us that we were more than the role society assigned us, that we could be any damn weight we wanted, and that mental illness and addiction were nothing to be ashamed of.
“Growing up in a rural, conservative area that clings to “traditional” gender roles like Golem clung to that ring, my first exposure to Carrie Fisher – by way of Princess Leia, of course – was profound. Leia was the self-rescuing princess my burgeoning feminist identity so desperately needed. And it wasn’t just because she could wield a blaster like a badass or stare down the Empire – though, those were no small things – it was that she was smart, principled, and carried the courage of her convictions with strength. Princess Leia owned her voice. She owned her strength. She claimed her space. It is hard to overstate how much seeing a woman claim those things on screen impacted me.
Off-screen, she felt no less powerful to me. She was flawed and, rather than try to pretty it up, she owned her voice and her experience. She was honest. She actively fought against stigma and shame, shining a light into the dark corners where our society likes to stow away issues like mental illness and addiction. She owned her body and her aging. Her honesty and her awe-inspiring lack of fucks about what people thought of her are things that I admire deeply. Intelligent, snarky, hilarious, compassionate, honest, and so very real – I will always look up to her.
And I can’t NOT mention my most favorite of the gifts she gave us: last year’s General Leia Organa. Her commitment to the fight after decades, her grace under fire, her strength, her leadership, the beautiful and very real coexistence of power and tenderness… is so profoundly inspiring. General Organa is definitely among the heroes I will continue to look to in the times ahead.
Rest in power, Space Momma. And thank you. For everything.”
“Return of the Jedi was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. I was three and was enraptured. My brother was six months old and slept through it. My dad was a Star Wars fan and told me all about Princess Leia. That she was a hero. I couldn’t get over her kicking ass. My boy cousins wielded swords, and they said I couldn’t because I was a girl. My dad said I could do whatever I wanted. I spent months begging my mother – who didn’t do hair – to give me Leia buns. I couldn’t have them with my pageboy haircut, but I had earmuffs shaped liked panda heads and I pretended. She was the first woman who made me believe I could do anything.”
“I didn’t know what to expect when my parents took me to see Star Wars. Until then, my experience with movies had been Disney cartoons and fairy tale princesses who had to be kissed awake and rescued. I was completely enthralled by this epic saga of space-faring rebels – I’d never seen anything like it. Princess Leia was the first real, ass-kicking, laser shooting, wise-cracking heroine I ever saw on a big screen, and I would spend the rest of my childhood trying to emulate her. When I got older, I came to appreciate that as badass as Princess Leia was, she couldn’t begin to compare to Carrie Fisher, whose funny, heart-breaking, self-aware writing and mental health advocacy showed me what real rebel bravery looked like.”
Here are 14 of our favorite Carrie Fisher quotes: