You can't choose a girl their hero. You can supply them with all kinds of politically correct and gender neutral toys and books, teach them about Mary Seacole, Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst. You can tell them they can be anything that they want to be, but you can't decide which influences they'll find most important. You can only watch and hope they chose a sensible path.
Primary school for me was generally awful, but never during the Spring of 1978. I was in demand, because I was the only 1 of the 7 girls in my year who liked Star Wars. The boys couldn't play Star Wars properly without the female lead role, and none of them wanted to play a girl. For every breaktime that Spring, I was Princess Leia.
Being Princess Leia didn't only give me friends and a game to play, it gave me confidence and the understanding that I could be whatever I wanted to be. Leia could shoot a blaster and make clever suggestions while running, all the while remaining stunningly attractive and calm.
I could choose to play with the boys and that was fine. I could enjoy Star Wars even though I was a girl. And I could be the leading character in my own life - the kick-ass Princess.
When Emma Stone said “Don’t be afraid, even though people might say what you’re doing isn’t cool or isn’t right. I promise you, you will not regret it, if you stay true to who you are and what you love to do.” She knew it was right because, despite losing her parents and entire home planet, Princess Leia didn't turn to the dark side.
When Emma Freud said it was okay to be intelligent in a tiara, she knew it was true,
because over 30 years earlier Carrie Fisher had proven it by being
kick-ass and super clever, as well as beautiful, wearing 2 Cinnamon Buns and a white Nylon nightie.
Anyone could have played Princess Leia, but Carrie played it with great strength and humour, she beat the boys at their own game, and made Princess Leia far more than the Princess who needed to be rescued, she was the indispensable star of the film. And she changed the rules forever.
Thank you Carrie Fisher. The original Kick-Ass Princess.
Photo Credit Riccardo Ghilardi