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More Than A Princess

In the early 1990s, I saw my first glimpse of Princess Leia when I watched Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back. I didn’t see her as the damsel in distress that she was in A New Hope.

I saw her as a leader of the rebellion, an inspiring General to her people, and a stubborn lover of Han Solo- despite how much she tried to deny it. Seeing her at the battle of Hoth being told that she had to evacuate but refusing to leave until she knew that they got as many of her people out of there as possible...

This was my first interaction with Carrie Fisher.

She was supposed to be a Princess but she wasn’t acting like the Princesses you were used to.

I wasn’t used to seeing Princesses picking up blasters and firing back at enemies. I wasn’t used to seeing Princesses wearing anything other than fancy dresses, but here was Princess Leia in her white jump suit and vest looking as if she was in the middle of leading a rebellion rather than preparing to meet Princes at the ball.

By now, I’m sure you have heard about the recent passing of Carrie Fisher. I was asked to write a guest blog because of the impact that she had on my life growing up as well as the impact her death has had on me now as a 29-year-old man. After spending all weekend fearing for this news and attempting to emotionally prepare myself for it, it still managed to hit me like a bag of bricks. It feels real and raw and emotional. She was a celebrity and an actress I had never met and yet I sit here feeling like I am writing about a close family members passing.

I grew up loving and cherishing Princess Leia as I’m sure man Star Wars fans did.

She was not only a badass but she gave us a whole new look on what a Princess was.

When she was shot at, she shot back.

When Darth Vader boarded her ship in A New Hope and took her prisoner, did she cower in fear like everybody around her did? No. She stood up to him and even insulted him. She was brave enough to stand up to a Sith Lord that had everybody else paralyzed with fear.

When they tortured her for information on where the Rebel base was, she didn’t give in or give them the details. She lied to them to try to save lives.

She wasn’t scared for her life, she was scared for the lives of the people she was fighting for.

I know many women who looked up to Princess Leia as a role model. I understand what they saw in her. She was brave, strong, fierce, passionate, powerful, and righteous. She did everything she did to help people. She was never selfish and never greedy. She was always fighting for her friends and fighting for the little people under the boot of the Empire.

As a young boy, I didn’t look to her as a role model. I looked to her as this beautiful and amazing woman. As I grew up I started to realize what was amazing about her. It wasn’t just that she was beautiful, it was that she was strong both emotionally and mentally. These were qualities I started to find appealing when I would go on and look at girls in a whole new light.

I didn’t want a Princess unless it was the badass Princess Leia.

Because of Carrie Fisher and her portrayal as Princess Leia, we got a whole new generation of young women who got to see that it’s possible to be strong in so many ways. We also got a generation of young boys who got to see that women can be beautiful and powerful.

And we got fans who grew up to make more Star Wars movies with characters like Natalie Portman’s Padme, Daisy Ridley’s Rey, and Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso.

We were shown that women can be badasses, and that Princesses can also be Generals.


Kyle Piper is a single father, student in CVTC's IT- Software Developer Program, and an Eau Claire native.

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