My love letter to General Leia Organa Solo:
I am a 35 year old geek who happens to be female. Star Wars has been around my entire life (and then some obviously), and I’ve been a huge fan of Star Wars — especially Princess Leia — since I was a kid. I remember being enamored with Star Wars and consuming as much Star Wars trivia and knowledge as humanly possible as early as middle school.
So yes, I’m a huge geek. I love sci-fi/fantasy, mythology, folklore, and culture. Give me Star Wars, Outlander, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, etc. — I’m happy. I pursued an Anthropology degree in college (with a concentration in Archaeology and an English minor that ended up being mostly myth and folklore classes), and with this new knowledge my love of Star Wars only grew deeper. Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth theory is deep in the narrative of Star Wars. To be fair, it’s the basis for a lot of stories throughout the ages. I love seeing a pattern and common elements throughout history — it shows us that no matter the culture or language, humans really aren’t so different deep down.
Having said that, knowing there was another layer and a historical/mythological precedent behind the cool story I loved made it even better for me.
THE BEST PART?
The best part of Star Wars for me is Leia Skywalker Organa Solo. Hands down, no questions. My answer is the same across all 9 movies and all canon.
The General, the Princess, the Legend.
Gold bikini aside, this character was the first female I remember seeing who was brash, smart, and capable. She kicked ass, took names, and SHE saved the men who thought they were there to rescue her. In a world where girls are often told to sit down, make themselves smaller, and to be quiet, Leia was (and still IS) a shining beacon of hope and bad-ass-ery for females of all ages.
I particularly love this quote. Sums her up nicely, eh?:
Hope is a big deal for me personally. It is the one thing that I always look for and try to hold on to in my everyday life. My life hasn’t been terrible overall, but I’ve had my share of struggles and hardships. Holding on to hope has helped me immensely in my general outlook and mindset.
There are some days and situations where hope is the only thing you have. If you have hope, you at least have one thing. One thing is often enough to keep us going when life is testing you beyond the limits you think you may have.
Leia weighs in on hope:
Where does this fictional character fit in to all of this?
Well, I came up with the idea for this post for three main reasons, as follows:
- See above re: geek.
- G and I recently saw The Rise of Skywalker (I actually started writing this in my head the day after seeing this movie).
- I’m basically always thinking about this kind of stuff in the back of my mind anyway. Also see #1.
Back to Leia.
The representation of Leia onscreen leaves a beautiful legacy for this character. And Carrie Fisher did a wonderful job portraying this character for 40 years (more on her in a bit).
Again, Leia stood up for herself, she was smart and capable, and she took no shit from ANYONE. She endured unspeakable hardships over and over in her life, and was still this amazing beacon of hope, resistance, and resilience. The character went from a princess to a rebel to a general. She was respected as a leader, and that’s very important to remember. The representation and aspirational quality for females of all ages is so important.
I came to my geek cred honestly. I was (and still am) an introvert, and I read constantly and borderline obsessively. If something interested me, I read and learned as much as I could about the specific subject. I consumed a LOT of Star Wars books and trivia in the early days of AOL.
Growing up, I was constantly told that I “shouldn’t” like the things that interested me, because girls should like different, more “girly” things. I am 100% positive that I am not alone in this experience, because strangers (especially MALE strangers) love to tell other people what they’re doing wrong with their lives. ESPECIALLY if the anonymity of a keyboard and screen is involved.
“REBELLIONS ARE BUILT ON HOPE”
There are so many quotes from Star Wars that I love. But for some reason, I think about the line “Rebellions are built on hope” quite a bit. It’s subtle, but powerful. Granted, Leia did not utter this line….it’s from Rogue One. However, since Rogue One is all about the Rebel Alliance and the mission of getting the Death Star plans to the rebels, it still applies. Besides (nerd joke ahead): many good Bothans died to deliver that information. And the hope that came along with that information, which was so important to this story.
Among other things, Leia opposed men who abused their own power for personal gain. If that’s not something we should hold onto and strive towards in these crazypants times we’re currently living in, I don’t know what else we can do.
Be like Leia
So my takeaway from writing this article is: Be like Leia. Be yourself, be brave, and don’t give a shit about what people think about you or what you’re supposed to do. I know that now that *I’m* aware of this, I will be trying to live more like Leia.