Thank You, General Leia

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Dear Ms. Fisher,

You don’t know me. I don’t expect you to know me. In fact, honestly, this thank you note being so public makes me a little nervous.

But I need to thank you. Publicly.

I love the idea of my body being my brain bag. I never would have thought of that. The fact that you did is amazing. I am proud of my brain. I am proud of how I think. I am proud of being an analytical woman.

But all people see is my body. Even doctors.

But you know what? You’re right. They can blow us.

Because the brain that hides inside our bodies is more important than the fat that protects it.

Because if my pants size being larger than average is more important to people than my IQ being larger than average, they have their priorities screwed up.

Because when I look at General Leia in that beautiful purple dress at the end of The Force Awakens, I see the woman I imagine myself to be.

Because, here’s the thing: I came late to the Star Wars party. Leia was the woman that I thought to myself, “YEAH, I want to BE that.” When Jabba tried to objectify her? She kicked his big, slimy backworm end.

I ever after imagined myself as that metal swinging, worm tail kicking, woman.

Then, in my early 30’s, I had a child. Lo and behold, about five years later at 35, my body just decided to say, “Welcome to your mid-30’s growth spurt. Sorry that your spine means you’re going to stay 5 feet tall. But hey! You can gain width!”

I felt removed from the princesses.

Then I watched The Force Awakens.

You are no princess. You are a general. You are OUR general. You are the general for the generation of women whose bodies change, whose age impacts their look, whose mouths say the thing others don’t want to hear. Thank you.

You are my General. I will follow you into battle. Because there is a war. It is not a fictional war. It is not just a war against women. It is a war against impractical ideals. It is a war that takes prisoners who are all ages from child to elderly. It is a war that tells men they should have six packs and women they should be a size 2.

I will tell others who speak of my aged, child-bearing body, to blow us. Because my brain needs an RV, even though I am more proud of my brain than my body. If my body is the RV for my brain, so be it. You reminded everyone that our brains are more important than our bodies. Thank you.

Also, if I may be shallow? That purple dress. That purple dress is what I want to wear to my next major life moment.

I am disappointed at the lack of internet pictures of you in that dress when I do searches. I bought the entire set of Disney figures to have a General Leia in that purple dress. That dress was everything I imagine myself to be in terms of being a mature woman. It was beautiful. You were beautiful. The moments you portrayed in it were beautiful.

I hope that despite the haters hating, you can find some comfort or solace or whatever people living under a microscope need when I say this:
You are not my Princess. You are my General. You spoke the words I want to say. You portrayed the adult, matured woman I want to be. I will follow you into whatever battle you ask. I will fight whatever haters bring their sabers of stupid.

Thank you, Ms. Fisher for being the one to publicly say:
Blow us.

Leia
General Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, image via Disney Entertainment.

Because that is what people can do.
Or, we can just keep blowing them away.

Respectfully,
A Private in Your Army.

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21 thoughts on “Thank You, General Leia

  1. Yes. Yes. Yes. I was thinking on this this morning and have been discussing it on fb. . For the first time in a long time I have a fandom role model again. A talisman. I can be a mother, I can be a career woman. I can do my best even if the results arent perfect. I can have a love interest as I age – a real love interest who cares about me even though difficult things happen and life and love aren’t perfect. I am allowed to live my life in many incarnations and many emotions and see that represented on screen. In a world where teen girls save the world there’s a woman still fighting for her ideals and not giving up. No matter what a person believes, that’s amazing.

    I also love that this means women can be Leia for Halloween and at cons forever. Instead of being shamed for choosing to wear a metal bikini or not looking right in it they can strut as General Leia and look amazing and human. It’s canon now. I want to go to events and see people cosplaying the TFA versions of the original characters, but I’m especially excited for Leia.

    Forget the princess. We have a general who represents who we are and who we’re growing up and into.

  2. Here’s what I want. I want every decent right-thinking woman on the Internet to share this article, with or without a few words about how amazing Carrie Fisher is and how much Leia means to her, and add some catchy attention-getting hashtag – my friend suggested #PostcardsFromTheForce but maybe the hive mind here can come up with one. I want General Leia’s Army to just overwhelm the Web-verse with love for Carrie Fisher and how beautiful and awesome she is. How do we make that happen??

  3. As a new mum whose body blew out after baby was born, as someone who has felt months of shame and despair, I thank you for this piece. Seeing General Leia moved me too. I told Ms. Fisher on Twitter how much she meant to me. It kills me that moofmilkers on the internet have hurt her in some way, when in the same movie I thought she looked beautiful. So much in her eyes, so much strength in her resolute expression. The strong mother figure in Sci-fi who hasn’t died, or become the motivation for someone’s adventurous career. Carrie Fisher has had such an amazing career, she is so sharp, so observant, so delightfully snarky. I’ll stand by her to the end and I’ll suffer no mockery of her. Here’s to Leia’s Army.

    1. Thank you. I know how hard it can feel to say personal things publicly. I am totally moved by the fact that you felt this would be a place that felt safe to say that. Thank you. As someone who has had comments made to me, I truly understand how hard they are and how much they hurt. Screw what people say. Your body held A SMALL HUMAN BEING. Anyone who wants to make you feel shame or despair over harboring a small parasite for 9 months can come to me. And if you are feeling that those are more than just what other people say to you – please find help. I was a PPD risk (and had antianxiety medication at the end of my pregnancy), likely had depression during pregnancy, and know so many women who struggled with undiagnosed PPD. I don’t want anyone to feel alone. Stay strong. You are amazing.

  4. Carrie Fisher is one of the funniest human beings on the planet. Brilliant, inside and out. Screw being a princess. I want to be a general when I grow up — if I ever do.

  5. I have some problems with this article. The concept is good… but why does Princess Leia not get your admiration and respect until she’s an old general? As a youth, she she was part of the Imperial Senate AND the leader of the Rebellion. She rescued herself and lead the way to saving the galaxy. It’s great that George Lucas kept the character strong, but then, it would have been out of character for Princess Leia to become a weak will idiot in her older years. (The whole kicking Jabba’s butt thing) The Leia Organa character is wonderful because she’s a role model for women and girls at any age. Maybe the problem is the term “Princess”? I don’t know, but I think the article attempts to take away the power Leia Organa had in her younger years simple because she was young and pretty. Leia has the same brain in Episodes 4, 5, and 6 that she does in Episode 7.

    1. I agree – and didn’t mean disrespect. More that – older women in media tend to be the dowager or the sassy grandmother character. I liked that they kept her the same and didn’t trope her. And as someone who is … Marching forward in years… I like seeing more representation of mature women in media that match the mature women I know. But I get how the “Princess” title and the way this is written can come across that way.

  6. Done. Including a screen shot of some of the posts that have already gone out. Thank you so much everyone. I’m finding all of you women so inspiring.

  7. As someone who has loved her as Leia since ’77, cracks up at all of her speeches at roasts and tributes, and has read ALL of her novels, I have ALWAYS known that Carrie Fisher is amazing. And she just keeps getting even more so.

  8. I really don’t have the words to express how much I love this article. I have shared it on my media, and it’s already been shared beyond my friends from my share. Thank you, Karen!

  9. YES! Exactly. I am roughly Carrie Fisher’s age. When I saw the first Star Wars movie in the 70s, she was my hero. That first moment of her close-up holding a blaster ready to fire… wow. When I saw the Force Awakens, after all these years, and I’ve had children and I’m not anemic/anorexic anymore, she is still my hero. Thank you!

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