I’ve never been one for Disney Princesses. Don’t get me wrong, I like Mulan and Merida; one saved China, even though she is not technically a princess and one saved herself from an arranged marriage. With the exception of Mulan and Merida, though, the other princesses are portrayed as damsels that need rescuing by Prince Charming. I’ll admit having a Prince Charming would be nice but I’ll rescue myself, thanks anyway. My kind of princess is Princess (later, General) Leia. And now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, she is technically a Disney Princess, however she is not animated and this seems to be a per-requisite for the club. This fact has fans divided on the issue because she is not the typical Disney Princess.
Leia was one of my first female leadership role models. A character that started out as a damsel in distress in the clutches of Darth Vader, she ends up getting her “rescuers” out of a jam, even if she did send them down the garbage chute. On Hoth, she was one of the last to leave the battle and, even then, Han had to practically drag her to the Millennium Falcon. She fights side by side with the guys on the forest moon of Endor and proved herself as a leader by doing exactly the thing she asks her troops to do by volunteering for the mission. She doesn’t want to sit and have someone take care of her. She wants to save the Republic and bring peace to the galaxy. Can we say the same of the traditional Disney Princesses? Jasmine has Aladdin to save her. Sleeping Beauty is in no position to help herself, but she was tricked by not being suspicious of that creepy old lady out in the middle of the woods. I could go on…
Leia is the one character that I don’t mind if my daughter says she wants to cosplay as (unless it’s “Slave Leia” then I have to draw a line until she’s out of high school). Leia is a good role model. She was one of the first women that made me believe I could do anything without a man to hold my hand and that there were certain things girls were told we shouldn’t do but she did. Millennium Falcon repair anyone? Watching her I knew I could learn how to fix a car and I did. In senior year of high school, my mom’s then-boyfriend taught me how to fix my car because it always broke down. It was something my own father never would have done because he had the mindset that it was something girls didn’t do. Despite the position Leia is in with her impractical metal encrusted bikini, she uses her chains to kill Jabba and free herself. This simple action speaks volumes as a role model; she took action to improve her own situation and didn’t wait for anyone else to come in and save her.
Folks, I get it. I have known Princess Leia all my life as many in my daughter’s generation have known Disney Princesses all theirs. (My daughter, thankfully, agrees that Leia is better.) Leia was the princess I wanted to be: kicking Imperial ass, taking names, and fighting for the good of the galaxy.
Carrie Fisher breathed life into the role of Leia. If it had not been for her natural wit, spunk and tenacity, I don’t believe that Leia would have been the spirited and fierce princess that we got. From my observation (I followed her on Twitter), she was always gracious to fans, loved life, and embraced the role of Leia, even after becoming one of the top script doctors in Hollywood.
Thanks to Leia’s influence, I was a volunteer firefighter, EMT, and soldier. Tell me again how Disney Princesses are better than my Princess? No comparison, but maybe, just maybe, Disney’s Princesses need a role model to look up to. Princess Leia Organa Skywalker Solo is that role model.