2016 has been relentless in its reaping of iconic actors, writers, singers, and public figures. The most recent artist we have lost is the one and only Carrie Fisher, perhaps best known for her role as Leia Organa in the Star Wars saga. Carrie left an indelible mark upon pop culture the world over, and we at The Collective mourn this loss deeply. She affected each of us in different, but significant, ways.
From the desk of a broken-hearted Collectress
I can’t write more than one goodbye to a lady who helped shape who I am; I just can’t. I already wrote a lengthy goodbye to Carrie on my Tumblr, and here all I can say is: hope is not lost, and Carrie showed us that.
Rebel Rebel by C. Diva
Carrie Fisher played one of the most iconic female characters to ever grace sci-fi in the 20th (and 21st) century. As a kid, Princess Leia showed me that a woman could be surrounded by strong men and still be the most powerful voice in the room. As a grown-up, a mother, a wife, General Organa showed me that a woman can make her own destiny and choose her own path. While some female sci-fi characters can seem vapid and reliant on the men around her, Leia Organa always came up with her own ideas, remained driven, even in the face of the affections of the hottest boy on the spaceship and ran an entire rebellion rather successfully. If I teach my daughter one thing, it will be to rebel when she sees fit. Against me? Probably. Against the Patriarchy? Definitely. Against racism, fascism, sexism, and any other -ism she might come up against? Always. If I teach my daughter one thing, it will be to use her voice to help others and to never stop fighting against the Dark Side. That’s what Carrie taught me.
A Force of Her Own by The Collected Mutineer
People are always surprised when I admit that I didn’t see episode 4 until high school—and the shock grows when they find that I didn’t see the rest of Star Wars until my final year of college. It’s true that I didn’t grow up as a Star Wars kid. My mom was a Trekkie, and I was, too. But the fact remains that I grew up in a world where Princess Leia existed, and that changed a lot of things for me.
I didn’t know the ins and outs of the universe that George Lucas created, but I knew that there was a girl named Leia who was not only beautiful but brave and badass. I didn’t know the difference between Jabba the Hutt and Lando Calrissian, but I knew that a woman could hold her own in a galaxy full of men. I didn’t know that Vader was Luke’s father (just kidding, that was the first spoiler I ever got, ever) but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that a princess didn’t have to be a delicate flower—she could carry a gun, speak her mind, and ultimately save herself.
A great deal of this influence was not simply the character of Leia, but the woman behind the role. Carrie Fisher was even more independent, outspoken, vulnerable, and honest than her most famous on-screen counterpart. Once I actually saw the films, I was eager to learn more about Carrie. To this day, the more I find out about her life, her skills, her struggles, and her sheer willingness to never give up, the more inspired I am to fight my own fight. She is one with the Force, and we will never forget her. Thank you, Carrie.