“I haven’t ever changed who I am. I’ve just gotten more accepting of it. Being happy isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.”
These wise words were spoken by Carrie Fisher, the actress beloved by many for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. She passed away on December 27 due to complications from cardiac arrest.
However, Fisher was not only beloved for her iconic role; she was a pioneer. A true feminist, Fisher was never afraid to express her opinion on matters that she was passionate about. She will forever be remembered for her brutally honest voice that tackled the sexism in Hollywood, beginning with the depiction of her own character.
Princess Leia was initially envisioned to be the damsel in distress, but it was Fisher who chose to imbue her with her famed resourcefulness, independence, and spunk that only grew in the later films. Remember that notorious slave bikini? After it sparked controversy over its sexual implications, Fisher defended Leia’s own sense of feminism, reclaiming the look for women everywhere.
“The character is wearing that outfit not because she’s chosen to wear it. She’s been forced to wear it. She’s a prisoner of a giant testicle who has a lot of saliva going on,” Fisher explained to the Los Angeles Times. “She does not want to wear that thing and it’s ultimately that chain, which [modern society] now [indicates] is some sort of accessory to S&M, that is used to kill the giant saliva testicle. That’s asinine.”
It was this frank wit that launched Fisher to become an inspiring voice for all women. Leia proved to many young girls that you do not need a hero to rescue you and save the day; you could do the job perfectly well all on your own. She was a champion of a character for all generations of women, and it was Fisher that imbued that life into her.
Even when returning to the big screen in Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Fisher questioned Hollywood’s preoccupation with her physical appearance and age.
“I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up,” she told The Hollywood Reporter when on tour for the film. “They might as well say ‘get younger,’ because that’s how easy it is.”
Fisher also used her powerful voice to advocate for mental health, an issue that was extremely personal to her. Diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder in 1985, Fisher found herself suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism in order to make herself feel better. However, after receiving treatment, Fisher chose to openly discuss her illness and help others who are mentally suffering.
“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that,” she discussed in an interview with ABC in 2000. “I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.”
Fisher was an open book. In fact, she wrote several. Her two latest memoirs, Wishful Drinking and The Princess Diarist document everything from her time filming Star Wars to her substance abuse and bipolar diagnosis, all humorously explained using that ever-witty and honest voice of hers.
But, in Wishful Drinking, Fisher explains what she wanted in her obituary. After George Lucas told her she could not wear a bra while filming Star Wars because there is no underwear in space, Fisher was inspired.
“He says it with such conviction too! Like he had been to space and looked around and he didn’t see any bras or panties anywhere. He explained. ‘You go into space and you become weightless. Then your body expands but your bra doesn’t, so you get strangled by your own underwear.’ I think that this would make for a fantastic obituary. I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”
Carrie Fisher was a woman who influenced everyone she encountered. She believed in expressing herself and her opinion, and, as a result, she became a champion in the hearts of many. There is so much to celebrate about her, and she will continue to remain a force to be reckoned with.
Fisher was reportedly drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.
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