Aleteia

The 5 big lessons Princess Leia taught us

Share
Comment

Intelligent, powerful, just ... with a great fashion sense ... she's a modern icon of female empowerment.

If there’s something I love about Star Wars (besides the story, the special effects, and a long list of other things that have made this movie franchise into one of the most important ones in the entertainment industry), it’s the role given to women. At first, it could seem that the galactic universe rotates around a patriarchy, but if we grab a telescope, we can see that female characters are stars in their own right — Princess Leia, of course, being the amazing warrior star capable of shining a light in the moments of greatest darkness.

1. The Force is with you

I don’t have anything against Disney, but let’s say that the idea of waiting for Prince Charming to come rescue us from danger seems like an idea from a galaxy far, far away. When the first Star Wars movie premiered in 1977, Princess Leia broke all the stereotypes that dictated that a young woman of high society had to maintain a certain kind of composure. Leia took the reins of a problematic situation, became the leader of the Rebel Alliance, and wasn’t afraid to pick up a weapon or risk her life to achieve her mission. Princess or not, the lesson is: you can fight on your own for what you believe in and for what you think is right. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t accept anyone’s help (in fact, Leia had the help of an entire army, and of course, of Han Solo and Luke), but don’t just sit around waiting for help that may never show up. Trust in your abilities, and put them to use!

2. Defeat is part of success

Princess Leia lost her parents, then she was captured, tortured, and even saw her home planet explode, but that never broke her spirit or made her surrender; on the contrary, it gave her more courage to fight for her cause. Perhaps you, too, might get some negative replies when you are looking for a new job or asking for a pay raise, but don’t give up! Perseverance is key, and literally losing a battle doesn’t mean losing the war. Remember: if your initial plan or strategy doesn’t work, there’s always more than one way to use your “force.”

3. Don’t be a slave of anything or anyone

When Carrie Fisher put on that famous golden bikini, many parents criticized the outfit for being “too provocative”; nevertheless, she had a great answer for them: “Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.”

The princess never let anyone intimidate her, no matter how “big” they were, and she always kept her dignity. She was also liberated from the idea that the sole purpose of a woman’s life is to get married and have children. She showed that a woman can shine on her own and lead a rebellion perfectly well (or a company, or her own home) without a husband. And yes, even though she found Han Solo along the way, they were equals. When she sees that the relationship isn’t working anymore, she leaves him, even though she continues to love him … because, yes, in fairy tales they tell you that couples live happily ever after, but in real life there are many men and women who love each other but, due to certain circumstances, cannot be together.

4. Humility makes you classy

Although it was her job to make the big decisions due to her rank, she was ready to listen to others. She never felt like she was better than other people just because she was a princess (and in the latest movies, she is referred to as a general). She always treated her soldiers with great respect, and acknowledged their efforts — something that won her their sincere admiration. In fact, if she had been snobbish, she would never have gotten to know the love of her life.

5. You can conquer the world and look fabulous at the same time

Leia Organa showed that you don’t have to dress or act like a man in order to stand out in a world governed by men. She always kept her femininity, and her distinctive braided hair styles became iconic for an entire generation (long before Rachel’s hairdos in Friends). She is a woman who proves that intelligence and beauty are not mutually exclusive.

Without a doubt, Princess Leia left a legacy that transcends the silver screen. It’s no surprise that the latest Star Wars movies, including Rogue One as well as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, include female characters as great leaders. So, if you are one of the women who thinks that these are “movies for boys” (and maybe haven’t watched them for that reason), now is the time to re-watch the previous films and see the one that premieres today.

Share
Comment
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]