Princess Leia: Let go.
Han Solo: Shh.
Princess Leia: Let go, please.
Han Solo: Don’t get excited.
Princess Leia: Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited.
That’s “General Leia” To You: ‘Star Wars’ Welcomes Back Carrie Fisher With a Kick-Ass Promotion
That's "General Leia" To You: 'Star Wars' Welcomes Back Carrie Fisher With a Kick-Ass Promotion
Die-hard fans were more than excited to hear that Carrie Fisher, well known for her portrayal of the kick-ass and quick-witted Leia Organa, will be back for the next installment of the “Star Wars” franchise, “The Force Awakens.” But this time, she’s ditched the problematic “princess” title for something a little less gendered. From now on, it’s “general.”
Director J.J. Abrams has shared his enthusiasm for Fisher’s return to the galaxy far, far away after a long absence from the studio set: “She’d been writing more than she had been acting, so I think that for her, it was a bigger adjustment, which she made beautifully.”
In the original trilogy, Leia was always a force to be reckoned with — in on the action and out with the stereotypes. For a while (as long as the conventional Hollywood narrative would allow), she rebuffed Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) continuous “playful” harassment and persistently proved that she could always rescue herself, as in this scene from “The Empire Strikes Back”:
Princess Leia: Let go.
Leia’s promotion to general-dom makes us hopeful that she will finally stopp being flattened into “that princess with the bulging hair buns” — or worse, the “slave” in the gold bikini — and start being fully recognized as the forceful resistance fighter that eager-eyed young girls like myself idolized while watching the final battle on the Forest Moon in “Return of the Jedi.” While Fisher rocked the iconic swimwear, I don’t recall Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) ever having to battle Stormtroopers with a sexy striptease.
Needless to say, this is an exciting progression from the traditional (and extreme) sexualization of women within Hollywood films and something well worth celebrating. “General Leia” shows young girls that we, as women, needn’t always be typecast as the “princess” or the “damsel in distress” — we can hold our own. The rest of the studio system should take heed of the conversation that this news has sparked and actively work to challenge old-fashioned stereotypes.