The layers of Leia

princess-leia-800Carrie Fisher is dead.

Leia sprung up at the height of second-wave feminism, the more radical adherants believing that attractive women were constantly being objectified by men in a bid to weaken them. Fisher’s character, just like Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman of the same vintage, showed that one could be sexy AND strong.

To this day, there has been argument whether Leia’s characterisation, in particular the metal bikini scene in Return of the Jedi, was objectifying. Fisher herself changed opinion on the matter several times, but her most recent opinion was that it wasn’t. Now third-wave feminism was in at the time (and remains in) and many proponents criticised her for saying that. No doubt some of these same people will blame the drug problems that eventually led to her death as patriarchal pressure, which is completely wrong.

She was born into fame and raised in fame. This upbringing, her meteoric rise from that and her strained relationship with her parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, caused her a lot of stress which led to her abuse of drugs, especially cocaine. By the time filming began on The Force Awakens she had dropped a lot of weight and was clean. However, the cocaine had taken a toll on her body and this eventually manifested itself in a massive heart attack where she stopped breathing for ten minutes. Over Christmas she stabilised, but recovery was never guaranteed and she died peacefully this morning. A tragic end to the portrayer of one of the most iconic female characters in cinema history.

May the force be with you, Leia.

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