So, Carrie Fisher died last night. Another celebrity. Essentially, stranger to every one of us. So why the out pouring of emotion and the frission of, let’s face it, grief, for a woman we never met and didn’t know us amongst the starscape of glittering fans?
For us, it isn’t Carrie Fisher who has died. It’s the concept of her. It’s the amount she touched a geek boys life – not just in that gold bikini – but the way she took that symbol of female sexuality and changed it to a source of female empowerment by using it to kill her captor. It’s the fact that is a world of screaming Bond girls and mysoginist movie writing, Leia was the driving force of A New Hope, never damsel in distress and rescuing more than being rescued. She was a strong, go getting, bad ass, independent woman – just like all the women I find myself surrounded by, whether family or friends. She did this whilst still being feminine.
So the fact that Carrie Fisher has died resonates through culture and literature in many ways because Leia was a symbol. And sadly her last spoken word in Rogue One foreshadowed this. She was a symbol for “hope”. A symbol that women can be strong AND vulnerable. They can be powerful AND feminine. They can be leaders AND love. Never mind the other ways Carrie Fisher touched our lives – she rewrote Lethal Weapon 3 for instance – or the work she did for addictive disorders or mental health issues – Carrie Fisher became an icon, THE Princess of Fandom, and for the passing of a symbol, that icon, that chunk of my childhood, I’m sad.
I didn’t know Carrie Fisher and she didn’t know me. One retweet does not make us friends. So I don’t deserve to grieve as that undermines real grief from real friends and family. But I’m sad at the passing of an icon and for all the good she did in the world.
She was the Force. Now the Force is with her.