Both Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama have said recently that had they run for president against Donald Trump, they would’ve won. Besides being utter bullshit, it’s also completely sexist utter bullshit. They’re trying to say Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate and they’re smarter, better strategists, have a more ‘resonating’ message. But what they’re ACTUALLY saying is “We have a penis!” Most Americans can’t stand the thought of a female president, so maybe Barack & Bernie have a point… yet, there seems to be one female leader, one *shhh* FEMINIST, that trolls of all ages, women of all ages, and men of all ages can get behind: Carrie Fisher.
I’m not saying this as just some random non-sequitur. Since finding out the news of Carrie’s death a few short hours ago, I’ve been thinking how these two cocky, egotistical males consistently underestimate their female counterparts. And unabashed, unashamed Carrie would have no problem telling both of them to jump in the garbage chute and fuck off. One of Donald Trump’s biggest selling points was his “honesty” – there was no one more actually honest, more brave, more real than Carrie Fisher.
I have to confess, I’m not that big of a Star Wars fan. Yes, I’ve seen the movies and I enjoy them, but I never really got behind them the way others did, I didn’t love them (WHY THE HELL DID PRINCESS LEIA NOT HAVE A LIGHTSABER?!?!?!). But I fucking loved Carrie Fisher. The first moment I fell in love with her was in When Harry Met Sally. It was the scene where Sally has just broken up with Joe and Marie (Fisher) brings out her Rolodex of available men for Sally. I remember thinking Marie is so much cooler and smarter than Sally and this was one of the funniest actresses I had ever watched, who wasn’t Gilda Radner. That was the moment I wanted to see her in everything and anything.
So of course I consumed the Star Wars films. But I also started reading her books. And if I thought she was funny on camera, she even wittier and more prescient on paper. My favorite was Postcards From the Edge. I’ve read it 4 times. I remember thinking the first time I read it how honest and real this depiction of not only addiction, but of a mother/daughter relationship was. My mom, queen of Hollywood knowledge, began telling me the stories of Carrie Fisher & her mother Debbie Reynolds. How Eddie Fisher, bigwig singer on the 1950’s left his then-wife Debbie and 2-year old daughter so suddenly and publicly for Debbie’s former-BFF Elizabeth Taylor. The scandal sent shockwaves through Hollywood and in many ways was bigger than the Brangelina raucous of 2005. Putting the pieces together from Carrie’s books, everything began to make sense. These weren’t tales of someone else, these were Carrie’s stories. And from that point on, I knew – Carrie was never anyone other than herself and there is nothing more admirable than that.
I never met her, but I felt like I knew her. She was so raw, so true, and so fucking funny. When she made her public reappearance last year for The Force Awakens, many (too many) people criticized her body – fat, ugly, looks like Elton John, disgusting, mousy, old AF (just a few of the ones I found in a brief 5 second search). Carrie, instead of spewing some bullshit about the “beauty within” (that always sounds fake no matter who says it) or claiming it “didn’t bother her,” said:
“Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all three of my feelings. My body hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us.”
It was so honest, so true. I remember reading that tweet and legit yelling “OH MY FUCKING GOD YAAAAAAAAS.” She also correctly and aptly asserted in a subsequent tweet that “Youth and beauty are not accomplishments.” This woman is a feminist mantra on legs – everything she says is brutal, genuine, and witty as hell. She never shied away from talking about things deemed too taboo by those stars that came before her (including her mother). She discussed her relationship with Paul Simon in intimate detail, her roller-coaster ride with drugs & alcohol with an inwardness that made you feel like she was sharing a secret with you, when really she was exposing it to the entire world. She was unafraid to fight stigma, revealing her bi-polar diagnosis and the reality of her life living with it. She did more for mental health and drug addiction awareness than most politicians. She was a force to be reckoned with all on her own.
Too many feminists have faced the same fate as Hillary Clinton – fighting so hard and losing battle after battle, all while having to keep up a public persona that society deemed appropriate enough for women to have. Carrie Fisher gave no shits about public persona and said and did whatever the hell she wanted, some of it good and some of it not so good, but it was all so truly and genuinely her. There are countless double standards for women, in Washington D.C, in Hollywood, and in galaxies far far away. We need more women like Carrie Fisher, who fight the good fight by being no one other than themselves, showing the world it’s okay to be who you are, battle scars, philandering fathers, secret lovers, drug addiction, mental illness, and all the baggage in the world.
Carrie Fisher wasn’t a princess, she was a goddamn queen. And I am going to miss her so much.
*Bonus: One of my least favorite things about Star Wars (besides Leia’s lack of lightsaber) is that fucking gold bikini. There have been many stories written about George Lucas’ intent with that terrible costume choice and the aftermath of that decision, but my favorite is that Carrie once told a conservative father that the way to reconcile why Leia wore the bikini was to say “a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it.” God, this woman was the best.