Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ambassador-Rebel-Warrior Princess Leia



(While I'm always willing to write about Princess Leia, today's post was inspired by the This is Madness battle currently waging at StarWars.com between R2-D2 and Leia. Artoo is wonderful, of course, but Leia deserves the win. This battle wages from 3/30 until 4/1. Please vote for Leia!) 

Ambassador              Rebel               Warrior             Princess

These are just a few of the words that describe my all time favorite leading lady.


I have to admit that Leia's snarky, sarcastic retorts were what first drew me to her. One of my favorite buttons to wear on my denim jacket in high school proudly declared, "I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person". Leia... she was armed and deadly. Come on, you know that you laughed when she called Han a "stuck up, half witted, scruffy looking, nerf-herder" or when she gestured at Chewie and requested that someone "get this walking carpet out of my way". While her snark toned down as she got to know and love Han and Luke, I still loved it.

Over the course of three movies that defined much of my childhood, I watched her closely to learn what it means to be a strong woman. Leia's story arc taught me that everything has a season.


Strong women ask for help without shame
Our first glimpse of Leia is as a leader of a rebellion in trouble. She knows that the only way her mission will succeed is if she can ask for help. She's no fool - she doesn't believe the only way to be strong is to be able to do everything on her own. She knows her own strengths, of course, and doesn't shirk her duties. Yet her leadership style also allows her to use strengths of others in her plans. This is a lesson I'm still learning. Our culture of independence and strength often makes us feel guilty about asking others for assistance.


Strong women help others
Leia is a source of strength for everyone around her. Even when she herself is being rescued, Leia takes charge of the situation to help her rescuers find a way out. She takes huge risks to save Han from Jabba.  She steps out of her comfort zone time and time again to be there for the Rebel Alliance and for her friends.

Strong women lead 
Her role as a leader in the Rebellion was a source of inspiration to me as a teen. She sometimes led from the battle room, and sometimes in the battle itself, but she was never far from the action. She felt fear, and anger, and sadness - but nothing stopped her from taking the reins back into her hands and taking her team back into battle.


Strong women stand up for their beliefs
As a wealthy woman from a powerful family on Alderaan, Leia could have just ignored what was going on in the galaxy. It certainly would have helped her planet survive longer! Yet she couldn't just stand by and watch. Her position of power meant, to her, that she had no choice but to try to make the galaxy a better place.

Strong women can change their minds
Often we equate strong with inflexible - iron bars instead of willow trees. Yet there is strength in being able to admit your mistakes or allowing others to help you see that your first instinct may not be correct. Something rubbed her the wrong way about Han right from the start. Her initial impressions told her that he was just a money hungry smuggler with limited redeeming value. She remained open, though, gradually seeing more below the surface.


Strong women love
What is the secret plan of the Rebellion? #babymouse4prezTo be strong does not mean to be alone. Leia may have to stand above the crowd she leads, but she can still let people into her heart. She lets her defenses down, lets people come close enough to love her. Luke, Han, Chewbacca, Artoo - and even the annoying C-3PO - become a part of her family. Strength and the vulnerability that come with opening up yourself to others can go hand in hand. When Han looks around in desparation and asks, "Who's there?" she can respond calmly, "Someone who loves you."

Your turn - join in! What do you love about Leia?

(And don't forget to vote for Leia today!)



I'm participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the amazing educators at Two Writing Teachers. Stop by to see what others are posting!

Also - if you stop by and comment, and you are also slicing - PLEASE feel free to include your URL in the comments. With over 200 people slicing, it is often hard to go find your specific link on the Two Writing Teachers page, and I'd love to come read YOUR slice too!

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