This is a heartbreaking time for those who have dedicated their lives to the film industry. We spend years studying the then and now, every twist and turn that the industry takes and it’s hard to do that without coming across the names Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.
Growing up, I was a huge Star Wars fan. I saw the movies opening day, I knew all the dialogue, the references. I even owned lightsabers, so clearly this movie gave me a number of great memories, but the most important thing it gave me was a princess who fought her own battles, stood up for herself, and spoke her mind. Women are often taught that they shouldn’t be outspoken because they would be called things such as “emotional”, “mouthy”, or “obnoxious”. So instead, we resign within ourselves and let men speak for us and men fight our battles for us but Princess Leia was the exact opposite, and guess what? She was loved for it. After getting to know the woman behind the Princess, Carrie Fisher, an even greater revelation was born: she too embodied the character she played. What an important statement to make to young women, especially in a film that touched so many. If 2016 has taught us anything in the world of film, it’s that representation matters. Society is built by the beliefs and normality of the people around us and because television and theater has a greater reach than any other format it has a greater impact on society. Therefore, having a celebrated woman like Carrie Fisher welcomed into the homes of millions of people changed the norms of society, and thank god for that.
I think we know where Carrie’s trailblazing spirit came from. Her mother Debbie was stuck in a time that was unkind and unwelcoming to female actors, especially comedians. She fought hard for the roles she played and she shined brighter than anyone beside her while gaining half the credit. Her role in Singing In The Rain captured the life she lived, having one foot in the past and one foot in the future. Her character was kept hidden behind a curtain while a woman, who was thought to be more beautiful and movie worthy, took all the credit for her voice. This was because the industry was booming with innovation and new talents were being recognized, even if the actors didn’t have those talents. Fast forward many years later when she graced my childhood as the loving grandmother in Halloween Town. Through this role she taught the world that one should cherish the things that made them unique because it may be what people rely on when things get tough. So from generation to generation, she has inspired us all with positive messages and gender-fighting norms, all while making us laugh our worries away.
Carrie and Debbie have made their marks on the world, and I for one am a better person because of them. I know there are many others who feel the same way, and I’m so lucky to have such amazing women influencing my life.