In 1977, the world was a different place. There were no strong females to be found in adventure film, just sidekicks and Bond girls. Princess Leia became one of the first strong female characters in film, and she displayed heroic traits along the way that prove that she is a worthy hero for anyone. She demonstrated resourcefulness, compassion, and honor, all traits necessary for a good hero. " Leia is intelligent, wisecracking, autonomous, and a highly skilled fighter, as well as being a fearless and strong leader"(Sandars). In this, she showed girls across the globe that women could also be heroes in a world where men ruled adventure films.
The moment after getting out of her cell, Princess Leia had to take control of her own escape. She immediately found out that her ragtag group of rescuers just didn't have the experience or knowledge to fully plan or coordinate an escape, and they eventually end up pinned down in a trash compactor. "...In a shootout scene with the storm troopers, she berates Han Solo with, 'You mean you didn't have a plan for getting out?!', shoots a hole into the garbage slide, orders everyone to jump in and exasperatedly declares, 'Someone has to save our skins!'"(Sandars). Leia took control and never gave up trying to save the group, even when the others lose hope. This shows her resourcefulness in being a leader; she makes do with what she has on hand, with tools as well as knowledge. Another example of Leia's resourcefulness is when Han Solo accidentally alerted a stormtrooper of their presence on Hoth. Immediately jumping on a speeder to go after a second trooper, Leia shouted "Jam the comm link" to make sure that the troopers didn't alert the entire base. This shows her big picture thinking and how she didn't dwell on the situation, instead being resourceful and using her smarts.
|Princess Leia is impressve (fanpop.com)|
Another trait that Princess Leia exhibited was compassion in her maternal instincts towards the Ewoks, especially Wicket. She saw these small creatures and immediately knew that they had to be protected from the cruel Empire in the midst of taking over their moon. Princess Leia was able to befriend the Ewoks, and even become one of the tribe. This shows her willingness to love anyone, no matter how small or obscure a people, and to use that love to protect them. The whole reason Leia joined the rebellion was because she saw the oppressive Empire at work on the less fortunate in her galaxy. From this, she learned that to aid people with compassion is a sure way to get their trust and kindness in return. "Princess Leia rescues on the individual level as well as playing an important role in the rebellion to rescue others from the 'dark side' of the Empire."(Nulman). Princess Leia knew that to have her people respect her, she must show them compassion.
|Princess Leia and Wicket (Wookiepedia (starwars.wickia.com))|
Princess Leia also showed herself to be honorable. She respected all the cultural groups she came in contact with, especially the Ewoks. However, when the Ewoks tried to serve her friends up for dinner, she had the integrity to stand up to them and say "But these are my friends." Princess Leia knew the value that comes from being honest and moral, and that made her a better leader, because she was a respected person. Another example of one of her honorable acts was that in the Hoth battle, she had to be coaxed to leave because she stayed behind as long as she could in order to make sure that everyone else got out safely. Leia could have chosen to hop on the first transport out of there because of her status, but instead, she did the honorable thing and saw her people out.
Princess Leia is my hero because she showed these heroic traits that only men had demonstrated in film at the time, and so she was able to show people across the world what a real women hero looks like. "In contrast to the beautiful but defenseless princess of fairy tales, Leia functions as the archetypal role model for women in the contemporary cycle of sci-fi blockbusters." (Sandars). Princess Leia became an icon for many girls all over the world, including me.