BRB Gone Viral, Pop Culture

The Tempest bids farewell to Carrie Fisher

Most famous for portraying Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" movies, Carrie Fisher was a talented writer and advocate for mental illness and substance abuse.

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Carrie Fisher, an actor, writer, mental health advocate, and all around dynamite human. Fisher passed away of cardiac arrest on December 27th, at the age of sixty.

Fisher is perhaps most famous around the world for her iconic performances as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movies. Leia inspired – and continues to inspire – countless little girls who watched her with rapt wonder. She is a character who leads an inter-galactic rebellion, fighting for her people’s freedom, as well as for her own.

Fisher went on to conquer the romantic comedy genre with her supporting performance in 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally.” As Sally’s best friend Marie, Fisher portrays a dynamic, successful thirty-one year old woman settling for a relationship with a married man who did not satisfy her emotional needs.

While Sally’s journey is to realize that Harry is her ideal partner, Fisher’s portrayal of Marie is both edgier and more interesting. She is a woman who, in order to find the fulfilling romantic partnership she desires, must to learn to accept a healthier form of love from someone who truly appreciates her. As such, Marie’s journey is just as much about achieving self-love as it is about romantic love. Yes, “When Harry Met Sally” is a work of fiction, but Marie is a character who became a personal hero to many women I know.

Fisher was an icon both onscreen and off, and led a very different kind of rebellion in her own life. Before it was fashionable, Fisher let the world in on the messiness of women’s lives. Unlike previous generations of starlets, Fisher admitted her life did not live up to the standards of perfection society expects from actresses. She rejected the notion that because she sold us fantasies on screen, she had to pretend her life was one as well.

Instead of selling us the illusion of a princess descended from Hollywood royalty who herself became a global superstar before her twenty-first birthday, she showed us the complicated truth. She confidently discussed her bipolar diagnosis and her experiences living with mental illness.  She let us in on her struggles with substance abuse and addiction.  She talked openly about aging, and the damaging expectation that female celebrities continue to look the same as they did in their youths for the rest of their lives. In her professional life Carrie Fisher often lived in fantastical worlds, but when she was off-duty she was nothing but real.

So rest in piece, Ms. Fisher. You made it a little bit easier for other women to stop pretending to be perfect. Your life was a beautiful, complicated, high-achieving, messy adventure. You will not be forgotten…

  • Chelsea Ennen

    Chelsea Ennen is a New York City-based writer and recovering academic with an MA in contemporary literature, theory, and culture from King's College London. Her nonfiction writing has been published on The Mary Sue, HelloGiggles and The Female Gaze, and her dissertation on postfeminism versus third wave feminism in contemporary pop culture was accepted for presentation at the 2016 Indiana University of Pennsylvania English Graduate Organization Inter-Disciplinary Conference. She is the fiction editor of the Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal and a novelist who would very much like to pet your dog, please.

  • Sarah Sahagian is a professional feminist based in Toronto. She is currently a PhD candidate in gender, feminist and women's studies at York University, where she is completing her dissertation on the mothering of inter-ethnic children. Sarah's writing has been featured in such publications as She Does The City, Bitch Media, The Huffington Post, xoJane, and the satirical newspaper, The Beaverton. When she's not writing, Sarah mostly reads thrillers, watches Netflix, and sleeps.