Posters from the Edge: Fisher, Leia and the March

Photo by Mary Davis

Jacob Jardel
Managing Editor
@JJardel_Writing

“She’s become an icon.”

These words come from Mississippi-based designer Hayley Gilmore in an interview with Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson. With the Women’s March impending, she created an image and put it online on Jan. 18 for a few friends to print out. She didn’t think it would go far.

As it turns out, the graphic went to a galaxy far, far away from her expectations.

Gilmore’s design was simple. A faded red image of Princess Leia from “Star Wars” armed with a blaster emerged from the background. In front of her was one sentence of text: “A woman’s place is in the resistance.”

In this simplicity, Gilmore channeled the spirit of a character – and, just as importantly, the one in a million actress who brought her to life.

Carrie Fisher amassed a following the size of a small moon from her role as Leia, the strong heroine who held her own amid the smugglers and reluctant heroes of “Star Wars.” Her steadfastness in the face of strife still serves as inspiration for many individuals to fight for their respective causes.

“Leia and the Rebels were ready to give it all to fight the Empire,” Oklahoma City marcher Sarah Powers said. “We can learn from their dedication.”

A deeper look into Fisher’s life will also show a more complex but equally strong human off the camera.

She addressed her ups and downs in life with a candor rarely associated with fame, a quality Powers admired in the face of the march.

“[Fisher] was a fierce advocate,” she said. “She understood that we have to fight to be heard and have to struggle.”

Her honesty was one reason people like Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters donned Leia’s garb and channeled Fisher’s persona in their most desperate hour.

“When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Princess Leia,” Matronic said to Vanity Fair. “When I grew up, I wanted to be Carrie Fisher.

“She’s a symbol now.”

Robinson’s piece in Vanity Fair addressed Fisher’s emergence as what she calls “the surprising face of the rebellion against Trump.” Until her death, Fisher stood staunchly for what she believed and openly opposed many of the now-President’s policies and mindsets. Mere weeks after her passing in late 2016, she is alive once again through the power of protest.

But none of it should be surprising.

Millions of individuals gathered everywhere from Washington, D.C., to Buenos Aires, from the biggest cities to the smallest. And Leia’s face was omnipresent.

It’s something Carrie’s brother Todd saw as a continuation of her legacy.

“They didn’t choose Joan of Arc – with the sword and the horse and the big stuff,” he said in a phone interview with Vanity Fair. “They chose a flawed human to be their champion.”

These flaws helped Fisher formulate an empathy, a force that extends far beyond women’s issues. As a whole, she strove for a unity and equality that separated denotations of difference from connotations of competition.

In short, she championed the foundational causes of the Women’s March.

There are many misconceptions about the Women’s March. That it’s all reactionary to Hillary Clinton losing the election. That women already have rights and just want more. That it’s all about American women. That it’s about women just not wanting to stay in their lanes.

But these reasons fail to encompass the purpose these protests started in the first place.

The Women’s March shares a power core with so many other movements in the past: an overarching sense of equality, regardless of name.

Historically, feminists called not for female superiority, but for equality no matter the sex or gender. The trailblazers of Civil Rights movement didn’t want black superiority – they wanted equality no matter the race. The leaders of the LGBT rights movement didn’t want superiority –just equality no matter the identity.

Similarly, the Women’s Marchers didn’t want to fight for what some people perceived was “extra.” They wanted equality among sexes, genders, identities and myriad other causes.

Basically, they wanted those things that Carrie Fisher so vocally advocated for.

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