1. Was it the Force?
  2. The Millennium Falcon?
  3. The Death Star?
  4. The light sabers?
  5. C-3PO and R2D2?
  6. Erm, no.
  7. It wasn't Luke Skywalker....
  8. ...or Han Solo...
  9. ...or Yoda...
  10. ...or Obi-Wan...
  11. ...or Darth Vader either.
  12. Don't get me wrong. ALL of those are FANTASTIC pieces that came together to create an ICONIC film franchise, but they aren't what made me fall in love with Star Wars.
  13. No, I fell in love with Star Wars because of Princess Leia.
  14. You see at six I was living in a world where princesses/dolls were almost always blonde haired and blue eyed while the evil villains had eyes and hair as dark as their intentions.
  15. Not to mention that the "good" females were always, always, always some meek damsel in distress who was left waiting around until some guy swooped in and saved her.
  16. So on those very rare occasions when my brown hair and brown eyes didn't have me playing the villain, I was sitting in a "tower" (usually a jungle gym or tree house) watching the boys fight it out with plastic swords, bored out of my frackin' mind.
  17. It. was. exhausting.
  18. And then one rainy afternoon, I came across an old VHS copy of A New Hope that someone had given to my parents.
  19. From the moment Princess Leia came on the screen, I was infatuated with her.
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  20. I mean why wouldn't I be?
  21. For the first time, I was actually seeing a princess who had dark eyes and hair like I did.
    And even better? She wasn't evil!
  22. More than that though I was seeing a female character who was smart...
  23. ...and funny...
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    (I realize this is from The Empire Strikes Back, but it's one of my favorite lines from the franchise.)
  24. ...and bold...
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  25. ...and outspoken.
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  26. A female character who wasn't a damsel in distress but rather someone who could save the day and be the hero just as easily as the boys could.
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  27. To six year old me, it was INCREDIBLE.
  28. And it also led me to ask myself one *very* important, view-altering question:
  29. If Princess Leia could kick butt and be smart and brave and awesome then why couldn't I?
  30. From that moment forward, I refused to be the villain and I *definitely* refused to be the damsel in distress.
  31. Instead I embraced my smarts and my heart and my humor, and began wielding my own (plastic) blaster and saving the day.
    And if the boys didn't like it- and there were more than a few who didn't- I gave them a "so what" shrug and went on with my play.
  32. That was twenty years, a prequel trilogy and a sequel ago and while my blaster wielding days are (mostly) over, I've still managed to hold onto my smarts, my heart, and my humor.
  33. So why do I ❤️Star Wars?
  34. Because with Princess Leia, it not only gave me a(nother) strong female to look up to in my life, but played a role in helping me become one as well.
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