Back in the 70’s and 80’s, many young girls growing up dreamed of being a princess, a wife, a mother and usually involved marrying Prince Charming. They loved to wear dresses and play with their dolls/Barbies.
I’m not that type of girl.
I wanted to play sports, to be an athlete. I didn’t mind getting dirty. I didn’t want to be the Princess who was saved by Prince Charming. I wanted to save myself. I wanted to be involved in the action.
The Day Everything Changed
It wasn’t until I saw first saw Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia that I realized I COULD BE that type of princess. It was the first time , there was a true female role model for someone like me. Princess Leia was my type of Princess.
She could be girly, get all dolled up and wear beautiful dresses. Leia also demanaded be a real part of the action, a vital member of the team and take no-BS from anyone. Princess Leia was also smart, sarcastic and witty. It didn’t matter who it was , she was her own woman!
Mary Tyler Moore was another such type of role model in her roles as Laura Petrie and Mary Richards. During her time in both of those roles, Mary injected a distinct realism into the life of their characters.
Laura Petrie was the first TV mom who were pants on a TV show. The CBS execs only wanted to allow her to wear them in 1 scene per episode. (isn’t that crazy??) Mary got her way and she became known for it. Her character showed us what real women were like and they certainly weren’t perfect beings just there to raise children, clean the house and do things for her husband. Laura could sing and dance and had a lot of smarts about her.
Mary Richards was another such character but definitely reflected what was happening in the 70’s. The character of Mary Richards showed her feminism, not by political rantings or burning her bra, but through her strength and tenacity. Her simple goodness and straightforward nature was her true power – but she always stayed true to her convictions and values.
Both of these women, Mary Tyler Moore and Carrie Fisher, showed me that I could be more than what my family or society thought I could be. They showed me a world that I could be truly what I wanted to be. I’m proud to say that I did just that.
Rest in peace Carrie and Mary — your legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of women and girls everywhere.