A tribute to Carrie Fisher for Star Wars Day (May 4th)

‘I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.’

– Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking 

I wrote a post on my Facebook page when Carrie Fisher died about how much she meant to me, which I’ll copy down below (please excuse the grammar). When I watching The Last Jedi recently all those feelings came rushing back to me especially, since that film features some great women in Rey, Rose and Vice Admiral Holdo. Since today is Star Wars Day I wanted to reflect some more of those feelings on what the character of Princess Leia meant to me growing up.

‘I don’t usually comment on moments like this but this truly upset me. Carrie Fisher’s portrayal of Princess Leia was one of my role models growing up. As, I was a girl who loved Star Wars, when it was unusual where I lived for a girl to like Star Wars (which is weird to consider now considering that women are being put at the forefront of the Star Wars franchise).

It was through Star Wars I got my first glimpse of the elitism still inherent in geek culture though at a milder level. I remember sitting in assembly and a teacher of ours had dressed up as Princess Leia. But she was carrying a lightsaber. Almost immediately I heard one of my male friends comment on how she never had a lightsaber and so the costume was ‘wrong’. I laughed and agreed, wanting to fit in. I hadn’t got that far in my Star Wars journey yet, and didn’t want to be exposed for not knowing what he was talking about. I didn’t want to be called out as what would now be called a ‘fake’ geek girl.

Once I watched the films with Princess Leia in though I was hooked. Maybe, it was because she was featured in the only Star Wars merchandise that I could find that was particularly targeted to girls (I’m so happy though that toy market is beginning to get gender neutral). But I also loved the character of Princess Leia. She never backed down. She stood up for what she believed in. Much like Carrie Fisher. She may have been deemed as ‘outspoken’ at times, but she was always honest. Something I am trying more to be.

I will always remember the influence characters like Princess Leia had on me growing up and how she drove me to seek out other strong leading ladies. I honestly don’t think I would have gotten into shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer without characters like Princess Leia existing.

And while we still have a long way to go with women leading franchises (for one thing it would nice to see some diversity); I think Carrie Fisher will be proud that she is one the ladies who led the way.’

When I was younger I wanted Princess Leia to be in more of the fight scenes. But as I’ve got older I’ve got over this and think its great how the films highlighted that leading a war effort is something women can do too. Also, we now have other characters in the Star Wars film canon that more than hold their own fight scene wise.

The infamous gold bikini also was something with I struggled with growing up. On the one hand I thought there is nothing wrong with being a sex symbol or desiring someone you perceived to be one. On the other hand, was this something that was empowering for Leia (maybe when she used it to strangle Jabba maybe) or Carrie Fisher? Carrie Fisher herself as discussed her relationship with the bikini and I think the one thing that has always stuck out to me is how this was not something she particularly wanted to wear. But it seemed to be another case of the Star Wars franchise at times not allowing Fisher agency.

It’s not the bikini that sticks in my mind when I think of Leia however it’s her blaster in hand or her bravely attempting to rescue Han Solo. Or her strangling Jabba the Hut. And that is all Carrie Fisher.

 

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However, if I had to chose between meeting Princess Leia or Carrie Fisher; I would have chose Carrie Fisher all the way. I recently read Wishful Drinking and I literally could not put it down. She talks about mental health in a way that I have rarely seen people do. She doesn’t dress it up or put ribbons on it – it sucks that her brain works in that way so she’s going to laugh and write about it wittingly because thinking about it too much just starts that spiral all over again.

‘If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.’

-Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

Growing up as a child of Hollywood must have also been a surreal experience, she describes how as a child she thought the reality she saw on screen was real (in particular the TV show Father Knows Best) and her life was fake. Consequently, she struggled coping with reality her entire life.

‘I’m a product of Hollywood inbreeding. When two celebrities mate, something like me is the result.’

-Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking 

I think what I want to stress the most is that Carrie Fisher was an incredible writer that only now is starting to get the recognition she deserves. She’s been quite frankly treated awfully in her career – yes, I’m talking about the pounds she was told to shed for Star Wars to not having the rights to her cut of Star Wars merchandise.

It may seem like a strange measure to judge how much I am influenced by someone but I know that Carrie Fisher was high up there because she was someone I wanted to meet one day more than any other celebrity. In fact, I’ve never really had the desire to meet someone famous unless its on level playing field (i.e. if I was the director of a film they were starring in) because I don’t want to ruin the image I have of them in my head otherwise. But Carrie Fisher was always that exception.

So on Star Wars day I will always think of Princess Leia, the rebel General who stole my heart as I child and gave me hope I could be a leader too. And I’ll always remember Carrie Fisher, who was outspoken in a beautiful way I aspire to be and who I one day hope to be as quotable as.

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April (April is the Cruellest Month)

– Blog posts Thursday and Sundays- 

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April Favourites

April kind of started well for me and then crashed into a cliff this last week (apart from Martin’s birthday). However, I did spend a lot of coin this month (I blame the Youtuber Patricia Bright for that sentence) so I have quite a few favourites to share! Also, can we all be proud that I’m doing this video before April has ended instead of afterwards for once.

What I’ve been loving…

Cousins Collective pin display banner

Cousins Collective is a brand I got to know through watching the Youtuber Qcknd talk about them in a video where she was discussing her pins. I was excited to see that they were based in the UK (I can’t be dealing with import tax) and after realising that having my pins on a denim jacket was just resulting in a LOT of near misses (and actual misses) of my pins getting lost; I decided that I needed a new option for my pins.

So after doing a more of pondering I decided to take the plunge and bought Cousin Collective’s banner that is described as being able to display 50-70 pins. The one I got I would say is about the medium size for what the shop sells , s I wanted some space to add to my collection but not something that was so big my small collection would look ridiculous on it.

It took me forever to decide what colour string to get but I went with my gut in the end and chose pink!

Pin Board

Pins from left to right: Magical Maidens, Lulu Boo, Topshop pop up event, Lulu Boo, HMV (though I’m sure you can buy them elsewhere), Lulu Boo, HMV, Magical Maidens, Disneyland Paris (sold out online), HMV, Lulu Boo, HMV, Primark (x2), Magical Maidens, HMV, Lulu Boo, HMV, Primark (x2), exclusive from the Youtube store in London, Primark (x2) and pin from Dodie’s latest tour (now available online).

Star Wars lightside and darkside stickers

I originally saw these stickers on the Youtuber Simply Kenna’s Instagram story (she has now also mentioned them in a video I believe) and I knew I had to have them. She also mentioned that she wanted to put them in a frame as they are too beautiful to use. I think I am definitely going to take inspiration from her and do the same (though I have yet to find a frame that will fit the dimensions).

I definitely recommend you check out the artist’s Etsy Page, her handle is FloBallestraArt and she left a lovely handwritten thank you note in the package as well – it always feels great to support independent artists too!

Light side stickers

Dark side stickers

What I’ve been reading…

Sailor Moon manga vol.1-3

After stopping and starting a little bit with the Sailor Moon Crystal anime (I know I should probably start with the original but I’m too far in now to chop and change); I decided I would try and read the manga that started it all. Overall, this has been a great decision for me! I’ve been really enjoying seeing the differences between the manga and the anime and I find the manga engaging (a little slow at first but it picked up) and a great daydream read (what I mean by that is that it’s a great read for when you just want to loose yourself in a different universe). I’ve also been considering doing a review series of posts for the manga as I go through it – I know it’s hardly a new read for a lot of people but I think it might be interesting to review it as someone whose never read it and from a 2018 lens.

Sailor Moon volume 1

Sailor Moon vol 2

Sailor Moon volume 3

What I’ve been watching…

Masterchef (UK)

I have a strange obsession with cooking shows even thought I don’t eat like 90% of the dishes that contestants make but I still find it interesting to learn about different processes, which I can apply to meat free alternatives. The show also always inspires me to start cooking again more.

I was pleased to see this year that the vegetarian options for the round where they needed to provide one were definitely a bit more exciting than previous years.

This season also took an interesting turn in the media with the uproar that erupted over a contestant’s chicken rendang dish (I literally saw a double page spread on it in one newspaper).

The below GIF is not in the reaction to that by the way I just thought it was hilarious.

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Ru Paul’s Drag Race

I think when mentioning Drag Race it is important to note some of the more problematic areas of the show and recent comments from Ru Paul. However, I believe you can still enjoy certain elements of something and be able to criticise other parts of it (otherwise my list of things I enjoyed would be very small indeed).

However, I will say that this season so far has been brilliant with some hilarious moment from ‘Miss Vanjie’ to ‘Brown Cow’ (which had me laughing for about 5 minutes straight).

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Magical Girl Ore

If you’re looking for an anime that loves the magical girl genre but also relentlessly makes fun of it then this is the series for you. It’s quite frankly hilarious and the way it examines gender and sexuality is interesting to say the least. I would say it’s one of my favourite new anime’s on Crunchyroll at the moment.

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Image: Crunchyroll 

Food Wars 

Recently, I horrified some of my friends by showing them the first episode of this, making it harder for them to understand why I was so excited when I saw that the next series of this anime was out. If only partially because it has toned down with the Ecchi elements, which I’m not a fan of – I watch for the amazing cooking scenes. I have definitely eaten more than my fair show of noodles after getting way too hungry from this show. So far the new season is interesting, it’s a bit too early for me to have any concrete reactions but I like the development of Erina’s character which is currently taking place.

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Brad Mondo 

I recently discovered this Youtuber and professional hairdresser in my Youtube suggestions and I LOVE their reaction videos. I also want them to sit me down and give me their opinion on what I should do to my hair. My favourite part about his videos is that despite being an expert in the industry, he is never mean about the people who are making mistakes, he just uses their failures as a way to teach and always sympathises with the people in the videos he watches.

Simply Nailogical 

Although, I’ve never been that into painting my nails; I can’t stop watching Christine’s videos because she is HILARIOUS. I also like how she brings up serious topics in her videos as well, i.e. the ethicality behind companies like Wish. I definitely have a need for all things HOLO now.

What I’ve been wearing…

Sailor Moon Artemis bag 

I bought this after buying my friend the black Luna version for her birthday and then very quickly realising that I was going to need one as well. I got the Artemis bag because it was when the heat wave hit and I was definitely leaning towards white over black for accessories in that period. I actually bought this bag off Amazon and at first it was a bit of a saga. The first bag that I received was scuffed quite a bit at the bottom, wasn’t a brilliant white and the stitch detail on the moon was messed up (which, was the detail that upset me the most). If I’m being honest it looked like it had been used and then resold. I messaged the seller and they quickly sent me out a new bag however, which was a lot better so I can’t fault their customer service!

I also still have the first bag I received so if anyone wants it let me know, as I don’t need two! I’m considering seeing if I can DIY it and dye it black (though I have no knowledge of such things so this may not be possible). If you know about such things please give me some advice! Martin has suggested I turn it into a Hello Kitty bag which isn’t actually a bad idea…

Sailor Moon Artemis bag

Killstar ‘Weird Girl’ dress

Although, a lot of people probably don’t think I’m a big fan of black after looking at this blog; I actually love mixing up my style and love any way I can incorporate Wednesday Addams into my everyday style. This dress that I picked up in the sale from Killstar is super comfy. I think it would be a little more flattering if it was a bit more true to size as my usual size (based on their sizing chart) was a bit too oversized on me. I also wish the sleeves were a tad bit longer. Overall, however I wear this all the time and I LOVE the collar on this dress – whenever I wear it reminds me how much I want Peter Pan collars to make a comeback.

Weird Girl dress

What I’ve been listening to…

Connie Glynn – Heartbreaker 

I’ve been a big fan of Connie Glynn aka the Youtuber Noodlerella for a long time now so I was very excited when I saw that she had come out with an original song. It’s super catchy, particularly the pre-chorus/ chorus (apologises if the below are wrong, just going on my own ears, as I couldn’t find the lyrics written down anywhere):

‘Hollow beating in my chest 

No, it’s nothing you can fix 

This heart is broken and its not going to mend 

It’s always the same 

But I’ll try again 

I rip the ribs apart and feast on the flesh

Back home to the waste 

And onto the next’

Despite, the song being a bit too electronic and produced for my personal tastes; the lyrics and the catchiness of the song keep me hooked. This is truly a great original little bop.

Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry 

I think most people have probably heard this song by now. I’ve not actually listened to a lot of Ariana’s music in the past; despite admiring her powerhouse voice so when I heard she had a new single out I decided to give it a listen. The video is stunning even if it does make me feel a bit sea sick (ha, ha) and this is another song that I just can’t get out of my head.

I also like the low ponytail – sorry to any high ponytail worshippers out there!

Janelle Monáe – PYNK

I’ll admit I love this mostly for the aesthetic and the many layered nuances of the music video – I think everyone has seen and had an opinion on the vagina trousers by now so I won’t go into it but I think they’re genius.

I also would definitely be tapping my foot along if this came on at a party (if I ever go to any!).

If you haven’t yet, you also need to read her latest Rolling Stone interview.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

– Blog posts Thursday and Sundays- 

Feminist Reading Journey: Carrie Fisher ‘The Princess Diarist’

Image: Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope/ 20th Century Fox 

This year I set myself the challenge to start reading for pleasure again. After doing a degree in English Literature with Film, I kind of lost the time to simply read books for myself, rather than for a particular module. In fact, I’d lost a lot of the enjoyment that reading had previously brought me and since I am at my core a book worm this was unacceptable for me.

I decided to set myself the challenge of reading a book a week because I’m totally crazy and it seemed like a good idea at the time. The first few books I read had no particular theme to them, but then I started seeing more and more books I wanted to read that had a particular theme to them: equality and feminism. So I thought why not make that my theme? Especially since I already wanted to do some more reading around feminism because I consider myself a novice at best, and I feel like reading is the best education.

Also, I know I have a lot to learn, and there are still so many women that have remained hidden to me for me to discover. I don’t want to just rely on my own very limited experience of being a woman, as everyone’s experience is different depending on where you are from, and unfortunately in the world we live in, what colour your skin is, along with your sexual orientation and a lot of other factors.

I know, for example that I as a white woman have had privilege that I did not even realise I had until I started talking to other women in my Masters class about how they have been treated on holiday, or in the airport compared to the way in which I have been treated (of course the different ways I have/ will be treated is not just limited to this example!).

My sexuality is also important here, as I am heterosexual, so have never faced the prejudice that people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community have (I do consider myself an ally of the community, but it would be wrong to say I have had to deal with the same experiences that people who identify as a lesbian have for example), so I need to read about women from this community too. As well as read about the experiences of trans women as well. I want this community to be accepting, and for all of us to fight for equality together, and how can we do this if we aren’t inclusive?

Now, I know a lot of people are ready to attack me for not mentioning men yet, but of course I do not think they are exempt from the discussion. Men are affected by the patriarchy too, of course they are. It makes them think that have to be a real ‘man’ and confirm to the twisted system that is toxic masculinity, and not be able to express their emotions, their sexuality or truly be themselves. Feminism is about equality not women hating men (that is misandry), so men need to be a part of this dialogue as well.

So I want to learn, and for me reading is for me one of the ways I can learn. I started with Carrie Fisher’s novel ‘Princess Diarist’ not out of any preconceived sort of plan but because I realised when Carrie Fisher died that I never had read any of her books, and that was an injustice that she deserved better than.

Carrie Fisher The Princess DiaristImage: April Wilson 

For each book I read I am also excited to announce that I have teamed up with the lovely Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective who will be providing me with lovely illustrations of the authors I am reading along with my favourite quotation from the book (inspired by Kimothy Joy’s collaboration with The Huffington Post!).

Be sure to also check out Caroline’s Etsy shop if you like what you see and want to purchase her art work!

Kawaii Kollective Carrie FisherImage: The Kawaii Kollective

Since I am a bit behind in posting about this here is a list of the books I’ve read so far:

  • Carrie Fisher, ‘The Princess Diarist’
  • Sady Doyle, ‘Trainwreck’
  • Helena Kelly, ‘Jane Austen: The Secret Radical’

Also, I probably shouldn’t be announcing it yet but I’ll announce it a day early just this once, this week’s book I will be reading is Maya Angelou, ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’. If you have any suggestions for what I should read next please comment below. At the moment I was thinking of reading ‘Milk and Honey’ by Rupi Kaur next week!

If you are interesting in collaborating with me on this project as well please let me know. My inbox is always open!