It really seriously bothers me when I see posts referring to “Princess Leia” and then people reblog them to say “GENERAL****” as though this is an important correction. As though Leia’s identity as a princess is either somehow inherently bad or is in anyway inferior to her position as a general.
I don’t think people understand that Leia had MORE POWER as a princess than she does as a general.
First of all, Leia as a princess was never some damsel in distress, sitting pretty, waiting for her Prince Charming type of situation. As Princess of Alderaan, Leia was had the advantage of extensive cultural and diplomatic training and used her position and connections and political savvy to become a Senator and therefore a SPY, looking out for the interests not only of her Alderaanian subjects but also of the entire galaxy. Her title of Princess is crucial in regards to her character, even now just reading the new CANON comics, insofar as Alderaan is an integral aspect of who she is–not only an Alderaanian, but the person who felt RESPONSIBLE for the safety of the planet.
Then after her home planet was obliterated right before her eyes, she continued on to use her knowledge and skills and political leverage–none of which she would have had if she hadn’t been adopted into a royal house–to aid the rebellion, and her title as “princess” allowed her to become a symbol of resistance and rebellion against tyranny across the entire galaxy. She was a SPY PRINCESS, A WARRIOR PRINCESS, A POLITICAL PRINCESS, and every other kind of princess you could imagine. Leia as a princess is badass, and not something to be snidely dismissed with ignorant assertions that being a general is better and more “feminist” just because it’s a title traditionally held by men.
In reality, the situation is entirely the reverse. Leia has no authority as a General other than over her own troops in a resistance that’s not even fully supported by the government that Leia herself helped to establish AS A PRINCESS. The New Republic didn’t take Leia’s warnings about the First Order seriously and LOOK WHERE THAT LANDED THEM. And the sway and renown that is still shown to Leia in the new canon is STILL linked to her royal status, not just because she was a princess but because of what she DID as a princess. That’s why we get the line “well to me she’s royalty.”
Disney slapped the title of General on Leia hoping that fans would rally to this feminist progress while at the same time propagating the idea that she couldn’t possibly have been a present mother or wife while also succeeding in a political career, ignoring her OT character arc, destroying her family for no other reason than to create Kylo Ren, and undermined her credibility in the new system. I don’t see any feminism in those regressions.
Does Leia deserve to be a general? Yes, of course. But can we please stop acting like this is some kind of upgrade? Being a Princess was central to Leia’s character, and NEVER was this fact in any way a disadvantage to her. She was both graceful and polished and vulnerable and strong and determined and lethal. She was the “strong female character” that girls could look up to, and I personally see nothing to turn your nose up about fierce, intelligent, brave PRINCESS Leia Organa.