Carrie Fisher is gone, but she will live on in our hearts. As millions share their grief over the loss of an iconic woman, Hillary Clinton’s former policy advisor Neera Tanden chose to appropriate Fisher’s death to promote herself—and in doing so, angered many of her followers on Twitter.
Tanden, who faced global humiliation when her potty-mouthed emails questioning Hillary’s judgement were exposed by Wikileaks, was quick to offer her opinion Tuesday on Fisher’s legacy. Upon learning of Fisher’s death, she shared her hottest take on the actress, writing: “I loved the badass Carrie Fisher of Star Wars and Empire Strikes back as a girl (not as into Return of the Jedi) and I mourn her loss.”
I loved the badass Carrie Fisher of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back as a girl (not as into Return of the Jedi) and I mourn her loss.
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) December 27, 2016
Ignoring the fact that no one cares about which of the Star Wars films Tanden personally enjoyed, she threw shade on Return of the Jedi, presumably because it famously featured Fisher’s character, Princess Leia, in a gold bikini.
Ironically, Leia exhibited strong personal agency in Jedi—more so than in the two previous films. She was an empowered woman who led the operation to rescue Han Solo, a twist on all the “rescue the princess” tropes present in film.
After being kidnapped and chained to the grotesque Jabba the Hutt, she took matters into her own hands when she strangled the bulbous monstrosity to death with her own chains. In the later part of the film, Leia outmaneuvered and outgunned several Scout troopers. You don’t get more badass than that.
Tanden followed up her inane tweet with another one about how Leia “grew to be a general from a princess. The former better than the latter. My kind of progress.”
Leia was no less powerful and in charge as the princess of the planet Alderaan, as she held a high seat of power within the Imperial Senate and later, in the Rebel Alliance. She stayed on the rebel base on Yavin-4, rather than evacuating, when the Death Star came within seconds of destroying it. Leia also commanded the Rebel base on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, and bravely oversaw its safe evacuation when the Empire attacked.
Later in the film, Luke’s telepathic connection with Leia also allowed her to sense that he was in danger upon his defeat at the hands of Darth Vader—but it was her ability to convince Lando to release the ship that enabled her to rescue him.
Without Leia’s leadership and gift for command, Luke’s and Han Solo’s adventures would’ve undoubtedly come to an untimely end many times over.
To diminish Leia’s role in Return of the Jedi over a gold bikini is identity politics at its worst.
If there’s anything to take away from Carrie Fisher’s performance in the Star Wars movies, it’s that ranks and titles don’t matter as much as some people think they do—and that it’s always possible to take charge and save the day.