Written By Michael Ferrara
Created on 2022-11-02 17:46
Published on 2022-11-15 12:53
There’s a list of things that Princess Leia Organa can’t do. She can’t stop being the only woman in any given room. And she can’t stop being one of the few women who is almost universally viewed as a love interest rather than as an individual with her own goals and desires. In short, Leia is completely unable to avoid falling into gender, species, and certain stereotypes at every turn. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t a lovable, memorable character. In fact, there are some indicators that Princess Leia may very well be our best hope for future Technical Analysts!
When kids pick up a book or start watching a movie, they don’t think about who was in the production or who wrote the script. They engage with the characters as if they were real people and see those fictional people as guides for how to live their own lives. And it’s important to note that there are many different kinds of heroes, role models, and idols. A person can be a positive role model for kids of one gender but a negative example for someone else. Likewise, it’s possible to be a positive role model for all children, regardless of gender. Princess Leia is a role model for aspiring tech professionals. Her job is to see the problems that can’t be seen, identify them, and then come up with solutions to address those issues.
When Leia is captured by the Empire and put in a cell, she is both physically and intellectually isolated from the rest of the rebellion. Her Wookiee companion, Chewbacca, can’t communicate with her, and the rest of the cell is a rebel soldier who has been tortured into silence. At that moment, Leia is the only person who knows what’s going on. She knows about the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor, she knows that the Empire has been building something there, and she knows that the Empire plans to use whatever that is to crush the rebellion once and for all. But no one else knows any of that yet. They’re still fighting the same battles they’ve been fighting for years, and they don’t see any other way out of their situation.
Leia isn’t the only person to know what’s going on, but she is the first person to recognize that something needs to change. When she meets the droids who are on a secret mission to deliver the Death Star’s schematics to the rebel fleet, she immediately understands that the droids’ identities must be kept secret. More than that, she understands that the information the droids carry is far more important than their identities. When the droids fail to understand the importance of their mission, Leia neither hides their failure from them nor from their would-be allies. Instead, she points out the problem — that the rebellion needs the Death Star’s schematics — and suggests the solution — that the droids should make a new copy of the plans and bring the original to the rebel fleet.
One of the best ways to make sure that problems don’t continue to exist is to make sure that people are held accountable when they aren’t addressed. And while Princess Leia is a problem solver, she’s also willing to hold people accountable for their actions. Take the case of Han Solo, whom Leia once had a romantic relationship with. Leia is in a relationship with another rebel fighter, but Han is smitten with her. She rebuffs his advances, but he doesn’t take no for an answer. Leia’s solution to the problem of Han’s unwanted attention is to stun him with a blaster, leaving him comatose. When Han wakes up, he’s rightfully upset, but Leia doesn’t apologize for her actions. Instead, she tells him that he was out of line and that he was lucky she was the one holding the blaster.
When we look at the world in general, it’s easy to see the problems that exist. The world is rife with issues that need to be addressed. That’s why it’s important to recognize the role of the problem solver — the person who looks at what exists and identifies why it isn’t working. In many ways, they resemble Princess Leia, who is hopeful, optimistic, driven, smart, and compassionate.
#women #technology #empowerment #talent #rolemodels #leadership