Why No One Cares What You Think About Princess Leia’s Gold Bikini

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by Stacey Rader @geeky_vixen

in Star Wars

Editor’s Note: A version of this response first appeared as a status update on the author’s Facebook page. I thought it read more like an editorial response piece than a status update, and Stacey agreed to have it published, so here it is. 

Last week, an article made the rounds featuring author Ali Parr’s commentary on the video of comedian Adam Buxton and his 5 year-old daughter discussing Princess Leia’s Return of the Jedi slave gear. The video is what it is, but I have serious issues with this article. One, the author freely admits that she’s never seen Star Wars, and that she’s confident that Weird Al has told her all she needs to know. To that I say: shame on your editor for assigning this story to you, or for reading this and still publishing it. How do you know Star Wars isn’t “a groundbreaking beacon of feminism”, because someone told you? Because according to you, only two of the existing films pass the Bechdel test?

Second, the girl in the video is five. When I was five, I saw Star Wars, too. Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars film I saw in the theatre. From the moment I saw Princess Leia, I thought she was the ideal princess: strong, brave, a leader, and she was beautiful. I don’t remember having feelings about her gold bikini. As an adult, I realize its purpose: to subjugate her as a slave. What the author fails to realize here is that Leia didn’t choose the bikini or the chains, and the first chance she got, she choked her captor (Jabba the Hutt) with those chains. If that’s not a strong feminist message, I don’t know what is.

Princess Leia is my favorite character ever, so I realize I’m overly passionate about this. However, this is a good example (and even the author admits this) of potentially misplaced commentary about something. Sometimes a 5 year-old’s feelings about a gold bikini are just that, not commentary about the world.

Follow Stacey Rader (@geeky_vixen) on Twitter and check out her blog Adventures of a Geeky Vixen

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