Author: Frida Gurewitz
As little kids, my brother and I used to run up to automatic sliding doors and pretend to use the force to open them. My brother used to say, “Use the force, Luke” and I used to edit the signature line by saying, “Use the force, Leia.” Princess Leia was one of my favorite characters then, and not much has changed. With the upcoming release of the seventh installment of the “Star Wars” series, I was exceptionally excited to see the inclusion of my favorite Disney princess in “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”
What makes Leia a great character was her spunk, strength, intelligence and bravery. She looked into the face of Vader and didn’t blink. She killed Jabba the Hutt. Leia was a commander among the boys’ club that is the Rebel Alliance. She is a badass in buns.
In the trailer for the newest film, which is set 30 years after the events of “Stars Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” Leia briefly appears, clutched to Han Solo’s chest and significantly aged. In a world where James Bond regularly sleeps with girls 20 years his junior, it’s refreshing to see a realistically aged Leia. Despite being in space, Leia has always been grounded in reality. Leia isn’t the fresh-faced princess we got to know in the earlier films. Time and the rebellion has taken its toll. It has been confirmed that Leia is no longer a princess in the newest film — she is General Leia Organa. She is no longer just a pawn of the Rebel Alliance, she is part of its leadership.
Despite being one of the toughest women in science fiction, most people know her as a sex symbol and for her signature gold bikini. However, rumors have circulated that “Slave Leia” merchandise will be retired. J. Scott Campbell, a “Stars Wars” comic book artist, recently stated that, “Disney is already well on its way to wiping out the ‘slave’ outfit from any future products, period. You will not see any future merchandising featuring the slave outfit ever again. Trust me.”
I’m hoping this is true. The over-sexualized version of Leia often overshadows the great character that Leia is. She is objectified into a sexual fantasy for nerd boys rather than shown as a key element of the Rebel Alliance. She killed Jabba the Hut in that gold bikini. However, all people see is a mostly naked Carrie Fisher. Fisher herself has called the outfit “what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell.” I have to agree. Leia is more than “Slave Leia.”
Thirty-eight years later, Leia still continues to be an idol for myself and many other geek girls of various ages and ethnicities. She commands attention for her strength and courage. On top of that, she rocks cinnamon bun hair and a blaster like nobody’s business.
Frida Gurewitz is a junior English major. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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