Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of.
I watched this video twice yesterday and each time, it made me chuckle. The initial idea, a 5-year old girl critiquing Princess Leia and her gold bikini, is insanely brilliant. The illustrations also make it quite funny but when you move past the funny and into the real meat of the video, you start to think on the topic more (or at least, I did). The video was attached to an article that expressed some sadness that this young girls thoughts on the Bikini-Clad Princess were not “more feminist”. I cannot help but take something else out of it, pride. This little girl doesn’t care one bit about what other people think of her opinions or if the outfit is “demeaning”. This little girl simply thinks it’s a pretty bikini that looks nice on Leia. But have no fear, the little 5-year old girl would never allow herself to be a slave to Jabba the Hut (or anyone). To me, I see a girl being taught the right things by her family. I see a girl knowing what is right, what is wrong and what is pretty.
I sometimes think that we as a society get lost in our outrage sometimes. We see something as innocuous as Jeremy Renner making a globe/breast joke about Jennifer Lopez at the Golden Globes and we have to write about it, angrily, saying it’s rude and sexist. Why can’t it simply be funny? She laughed, why can’t we? Why do we find outrage in that but we basically ignore the allegations of sexual misconduct at Comic Con’s or the angry rape comments posted on Facebook every day?
The reason I find this video funny is because the Dad is trying very hard to make his daughter understand that some people find the gold bikini “demeaning” (which is what I thought was the point of it when I saw the movie as a child. Jabba is a bad guy, aka a “baddie” and what’s worse than forcing a woman (or anyone) into slavery?) but the little girl simply doesn’t care. She’d escape from Jabba and keep wearing the outfit! Let us not forget that Leia does escape (with a little help from her friends) while also strangling Jabba with her chain, that’s pretty powerful if you ask me.
I think that in our fight for equality, we lose our way a bit. I can say I am just as guilty of this as the next person. We are all so focused on making sure we’re equal that sometimes we lose our sense of humor. Perhaps we don’t have to get angry at every little slight or perhaps that’s the start of a slide down into sexism. Who can know for sure? What I do know is that sexism exists. Just as racism, homophobia and ageism all exist. It’s part of our culture and I honestly (and sadly) believe that we’ll never truly rid ourselves of it. Where there is light, there is always dark. There has to be that balance of good and bad. Does one boob joke tip the scales to the dark side? Does one gold bikini take us back to the stone age? Does one scantily clad female super hero ruin men for all women?
I think it all comes down to context, yeah, Leia is scantily clad and is a slave to Jabba. In the end though, she escapes and helps to destroy Jabba. Not to mention, she is a powerful fighter in the rebellion. I think that sometimes, we focus on the wrong things. I think that as we progress, and make our female voices heard in the comics world, things will change. It is a very slow process but there is hope on the horizon. Look at how strong Black Widow is in “The Avengers” movie(s) and the new TV mini-series, “Agent Carter” is a great example of a strong woman character being portrayed in the Marvel Universe. In fact, at one point in the first episode, she uses her feminine wiles to distract a suspect. She also fights on top of a moving truck. She is sexy and powerful, a wonderful combination and one that might not exist if not for the likes of Princess Leia and her Gold Bikini.
What do you think of Princess Leia and her gold bikini? Was she a step in the wrong direction or a feminist icon? Tell me in the comments!