Geeks Have a New Cause. . .And it’s Stupid
So, some parent in Philadelphia have gotten upset at the Slave Leia action figure causing nerds to take up the fight against the invisible armies of the PC police, whoever the hell they are supposed to be. The parents are calling the action figure “indecent” and “not appropriate for children” while Star Wars fans and other sundry geeks are crying “icon” and “it’s been round since the damn movies.” Lately Carrie Fisher decided to embarrass herself with spelling and grammar on Twitter by wondering why there was no outcry 40 years ago when she was made to wear the damn thing and the chain only “enslaved’ her until she used it to kill the slug. So is this a real controversy. Is this another case of the Orwellian PC Police coming down on our fun just to come down on our fun. Are people being too sensitive and should all just shut the hell up and just enjoy?
Let look at this closer, shall we?
Everything Wrong with “Slave Leia” in two Paragraphs or More
My parent took me to see Star Wars when I graduated Junior High School and was accepted to what was thought to be a pretty darn good High School. This was when it was just called Star Wars and we had to wait two long years for the next installment. I won’t get into the usual stuff about how it blew me away, but if you watch That 70’s Show when they did their series of episodes surrounding the coming of Star Wars, they pretty much had it down. The one thing that did stand out was Princess Leia. When we first see her she’s putting something in R2D2, and the next time she’s standing up to one of the biggest bad guys on the planet. The interesting thing was they did not make her a masculine symbol of a female, she had balls and was ready to tell the Empire to shove up their collective asses. As soon as Han and Luke came to rescue her she grabs a blaster and takes immediate charge. This is what made her an icon. She had a job to do and was going to get it done, and these new guys were just in the way.
Jump to Return of the Jedi and Leia is once again taking the initiative to rescue Han Solo who was frozen in carbonite at the end of the last movie. Jabba the Hut, who turned out to be a giant slug thing, had him and Leia pretended to be a bounty hunter delivery Chewbacca to Jabba. She sneaks in and unfreezes Han only to be caught by Jabba and. . .that’s where things just went wrong. Han is put into a cell with Chewbacca and Leia is put into a bikini, and chained up for Jabba’s amusement.
Okay, let forget the fact that the whole put into a bikini and chained is demeaning enough. There are lots of places this has been railed on, mostly from a feminist perspective, and they happen to be right. The ones who argue for this scene are mostly guys who used the image as spank-bank material. Let’s look at this from another angle.
As a boy all those old Science Fiction movies from the 1950’s and 60’s would come on endlessly. I lived in New York and the local stations, which were channels 5 and 11 before they became baby networks, had shows that would come on every Saturday that would feature them and all the old horror movies. Or they would come on as late night movies just before all the channels went off. One of the more curious aspects of the old science fictions was how the aliens would come the Earth and want white women. (One of the back handed effects of racism was that there were not black women to want, so it was always white women.) But it doesn’t stop with just aliens. King Kong, a 30 foot gorilla wants a white chick. And in most of the really racist bullshit movies every native of color was ready to burn down their village just to have a white girl. But let’s stick to the aliens.
Say what you want about the aliens of those old movies but you have to give the movie makes a bit of credit for trying their best to make them look aliens. As much as you can praise Star Trek for all this so-called diversity, a kid I used to big brother once said he could not get into it because all they ever showed were “human aliens.” If you do a search for aliens of the time they were weird things. Mostly humanoid because you couldn’t get animals to do much in the costumes. But a lot of them were just plain weird. Some had one eye and tentacles, others were crawling things that moved awkwardly about. Some were tiny humanoid things others were giant humans. There were some that had heads like cabbages and shot alcohol from needles that would pop out from their fingers. So yes those movies were cheesy, often really bad but they kept making attempts to make the aliens as alien as possible.
Jabba the Hut was a huge slimy looking slug, so when I ask the next question I am totally keeping in him in mind. Why in the fuck would these weird ass aliens want a human woman? Wouldn’t a huge slug be turned on by another huge slug? Wouldn’t a spiny headed thing with eight legs be turned on by another spiny headed thing? Let’s forget the white woman part and think about this seriously. You’re a slug. You don’t wear clothes. Why would you put Leia in the futuristic version of a Victoria Secrets get up, and chain her to you so you can slobber all over her? I could understand if you put in some kind of pleasure pit to keep your goons happy, most of them were vaguely human, but this is not what Jabba did, and it never made any sense what-so-ever. If he got turned on by humans why not put Han’s in a tiny speedy and lick him every three minutes? Even as a kid this did not make sense to me at all.
Not to mention, it never happens to any other of the Star Wars characters. Hans gets frozen because he was making a sacrifice. Luke got to fight his way out of capture and even at his lowest he was put in chains and paraded about like a galactic cabana boy. But the young lady, the “strong female” character is the who runs around fighting laser gun battles braless and get to be made into every nerds pin-up girl or every young girls sexy Halloween costume and this is supposed to be okay. And look at the name they give to the image; Slave Leia. As if it’s a Barbie accessory. Not to mention you got endless action figures of Hans and Luke and even Chewy, but the main action figure for the “strong female characters” is her in the metal bikini with the chain around her neck. That shit is just wrong on every level. You get one Leia with the cinnabun hear, but no Hoth Leia, or pilot Leia, or even Leia dressed in full princess gear from the end of the first movie. But you have a metric ton of “slave Leia” stuff.
No wonder women lose their shit over stuff like this. This leads me to the point about PC.
PC is Only Wrong if You’re a Racist, Sexist or Homophobe
People Who Complain about PC are Full of Shit. The first problem is the term “PC” was coined by FOX News in the 1990’s when they developed their ultra-conservative slant on news (see: racist, sexist, classist boaster squad) and shut down any complaints by claiming people were “too PC.” Back then liberals like Bill Maher attempted to backlash against this notion by stating they were going to be publically incorrect and to hell with right-wingers for trying to shut them down. Today the notion of PC has morphed in an attempt to mean that people are too gosh darn sensitive, because they can’t stand racist, sexist or homophobic jokes. I’m sure Michael Richards is somewhere trying to figure out how to do a comeback on that one.
The problem is that the champions of “too much PC” are actually saying they want to keep on offending people, no matter what. They want blackface to be okay, because it was Robert Downy Jr doing it, and wasn’t that “ha ha” funny? That is until Chris Rock wants to keep calling black people the n-word, even if he contradicts his stand-up where he said there was supposed to be a distinction. Comics who think racism is funny like Jim Norton or Andrew Dice Clay might have tried to disguise their bullshit by claiming to be edgy, but in the end they are just angry white guys who wish the good old days when blacks, gays and women knew their damn place and would just stop complaining already.
There are two main problems with this idiotic argument. The first is that the days and black face and Amos and Andy are over. It’s not funny nor edgy, it’s just the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes that reinforce a culture of oppression against race, sex and class. They are not selling humor, they are selling ways of thinking that should have ended with the civil rights era. And too many people think there’s nothing wrong with these things. No, let’s correct that. Too many white people have no problem with these things. This is because the only real “harmful” stereotype against white heterosexual people is they’re on top and maybe some are racist but they sure as hell have it more together than those pesky non-white, non-heterosexual people who just like to complain about everything. That’s a pretty fucked up way of thinking.
The second problem is that what the geeks and comedians and others are saying is that it is the job of the consumer to bow down to the whims of the entertainer. The entertainer should not have to change their act because people don’t like it, it’s the people who need to change their minds. That is about as insane as saying Jeffrey Dolmer was just a guy with an eating disorder. The consumer is the one paying money for these toys or to see these comedians. The only job a consumer has is to say if they like something or don’t like something. If they don’t like it the entertainer cannot act butt hurt about it. Instead they actually have to demonstrate they have the ability and talent to make the audience like what they are saying, or go face and audience who accepts their stereotyping and racism. I’m sure Jim Norton and Larry the Cable Guy can find a nice cross burning audience who will applaud every bullshit racist thing they say. It’s helping Donald Trump in the poles, so why shouldn’t it help them. Otherwise, as Amy Schumer found out the hard way, if you’re going to face a mass audience who’ve grown past thinking the that 1950’s were a wonderful time for everyone white and fuck everyone else, then they either need to grow with the times or get the fuck off the stage.
This especially goes for the damn slave Leia toy. It’s wrong, it’s sends a brutally bad message to kids, both boy and girls and it should not be the main thing we remember about the leader of a galactic rebellion. If you can show Han holding his blaster ready to take on any comers, or Luke holding his Lightsaber ready to put down the forces of the dark side, than you should equally be showing Leia with blaster in hand ready to show the rest of the cast how it’s done. She should not be portrayed as only a masturbation toy with a fucking chain around her damn neck.