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The Female Perspective: The Gold Bikini and Why It’s Not That Bad

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


As I am now fully recovered from the madness that was Rhode Island Comic Con, I feel I can sit down and happily write a blog post this week that both embodies my love of feminism and my love of Star Wars.

The gold bikini.

While I look beautiful, I am actually made of steel.
While I look beautiful, I am actually made of steel.

Recently, there has been a lot of hubbub about Princess Leia and the gold bikini because now that Star Wars is owned by Disney, they want to retire the bikini and move on to other things. This has caused more uproar than it actually deserves (shocking since we as a culture seem to love getting angry about the things that don’t actually matter, I call the Starbucks coffee cup controversy to the stand as evidence!). I read an excellent perspective on the whole thing that clearly see’s both sides of the “argument”.

Here’s the thing, those that love the gold bikini are full of concern that because Disney no longer supports the ensemble it means that they are going to go through and omit it’s very existence from the films and merchandise. Relax. That is not going to happen. The fact is, the gold bikini is entrenched in the Star Wars culture, you cannot get rid of it, even if you try. Besides that, there really is no point in doing so. It would be a huge expense for something that really, isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of thing. And seriously, if George Lucas “re-edits” Star Wars again, people might straight up beat him with wet noodles until he (or Disney) changes the movies back.

The article I read on Geek Tyrant makes an excellent point about the whole thing;

Leia is a princess, and now, like it or not, a Disney Princess. This means her character, likeness, and image will be marketed and sold to the core young girls of the world as such. When Disney says they are no longer supporting the merchandising of Slave Leia, they are saying “it’s weird that we are trying to sell sexy Leia to children.” – GeekTyrant

There it is, in plain, simple language, the fact is, it’s weird to market a sexy outfit to young girls when Leia wears a whole bunch of other, much more sensible outfits. In fact, as the Geek Tyrant article mentions, Leia is out of that gold number as soon as it is safely feasible to do so. The movie in no way sensationalizes it or make her wear it the entire movie. Actually, in the movie itself she is pretty much fully covered up the entire time after that.

She's just waiting for the right moment to strike.
She’s just waiting for the right moment to strike.

The fact is, Carrie Fisher is beautiful woman and clothed or half-naked, she is still gorgeous. The other fact is, she was a prisoner to Jabba The Hut and of course he’s going to put her in some crazy-ass attire, like all the other slaves in his clutches! Give me a break, that whole scene is creepy and gross, as it’s meant to be and there is nothing better than when Leia strangles Jabba with the chain meant to keep her captive. If that isn’t some serious lady power, I don’t know what is.

princess-leia

The second point I want to mention is best illuminated from the Geek Tyrant article;

Altering her costume or editing scenes does a greater disservice than the oppressive nature of her outfit. Would it be better to see a full clothed Leia choke a space gangster to death after he threatens to kiss her? The outfit fills in the blanks to an older audience while keeping children widely in the dark. Essentially it’s perfect on all levels in that regard. –GT

YES! Exactly. This is why it doesn’t matter if Disney puts some space between them and the costume. It’s been over 30 years since it came out and all the toys, marketing, etc has been done to death. At the same time, the costume is a part of the history of Star Wars and therefore needs to remain in the films as-is. It actually serves a purpose in the story.

I remember seeing Return Of The Jedi when I was a kid and thinking, man Leia sure looks pretty in that bikini. Not once did I wish I was wearing it (I was always fonder of her more utilitarian outfits) nor did I think she was somehow lesser in comparison to her male counterparts because of that outfit. I was always so glad that Leia was integral to the story, on equal footing with the men AND full of princess power. It was a win-win in my young feminist book and it continues to be so to this day.

Most of the time Leia wore pants.
Most of the time Leia wore pants.

I am definitely on the side of pro-bikini but not because Leia looked pretty or sexy but because it showed that even in a ridiculous gold bikini you can fight off a would-be rapist, get rescued while also fighting off the bad guys side-by-side with the boys and getting the hell outta dodge with the man you love. It’s a beautiful portrayal of a strong woman looking soft and feminine but within her is a core of steel.

What do YOU think? Are you for or against the gold bikini? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!