A Walk on the Child Side: We All Know Princess Leia Is The Coolest

When the queen of Hollywood, Carrie Fisher, passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2016, I and many others mourned by remembering just how incredible she had been, both as an actress and an activist.

I also re-watched many of the Star Wars films. And during my re-watch, I was able to relive the uncomfortable scene in Return of the Jedi where Leia is chained to Jabba the Hutt while in a gold bikini. Ewww. Fisher herself criticized the outfit, telling Daisy Ridley to make sure she was never put in a similarly objectifying position. There is one massively important point that Carrie Fisher has made about this scene, though--more on that later.

Throughout the original trilogy and in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi (think of it what you will), Leia is an icon of strength. She is tough, she is smart, and she is, technically, a Disney princess (which is kind of awesome). She’s sort of like a spy, definitely some sort of political diplomat, and she even becomes a GENERAL in the newer films. Needless to say, Leia never has been and never will be any sort of damsel in distress.

So why the “slave Leia” scene? Sure, the year was 1983, but come on! We can do better than that in our space epics, right? Apparently not.

Despite the inherent ickiness of the scene, there is one crucial factor that Carrie Fisher, our icon, dwelled upon often: Leia is the one who kills Jabba the Hutt at the end of that scene. There is no heroic rescue--Luke, Han, and Lando come to her aid, sure,  but Leia is the one who strangles Jabba with the same chain he had used to subdue her. If that isn’t a massive slap in the face, I don’t know what is. Critics cite this scene as one of the best times that Leia is truly the driving force of her own narrative: not a slave, not just a girlfriend, she is now her own hero--she is rescuing herself.

And of course, our queen Carrie Fisher herself had the best quote concerning the (still rather large) controversy that surrounds the scene. Her response to reports that parents didn’t know how to explain the scene to their children:

“The father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she's in that outfit?' Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn't like it. And then I took it off. Backstage."

    

And that, I think, says it all. BRB, getting that quote tattooed.

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