Princess Leia’s Lesson: Use “The Force” In a Man’s World

Where are the Princess Leia toys for The Force Awakens

The official Disney Store Twitter account messaged a user that there are currently “no plans” to carry Princess Leia toys to go with the release of The Force Awakens. So much for the new Star Wars movie being “female friendly,” as J.J Abrams says.

Don’t call Leia a princess anymore.

In the upcoming The Force Awakens, Leia is now a general. For movie goers, this may be a shocker, but for Star Wars geeks, well, we’ve always known she truly is the force that holds the series together. Sure, she married the handsome Han Solo and became a mother. But did you know that in Leia lore, she also was a key player in the creation of the New Republic and was elected to the position of Chief of State, serving twice in that office? Yeah, that’s like our commander-in-chief, but still essentially the president. No doubt, a powerful woman instead of just a pretty princess.

That’s why it’s incredibly offensive that Disney, the mega corporation that bought Star Wars creator George Lucas’ Lucasfilm for $4 billion, has put very few Leia toys on shelves. The decision hasn’t set well with fans or Carrie Fisher, who with her long white gown and hair buns famously brought Leia to life in 1977.

This week, Fisher, an avid fan of Twitter, took to the social media site to slyly express her discontent about this issue after the official Disney Store Twitter account told a user that there are currently “no plans” to carry Leia toys. While Fisher didn’t say anything per se, she did retweet many fans disapproval of Disney’s decision.

Come on, Disney. This Leia toy decision is incredibly stupid especially when the machine behind the new movie, including director J.J. Abrams, has said that this new era of Star Wars is “female-friendly” and therefore, there will be no Leia slave costumes this go-round.

Then, put some Leia dolls on the shelves for Vader’s sake.

Disney must not realize that while a lot of little girls may want Leia dolls in the bedrooms, there are also a lot of grown women like myself who grew up playing Leia on the playground. And we want new Leia toys. Not to mention the thousands — and I would venture to say millions — of men who whether they will confess it or not have a Leia fetish.  Jeez, did Disney not do any market research? After all, they certainly have no qualms selling other princesses. (For reference see: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida.)

As women, we’d like to think Leia — and females in general — has come a long way, baby, since the 1970s, but Fisher makes us think otherwise. As the public relations frenzy around The Force Awakens reaches a fever pitch, Fisher says that Hollywood is the same sexist place it’s always been. In numerous interviews, she said she felt pressure to lose weight (35 pounds, to be exact) for her role. Did anyone really expect Fisher, now 59, to look like the svelte slave girl chained to Jabba the Hut? Perhaps, yeah.
“They don’t want to hire all of me – only about three-quarters!” Fisher told Good Housekeeping U.K:

“Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.”

Fisher may think it’s just Hollywood, but male fans have said that Fisher needed to lose weight in various Star Wars forums. One wrote, “Yes, Carrie Fisher, all men of a particular age want you to loose weight for the upcoming Star Wars movie. You only have to get into reasonable shape; not necessarily Jabba’s slave girl/bikini shape — but perhaps yummy mummy chic; because we’re all invested heavily in your sexuality…This isn’t chauvinism per se, we’re just living a dream and want you to help…”

I can only hope someone does to this guy what Leia did to Jabba in Return of the Jedi with that chain.
It’s pathetically sad that Fisher even has to talk about weight loss in connection with The Force Awakens. Did anyone ask Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford to lose weight? I’m sure they’ve gained a few pounds since 1977.

No, instead of beauty, Fisher should talk about Leia’s fiesty wit. Her undying strength. Her far-reaching power.

In a 2007 article entitled “Feminism and the Force: Empowerment and Disillusionment in a Galaxy Far, Far Away,” Diana Dominguez wrote, “Leia is a hero without losing her gendered status; she does not have to play the cute, helpless sex kitten or become sexless and androgynous to get what she wants. She can be strong, sassy, outspoken, bossy, and bitchy, and still be respected and seen as feminine.”

Oh, and lest we forget, Leia is also a Jedi Master.

So forget about the Leia toys. Women and girls should take one thing away from all this Star Wars hoopla: We can use The Force, too, in a man’s world.

Suzi Parker, TBS’ resident mixologist and culture editor, is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Echo Ellis: Adventures of a Girl Reporter,” “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt” and “1000 Best Bartender’s Recipes.” She writes frequently for The Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Beast, The Economist, and numerous other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker.
Image via Flickr/CC License/via Amyr_81

  • Diagonotter

    In the interest of accuracy, mark hamill was asked to lose weight. But the point, is still the point, even if he was. The pressure on women is greater in Hollywood and audiences are harsh critics, men are under scrutiny too but the criteria is different, and more flexible especially in regard to age. The toy piece is so frustrating, but then go ask Black Widow where her merch is…

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