Is the “Slave Leia” Action Figure Appropriate for Store Shelves?
There’s a dad in New Jersey who is “furious” that Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series Slave Leia action figure is in toy stores. “That’s pretty inappropriate. I got 2 daughters I don’t need seeing that crap,” he told FOX 29 News Philadelphia.
So I want to know – is the Slave Leia action figure appropriate for toy shelves? Should it be relegated to online-only sales so kids won’t see it in the store?
First, here’s the news segment:
Okay, can we talk about how the one anchor asks “you say this toy is not just being sold in OUR area?” And the other anchor responds that it’s being sold “all over the country.” What?! You mean there’s no South Pennsylvania / East New Jersey Star Wars EXCLUSIVE toy?!
This issue goes deep, and I’ve got arguments both FOR the action figure and AGAINST it:
FOR: It’s an action figure modeled after a character in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It’s screen accurate. It’s not “sexied up” more than it was on the screen. So if my son asks me “why does she have a chain around her neck,” as Fred Hill’s daughter asked him in the news segment, I’ve got an answer. Jabba took Princess Leia as a slave to bait the Rebels into rescuing her. I wouldn’t tell my kid this part, but yeah, Jabba’s got her in a slave bikini to make her a sexual object and degrade her princess status…
AGAINST: …yes, the sexual object thing is weird to say the least, and like I said, I’m not telling my kid that. And even though it’s the subject of plenty of nerd fantasies, I don’t find the whole “chain up a princess and force her into fewer clothes” thing sexy. And I’m not entirely clear as to why, of all the outfits Leia wore in the Star Wars franchise, the Slave outfit had to be the first one made into an action figure. I mean, we know why, but why not give us Battle on Hoth Leia? Medal Ceremony Leia? Endor sketchy spray-painted camo Leia? Endor “friend to the Ewoks” lounge gown Leia? Bespin “you truly belong here with us among the clouds” Leia? Why go for the jugular right away with the slave outfit? Releasing other Leia figures first would soften the blow of the Slave Leia figure. We could shrug it off. But as it stood, the lack of Leia characters became an issue. Hasbro, for the record, recently released a Leia Boushh disguise figure (which I totally want), but now we’ve got an action figure of her as a sex slave and a figure of her dressed as some other guy. Why can’t we just have Leia dressed as bad ass, gun-totin’, medal-givin’, Rebel-leadin’ Leia?
FOR: As much as I hate to say it, Slave Leia is something the fans want. There’s jokes about too many people dressing up like her. There was a whole Friends episode about dressing up like Slave Leia. It’s a scene that resonates with people.
AGAINST: But…a slave bikini on a kid’s toy that’s for ages 4+?
FOR: I also go to the beach with my son, and although no one’s got chains on, there are plenty of bikinis. A body here’s a body there. I’m not actually concerned about the bikini…
AGAINST: …I’m off-put by the chain, if anything. This isn’t the action figure that will get my 6 year old son into strong, female characters who are equal in strength to the male characters. Where my son might be more likely to play with a Battle on Hoth Leia because she’d have a gun and be fully-clothed, my son would be confused about “what to do” with Slave Leia. Make her the object of rescue, I guess?
Disney announced new Star Wars themed toys appearing at the Disney Store, but raised concern when they tweeted that “there are no plans for Leia products”. They quickly clarified, stating that Princess Leia just wouldn’t be appearing in the first wave of products. But you know, hold tight.
What do you think? Do you own the Hasbro Star Wars Black Series Leia Slave figure? Would you like to see more Leia figures? Which ones?
(Shout out to Nick Downey of Dad With a Blog who originally made the joke I used in the header graphic)