Princess Leia: Feminist Hero

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Star Wars is a bit more pop-culture-y than we tend to do around here, but I can’t help but share this piece from Emily Hauser on why we should stop talking about “Slave Leia” (who’s only in that costume for three minutes) and instead talk about “Leia the Hutt Slayer”:

We’re not the franchise, though. We’re the ones who interpret the franchise and give it cultural weight. We’re the ones who came up with “Slave Leia” (a name never used anywhere in the films), in total disregard of the 216 other minutes in which Badass Leia blasts her way through Death Stars and Cloud Cities, saves her would-be rescuers (“into the garbage chute, flyboy!”), leads a rebellion, and can fly any craft she happens to find herself in or on.

This is, after all, what we do to women every day—we reduce them to their weakest, meekest, most domesticated iterations. If women are allowed to be sexual, they must be sexual in a way that meets heterosexual male expectations.

It’s a great piece which ties Leia to Serena Williams, Eugenie Bouchard, Rosa Parks, and Hillary Clinton. Read it all.


Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →