Here’s the blog entry that started this brain a’churnin. Check it out, I’ll go get a beer.
It is cool to think that even a fraction of Slave Leias out there are striving for more than cheesecake photo ops and geek-gawk-points, even if the majority are probably sans that nobly-intended kickassery. I dig that at least some of those women think more than just “Look at me, look at me, LOOK AT MEEEE!”
However, even if some of them are going for “fierce bikini warrior” rather than “desirable chattel”, they have a responsibility for the whole message they send with that costume, not just the part they like. Along with the “Grrr, don’t mess with me or I’ll choke your blubbery ass” is “I am a lap dog.” Along with “I am a sexy object, covet me” is “the smaller my outfit, the better I look, the more I am worth.”
The reason the Slave Leia outfit is not merely a skimpy costume (according to this blog) is because while she is dressed like a compliant pleasure-slave, she’ll actually fuck you up. Don’t judge by what you see. But inherent in that statement is that what you see is a degrading costume.
I mean, c’mon. They didn’t throw her in jail like they did her male counterparts, she was dressed in a bikini and a leashed collar while Chewie and Han were in the clink. She was forced to sit there, humiliated, in that giant, pudding-y lap as decoration while a giant turd-shaped alien yanked her around by the neck and stuck his slimy, slimy tongue out at her. Dang, son. That shit is embarrassing.
OMG he’s touching me AGAIN.
Now, ultimately Leia did kick major ass. She was there on a daring attempt to rescue her boyfriend in the first place. She killed that bastard Jabba with the very leash he put around her neck. Go, girl. But her triumph wouldn’t have been as epic if she hadn’t done it from such a place of obvious subjugation, which is what the outfit symbolizes. You don’t get to cherry-pick the “I’m a badass” out of it and leave the rest.
Also, despite Leia’s many heroic actions during the trilogy, we just don’t see the brave and imperious white-gowned (fully-clothed) leader of the Rebel Alliance at cons very often. Or the fearless soldier in the camouflage poncho screaming through the woods at breakneck speed, intent on fucking some storm-trooper shit up. No, nearly all of the Leia incarnations we see have chosen to dress like an objectified slave.
The second part of this has to do with that choice. The choice to don skimpy bikini wear instead of countless other amazingly hot nerdy women’s costumes in the first place. It’s a choice that size privilege affords to some, and one that slaps an automatic penalty on those not wearing Nerdtoria’s Secret or those who try less successfully. (I’m not on a slut-shaming rant here, btw, bear with me.)
Truthfully, I wouldn’t wear SL in any case (not a fan of the outfit, donchaknow), but even if I wanted to, I am a fat girl and don’t have that choice. I would never be seen the same way as a “normal” woman in SL. I would be the Fantasia hippo version of a ballerina, pictures of me would end up on lol-loser websites, I would become another cautionary tale for all the ladies out there who aren’t the correct size to play dress-up.
I’m not complaining about my size, mind you. Or anyone else’s. I’m pissed about the structure in which SL has become the standard, and I am naturally sub-par because I refuse to bare my midriff to the unavoidable mockery and shaming that would result.
“When geek culture says, Don’t be Slave Leia, what I hear is: Don’t unsettle us. Don’t make us think about the consequences of our misogyny, or our entitlement, or our privilege. Don’t remind us that female sexuality can be a power as well as a commodity.”
“I find it troubling when there’s a whole category of women that we are Officially Allowed to Mock and/or Hate. Because that line is a really arbitrary thing, and it’s really easy to imagine that, some day, I’ll end up on the wrong side of it.”
Would at least one of you think about choking that corpulent bastard?
Fighting back against misogyny: hell yes. Doing it by wearing identical slave girl outfits? C’mon. There’s plenty of ways to claim the “power” without the “commodity”. As a fat, nerdy- type woman, I am plenty aware of privilege and entitlement, and who has it. I am already in a “category of women that we are Officially Allowed to Mock and/or Hate.” Perhaps a little more effort to smudge and remove those arbitrary lines, and a little less jostling competition to be on the right side of them would help.
Beyond SL outfit in specific, there’s this whole Booth Babe/Cylon Funtime Barbie/Nearly-Naked (insert any recognizable geek- icon here) thing going on too. It’s about the teeny-tiny-con-bikini, so standard now that women not wearing one might as well be invisible. It’s about how those of us who aren’t the appropriate shape might as well just stay home because we don’t count. At this point, most cons should just be called “wizard-boob-a-palooza, no fat chicks.”
Nerds, banded together through common interests and a mutual understanding of how cruel the non-nerd world can be, are surprisingly closed down to us who score fewer points on the Slave Leia Value Scale™. That scale seems to rank based on how closely we resemble Boris Vallejo paintings, which is funny considering how few of them bear any passing resemblance. But I digress.
I’m not saying no one should ever wear the ole purple and gold; at this point it’s as classic as plastic pointy ears. The Bikini and Leash has stopped looking like a costume, and started looking like a cheerleader uniform. But fuck it, it’s Sci-fi, it’s Fantasy, it’s a party, it makes you feel sexy and fierce, so be it. Let your freak flag fly. All gazillion of you.
Just please, be aware that wearing it sends multiple messages, and they are not all as awesome as “If you fuck with me, I will end you.” You are also perpetuating some pretty harsh “isms” along the way. If you feel good, then strut your stuff. Wear it proudly, just know everything you’ve got on.
[Whiskeypants note: I posted "In Defense of Slave Leia" to my wall on Facebook, and Tanya responded with a comment that I was not above begging her to turn into a blog post. Fortunately she didn't make me actually beg for it. That never looks good on Facebook.]
I’ve been discussing a silly amount of serious issues in this blog, lately. Which is odd, because I originally intended this to be a platform for a serious amount of silly shit (please pardon the alliteration, it’s a hack tool, I know).
So, Gentle Reader, I’ll give you a break from all that, and tell you the story of how I woke up in the Dick House.
I was hanging out with two of my favorite people, W and N, at their place in Berkeley. It was a pretty chill night, and it was decided that N & I would watch some Miyazaki film or other. I can’t for the life of me remember which one (you’ll find this story light on details). N asked me if I wanted to try one of his new culinary masterpieces: ginger snaps made with the finest of cannabutters. I accepted the cookie, nommed on the cookie, and settled in to watch the movie.
At some point I blinked. It was a four-hour blink.
At around 3:30am my eyes opened again. I was on a couch that may never have been intended to comfortably support the human body. I was in a position that only mummies find comfortable for longer than 20 minutes. My glasses were still on, confirming for me (à la Giles in “Tabula Rasa”) that I wore glasses, but not making any difference whatsoever in my vision. Somebody had covered me with a blanket, which was kind, but had failed to leave me a prominently displayed note informing me of where I was and how I had gotten there.
I said, “mmph.” Or, I tried to say it. I think it would be more fair to say I thought it, emphatically. And then I considered my surroundings. I had no idea where I was. Nothing looked familiar, and the dark unfamiliarity was slightly sinister. I didn’t move at all, partly out of wariness, and partly because reconnecting brain to limbs was proving enormously difficult.
And then I remembered: I was in the Dick House!
Wait, what? What the fuck does that mean? Seriously, what does it mean? What the fuck is a Dick House? What the fu—wait. I am still clothed. So…okay. Dick Dick Dick. Dick House. That’s because…I’m high. I’m fucking high. That cookie wasn’t just a little green, that motherfucker was made of green, like, with a leprechaun baked in the middle, an angry leprechaun, with gloves—okay, get a grip, Whiskeypants, you didn’t actually see a leprechaun when you bit into the cookie.
By this point I had managed to tangle myself up in the blanket and in trying to get up, was in the process of rolling off the couch. The shock of hitting the floor relieved me of my concerns regarding leprechaun-filled ginger snaps and jarred me slightly more awake. Of course. Of course, I was in the Dick house. Not the Dick House.
Specifically, I had eaten a magical leprechaun-enabled ginger snap and passed out in the Berkeley house in which Philip K. Dick had once resided (or, one of them). A major accomplishment. Maybe next time I could pass out with a bottle of whiskey in Edward Gorey’s house, or drop acid in Stratford-upon-Avon—no, terrifying idea. I’ve been to Stratford-upon-Avon.
The whole process of figuring out where I was, falling off the couch, and situating myself properly had taken only a few interminable minutes. Getting back to sleep took no time at all. The relief that came with the realization of what “Dick” meant in this context I expect will last forever.
Zombies have become so popular we even have a television show about them, now. They have a dance troupe, and small children have been known to stalk me, growling: “brains!”. I think one might recently have been voted into office (a zombie, not a small child. Actually, probably both).
More importantly, I have noticed that the majority of zombie flicks generally view the zombie apocalypse as a bad thing. But as a single, unemployed American lacking in basic health care, I have to say: is it, really?
I woke up this morning with the knowledge that I am still jobless and almost out of the inhaler that keeps me breathing on a daily basis. With no national health care option, I am actually kinda fucked.
Then, light bulb!—What if there were a zombie apocalypse?
I would be able to—after killing a number of the freaky undead, of course—just walk into a pharmacy, grab some Advair, some Vicodin, and some hair product, and walk right out again. That’s right, folks. The zombie apocalypse would be national healthcare. National health care—plus vicodin!
But why stop illuminating there, light bulb? Think about it!
- The mortgage crisis—not to mention the stress about having to pay rent: OVER!
- Frustration with public transportation: OVER!
- Uncomfortable political conversations: OVER!
- Reality TV: OVER!
Okay, yeah. I get it. The price of all of this beautiful freedom and ability to breathe is having to shoot the occasional family member or friend in the head, because if you shoot them anywhere else, they will keep on comin’. But it’s only the humane thing to do, folks.
I should point out for you pessimists out there that it works out the same if I become a zombie—breathing, rent, food, political discussions, hair product: all a non-issue. Health care or Hell care? I’ll take what I can get these days.
Dear Battlestar Galactica,
I guess the first thing I should say is that I frakkin’ miss you. I miss you and I want you back. I know you had to end things, and I can forgive you for that, and even the cheap shot you threw at me as you left. But I miss you, and I just can’t go on like this.
I can’t keep jumping into these rebound relationships. They aren’t satisfying, they aren’t healthy. Caprica lasted the longest, but I think Caprica and I both know that I’m just looking for you in very virtual corner, in every proto-cylon. I’m looking for Starbuck, Adama, and Tigh. I am looking for real drama, morally questionable presidents, hot blond hallucinations, inexplicable obsessions with “All Along the Watchtower.” No amount of Eric Stoltz can really match all of that–and ultimately, Caprica knows it, even if that is a fact it prefers not to admit.
I feel so vulnerable writing this to you. But I just can’t help it. BSG, come back to me. I love you.