The Return Of The Jedi

As part of the seemingly endless cycle of press for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens (perhaps you’ve heard of this small indie film?), Interview magazine has brought together Carrie Fisher and Daisy Ridley, the two actors who represent the original and newest women stars of the franchise, respectively. Given instructions to interview one another, it mostly consists of Fisher making Ridley laugh, with periodic musings about the beloved film series in which they both appear. However, Fisher also gives Ridley some advice, the most direct of which involves avoiding getting stuck with a certain iconic bikini ensemble. To wit:

RIDLEY: They always talk about how you’re a sex symbol, and how do I feel about that. [Fisher sighs.] I’m not a sex symbol! [Laughs.]

FISHER: Listen! I am not a sex symbol, so that’s an opinion of someone. I don’t share that.

RIDLEY: I don’t think that’s the right—

FISHER: Word for it? Well, you should fight for your outfit. Don’t be a slave like I was.

RIDLEY: All right, I’ll fight.

FISHER: You keep fighting against that slave outfit.

RIDLEY: I will.

The outfit in question, now informally known as the “slave Leia” bikini, certainly doesn’t look very comfortable, so it’s not surprising Fisher would warn Ridley against having to wear something that seems like it would really chafe. It’s also true that it’s an incredibly iconic costume, one that has certainly drawn its share of admirers and detractors. But culturally, it’s less than a cut-and-dried issue as to whether it’s demeaning or empowering to have something like that on screen. So rather than pretending one has to come down on one side or the other of the issue, we’ll simply note that slave Leia fan fiction is something that exists, and move on, because the whole interview is very smart, funny, and well worth a read. Especially the part where Fisher says, “it’s hard to date once you’re a big Star Wars star because you don’t want to give people the ability to say, ‘I had sex with Princess Leia.’”

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