Monday, 2 May 2011

You probably already know this...

... but it's only grabbed my attention that that there's a whole Star Wars Slave Leia metal bikini thing going on. I only found out due to extended poking about looking at pulp fiction and SF for a project I want to start in the next few days.

We're talking about the outfit Princess Leia wears in Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi, when she's been held captive by Jabba the Hutt and placed in his harem.

As Wikipedia describes it, the iconic slave girl costume comprises 'a copper brassiere fastened over the neck and behind the back with string,] copper plates at the groin in front and back, a red silk loincloth, and leather boots. There were other various adornments, including a hair fastener, a snake arm-wrap and two bracelets. Last, there was the chain and collar that bound her to Jabba which, ironically, she uses to strangle him.'

The outfit was apparently inspired by the work of fantasy/SF illustrator Frank Frazetta, much of it done in the 60s and 70s - the era of pulp, which is how I followed my nose to discover more. There are both official and unofficial websites devoted to his work.

While the Leia slave outfit, in terms of Frazetta's artwork at least, is actually rather conservative it became a cult sex symbol, 'burned into the sweaty subconscious of a generation of fanboys hitting puberty in the spring of 1983' as a Wired editor put it.

What intrigues me is that it seems also to have been burned into the consciousness of several generations of women. Some SF and Star Wars conventions have dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of women wearing this outfit. Don't believe me? there's a website devoted specifically to the costume, leiasmetalbikiniLcom. Alternatively, Google 'slave leia' and/or 'metal bikini' and look at the images section, or the G4 segment on Youtube of the Princess Leia Bikini Contest at ComicCon. And it's by no means the only convention that hosts such an event.

So... I can certainly understand the male perspective on this costume. And I can see that for a women who's confident about herself, it's a great outfit to wear that will show off your physical charms and assets, either in private or at a public event such as a SF convention where it's now accepted as normal female attire. You'd need to have a certain amount of courage to wear it, but at the same time it does make me wonder whether the Slave Leia thing is treated as irrelevant, or whether there's just a little bit of submissive fantasy going on in their heads...

Now this is the kind of action I could be interested in. I'm clearly going to have to turn myself into a morbidly obese sluglike crime lord...

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