Raising a Geek Girl: Curating the Toy Collection- Star Wars Edition Part I- Leia

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star wars army

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I was born the year the first Star Wars movie came out- which, of course, is actually Episode IV. My husband is a few years older than me, so while I probably wasn’t really introduced to the Star Wars Saga at least until Empire Strikes Back (1980), but more likely Return of the Jedi (1983), my husband has been there for the whole ride. In fact he was 5 years old when A New Hope came out in 1977- the same age as our daughter is now and the same age she will be when she sees her first Star Wars movie in theaters.

When I was a kid, I remember loving the movies. I had a Star Wars book set, but I don’t think I had any Star Wars toys. My husband, on the other hand, had many. In fact, we still have most of his original Star Wars toys in our garage, as well as some sheets and curtains. Don’t get excited- they were well loved and well used, therefore are not worth much more than the joy they continue to bring my husband and now my daughter. I guess that means they are priceless.

There is so much to say about the cultural significance of Star Wars, but I’m just talking about toys here. Specifically toys that appeal to girls too. All in all, sometimes Star Wars does really well at appealing to everyone and sometimes Star Wars does very poorly in representing girls/women in their toy lines.

Let me start off my saying, my kid loves all things Star Wars. If you notice the toys in the picture above, they are almost exclusively male characters and that has not stopped her love of the toys. She has pictures in her room and clothes that have some of the female characters from Star Wars, but limited toys.

Princess Leia

In the original Trilogy, Princess Leia was really the only female character. There were like 3 other females in the movie in total- maybe, in the background. But what a force of nature. Leia is just so bad ass. So there is usually the requisite Leia figure in any generation of the toy lines. It’s not really difficult to find Leia figures; however there was some issues when Disney acquired Star Wars and released a new wave of toys featuring all of the main characters from the original Trilogy EXCEPT Leia. She’s in there now, and here is a run down of some of the more specific Leia toys available.

Queen Amidala and Princess Leia Fashion Set

Queen Amidala and Princess Leia Fashion Set

Several years ago, when Newt was a toddler, we happened upon “Fashion Play Sets” for Queen Amidala and Princess Leia at one of the Disney Parks. These are similar to the line of small Disney Princess dolls that have multiple dresses they can change into. While I am pleased they did not include a pink dress in either set- Queen Amidala comes with a “framed picture” of her hubby, Anakin, while Leia has one of the dreamy, if scruffy looking, Han Solo. Star Wars has never been accused of passing the Bechdel Test, but that is a bit much. It looks like these are not available separately anymore, but a combined set is available through Amazon and possibly still at the Disney Parks. The dolls each have only 3, instead of the previous 6 outfit changes, but don’t worry, they still come with the pictures of their hunks. Though my sarcasm is apparent at a pretty annoying choice they made when marketing these dolls to girls, the rest of it really is the sort of thing right up my fancy and fashionable daughter’s alley.

Combined Amidala and Leia Fashion Play Set

Combined Amidala and Leia Fashion Play Set

The most prevalent option for Leia toys are of her in her iconic white dress and hair buns.

funko leia potato head leia leia figure leia figure 2

You might find some of her dressed as the bounty hunter, Boushh

boushh boushh funko boushh black series

And there are a few other outfits or versions you might find.

endor ewok leia bespin lego leia hoth leia

And then there is Slave Leia.

A few days ago, word broke that Disney will be phasing out the Slave Leia merchandising. Needless to say, this decision was met with mixed emotions from fans, myself included. It’s clear why this image of Leia is so popular- she looked amazing! Like the most beautiful woman in the galaxy, amazing. And merchandise of slave Leia also looks amazing- ok, either amazing or really weird. But as amazing as she looks in the gold bikini, let’s not forget that it was not an outfit she wore on a couple’s getaway with Han, she was wearing it in scenes in which she was essentially a sex slave. Here is a really good summary, from Dylan Todd, of why it does make sense to stop marketing this image of Leia, especially to children. For me, as a mother trying to teach her daughter about her body being her own and that no one should touch her without her permission, it does feel like the right step to no longer make toys for children depicting their heroine in a state of sexual subjugation and slavery.

slave 1slave 2slave 3slave 4slave 5slave 6slave 7

On a completely different note, at Tampa Comiccon in August this year, we waited in line for several hours for Newt to have the chance to have a picture taken with Princess Leia herself, Carrier Fisher. She had the chance to meet Ms. Fisher and get a hug from her, take a cute picture and got a kiss from Ms. Fisher’s dog.

Newt and Leia

When the full trailer for the new Star Wars movie came out, Matt and I were excited to help Newt make the connection between her experience at Comiccon and the new movie. We paused the trailer here:

Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm

Newt looked at it for a few, long seconds and then proclaimed, “That’s not Princess Leia. Princess Leia wears glasses.” Touche’.

**Note- my kid does not really have a mustache and usually does not wear a mask, but as with all super heroes, she has to protect her secret identity.

*RWMOTB is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Raising a Geek Girl: Curating the Toy Collection- Star Wars Edition Part II- Beyond Leia | Real Working Moms of Tampa Bay

  2. i never had any starwars toys, as half of my family/folks were adamantly anti-flash in pan anti pop culture anti consumers really and the other half of my family/folks were far too poor to partake as consumers of anything of the moment, as naturally whatever’s ever been “trending” at the time has always commanded a premium price. it costs to be current. i got teddy ruxpin a good 4-5 years after the bear can talk thru the tape deck in his belly craze. i still loved him even though i definitely wouldn’t have brought him to show and tell at the school both sides of my parents bustes butt and hoop jumped to gain special assignment to attend those best schools in probably all of central fla then. possibly even among best in southeast usa. public school but monied to the max public school for elementary and middle. so socially, my obviously different SES (among other things but mainly that id say then so young my classmates i realize now didnt probably KNOW it was the broad filial financial gap that made me so, “one of these things are not like the other.” in retrospect, i realize they made fun on my old hand me downs and talking shoes with NO IDEA that it was so because i was a have not, materially, to their hads. OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T REALIZE. kids are not actually THAT CRUELA NOT AT THAT AGE YET ANY WAY . not before facebook days. lol. if theyd known i know they wouldn’t have been cruel as they weren they just OF COURSE DIDN’T YET KNOW ABOUT MONEY. certainly not in terms of have and have not aside from what parental attempts of denying some “i wants” of theirs from time to time in order to teach or try to teach them value with no some times and luxuries like allowances. but i thought about it ALL THE TIME.as ive always been a night owl i often laid in bed so late pretending to sleep for 1-4 hrs til i did and id hear snippets about money. about one dollar only between all of us and hear my mom and step dads (before he becane too injured broken back to work even!) and their going thru our pantrys to tally cans boxes add waters count cheese slices or eggs and bread slices and hear them plan out what we would all eat til x y z money cane in. i never told anyone duh i was supposed to be asleep but of course i knew and thought about money long before my school mates i wish i woulda known then how subjective, identical facts of moments were then in that way anyway. it probably didnt occur to them for another few years that so much of my orange to their apples was class, they probably just thought i was weird and didnt know of or like of the moment things…heck maybe they thought i wqs a Jehovah’s witness bc we had a visitor in class talk about that and Sikhs once. BUT anyway, all that context to the punchline: one Christmas my not rich folks, but the lights on always and i never heard about no food and one dollar. it may.have been so too in their young years starting out but i wouldn’t have heard bc my home there was a very sprawling nice for me ranch style house with doors and walls and insulation and soundproofs, very different than wood paneling of trailers and maybe an accordion not quite door. lol. anyway they got me for one Christmas a NEW off brand generic starwars toy. it wasnt from a movie i don’t think maybe the kurt russell early wwes craven movie in the artic but i doubt it. im 90% sure it was a star wars type spave ship like the harrison ford ship and even one action figure resembling him. not a snow mobile. anyway i loved that toy but got bored eventually bc my sister wouldnt play star wars with me…look at her now. and look at me now. ive not ever seen ANY of the star wars movies all the way thru anr have no choice but to pass on this new one i hear about now. now my sister plays with and has and watches every star wars every thing. what a jerk when we were young. lol, well at least library books are still free and i know all about the REAL star wars of Reagon of my childhood same era too. ha!

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