Do you want to see the epitome of missing the mark with Star Wars merchandising?
— Kirsten McKnight (@SkylarKDM) May 6, 2015
Princess Leia is finally included on a product for males and they totally rob Leia and her character’s power and agency she expresses in the film based on archaic assumptions of women in classic stories. She is the complete opposite of the “damsel in distress.” She is partaking in stealing Death Star plans, shit-talking the bad guys, resisting mind probes, and teaching the boys how to shoot and escape from the evil space fortress. Hell, she and Luke rescue Han Solo, making Solo just as likely a candidate for that “most likely to be rescued” category as she was.
Now, the shirt is a joke. But the other humorous assumptions made about the males characters are true. The only one that isn’t true is the one about Leia. In an era where the Disney Store is barely releasing any Princess Leia toys, Jakks Pacific hasn’t released a female doll in their line and equal gender representation in the Star Wars brand is at an all-time low, this shirt hits a nerve.
As I’ve said before, the folks at Lucasfilm are not like this. The people at Lucasfilm are forward-thinking people that care about representation and their stories, personality, and on-screen entertainment exemplify that. Why are the marketers and the people making the products getting this kind of junk approved?
Do better. Products should be as inclusive as the stories from which they spring from and those products should be spiritually compatible with what we see on the screen. This idiotic shirt violates those principles for a joke that doesn’t even play well in the first place.
Legion of Leia is reporting that the shirt has been pulled from Target’s website.