I first tried on the metal bikini (actually it was the rubber version made by Rubies) in 2009 at the request of a local radio station I was doing camera work for. While I had the costume on loan I took advantage of the opportunity and took some photos and posted them online. My pictures caught the attention of the right people and I was offered a job as an official Slave Leia model for the 2010 San Diego Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration (which sadly, I had to decline). Return of the Jedi was the only Star Wars film my family owned growing up and my siblings and I watched the VHS on a daily basis. I never thought I would grow up and literally be Princess Leia. I was more than thrilled to become an official model for Gentle Giant Studios.
Since the Slave Leia PSA there has been a number of articles and Blogs (written mostly by women) crucifying anyone who has worn the metal bikini, labeling it a "problem" and "concern" at conventions. True there are times where there appears to be crowds of Slave Leia's but it's simply because those women were hired to be there. Things like the Slave Gathering, which takes place every year at the San Diego Comic Con (and have become legendary in addition to being a crowd pleasing event) have lured such celebrities as Olivia Munn and Adrianne Curry. It also receives massive press. One might complain that the metal bikini is too revealing when in fact, it shows as much as a two piece swimsuit at the beach. I've seen women wear far less in cosplay even going as far as applying nothing but pasties over their bare breasts. Where's the public outcry to ban those particular costumes at shows? Some may argue that we're actually promoting slavery or sex slavery and that Leia was a victim who was sexually abused by Jabba the Hut. Unless there's a version of Return of the Jedi with a deleted rape scene that I missed, those theories and assumptions are best described as laughable. Stick with the facts; yes Leia was a prisoner and forced to wear that outfit as she watched her friends and allies suffer but did she sit there and play victim? No.
This princess waited until the time was right and turned the tables on her captor, killed him and won her freedom. It's convenient that critics fail to recognize Leia's accomplishment and bravery because of what she's wearing. It's no different than one women judging another because of the clothes she has on. I'm often told by associates that they are surprised at how "nice" or "intelligent" I am for a model. Once again this is an example of stereotyping. People are accusing Leia cosplayers of not being "real" geeks without knowing that woman's story or reason for putting the metal bikini on. Fingers are being pointed with accusations of us demeaning ourselves when in fact, we chose to wear it. No one forced us. Here's a life lesson for those who say we're offensive; just don't look. To those who say the naysayers deserve to be heard, my response is that I don't deserve to be attacked and judged for the costume I choose to wear. It's just as easy for me to accuse someone of being jealous as it is for someone to accuse me of being an attention whore. We can play the blame game all night people.
How is it that a princess who fought for her friends, beliefs and freedom offends the eye but not the dozens of cosplayers walking around dressed as murderers, thieves and rapists? Are you enraged at the sight of the Green Goblin because he murdered a helpless blonde atop a bridge? Do Joker cosplayers upset you because he's murdered children and paralyzed others? And what about Dr. Light? He raped Enlongated Man's wife on the Watch Tower. With incidents occurring at conventions such as raised ticket prices, the stealing of badges and assaults (such as last year's pen stabbing incident at the San Diego Comic Con), you're biggest concern is a woman dressed as Slave Leia? It's time to get your priorities straight, let go of the hate and work on your self esteem.