body image · diets · fitness · motivation

Do you want to look like Slave Leia?

Slave Leia, really?

I was recently drawn into a discussion (yes, on the internet, of course) about whether getting into shape to wear a Slave Leia costume was a reasonable fitness goal.

To see what started the discussion read, Slave Leia Body Challenge: Even geeks need to get into shape. Here’s the motivation of the future Slave Leia:

“I needed a fitness goal.. and why not go for gold. Well in this case bronze – a bronze bikini and slave gal bottoms. This outfit really doesn’t leave much to the imagination – it’s not supposed to.  It is the female form with some accessories. I have never been a very athletic person, preferring playing video games to going to a gym.  I do love to cook real food, unfortunately I really like butter, bacon and cheese.. oh dear.. I am hoping that by sharing my journey, others can learn, be inspired or minimally laugh.”

Now, there’s a whole community debate about whether dressing like Slave Leia is something women who attend fan conventions should do. I didn’t touch that issue. On this, as with many other such issues, to each her own. Tracy and I both like the Underpants Rule.

My contribution was the simple observation that appearance based fitness goals in general, whatever the strove for appearance, often lead to disappointment.  (I prefer athletic to aesthetic goals when it comes to fitness.)

Most people interested in the debate were much more interested in discussing Slave Leia as a suitable object for cosplay. After all, here’s one of the few (the only?) strong women in Star Wars and she’s become best known visually for the one moment she’s captured by Jabba the Hutt.

Here’s Ryan over at Mad Art Lab expressing this view:

“Princess Leia is a badass leader of a galactic rebellion. She is intelligent, willful, respected and skilled. However, during her time in the slave costume, she has had her power stripped of her; she is reduced to chattel and is used and abused by a filthy, fat, deplorable letch.   By choosing the slave costume, you are choosing that part of the Leia character to portray.  You are implicitly making the statement “I’d rather be sexy property than a reasonably dressed human.”

But now Ryan has come round, all the way round. Read his rethink here, Don’t Dress as Slave Leia Redux.

Ryan decided to dress as Slave Leia himself and I’ve got to say I much prefer the gender bending version of the Slave Leia challenge.  Says Ryan, “This year, for con season, I’m dressing as Slave Leia… sort of. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that, over a year ago, I wrote a post somewhat condemning the wearing of the Slave Leia costume. And though I’ve revised my stance, it would seem somewhat hypocritical of me to wear the costume without some justification, so I want to explain why I’ll be trotting around nearly naked at the cons this year.”

You should read why here. There’s also lots more terrific photos of Slave Leo on Ryan’s website, if you like that sort of thing.

Here’s a snippet of Ryan’s reasons for donning this costume.

“Walking around with barely any clothes on, exposing my imperfect skin, my undefined chest and abs, my knobby knees and my unsightly body hair is, well, terrifying. But then again, if I, a guy just on the scrawny side of ordinary, can’t muster the courage to wear such a costume, how brave must the women that do wear it be? Moreover, how can I call for throwing off the media-induced self-conscious insecurities about our bodies if I’m incapable of doing it myself? I think I’ve painted myself into a corner containing a gold bikini costume.”

Fun and brave.

When he’s not being Slave Leo,  “Ryan is an engineering graduate student at the University of Waterloo and is attempting to improve the science of Mountain Bikes. His hobbies are myriad: camping, video games, fencing, painting, juggling, acting, armor smithing, D&D (yeah that nerdy), drumming and anything else that wanders along. His skeptical bent is understanding how humans learn and how they come to believe.”

Photo: Angela Clafield and Julia Hall

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