Parents Outraged Over Hasbro Product Found on Toy Shelves
We reported that the Slave Leia figure was the only version of Leia in the Black Series 6 inch line. However, there is another version that was released a few weeks ago (June 2015) of Leia in the Boushh disguise from another scene in Jabba's Palace in Return of the Jedi.
A single father in Philadelphia has expressed his anger and concern over what he deems to be an inappropriate toy for the children’s aisle found at his local Target while shopping with his daughters.
The toy in question is a Star Wars figure from the 6″ Black Series in the form of Princess Leia wearing her Jabba Palace slave attire made famous from the scene in Return of the Jedi.
Despite being rated for ages “4 and up”, the figure is cited as being inappropriate due to the metal bikini along with the chain and collar around her neck. Out of context, this does certainly seem like an odd thing to find on a children’s toy. Of course, the age rating is more tied to safety standards than content, so one might argue that it actually isn’t intended for children as young as 4 years old and particularly not little girls. But is claiming that the intended target for this toy is actually male collectors ages 14-35 really a strong argument? The fact is, not really.
This toy in particular was first released in 2013 as part of the Star Wars Black 6″ figure line. Along with a variety of other characters pulled from scenes in the various Star Wars films, this figure is simply one among many. So what’s the problem?
Well, for starters, while there have been other Princess Leia figures in the past, this is the only version of the character in this series. As equality awareness has dominated the social landscape in 2015, many view this as problematic.
The fact that this toy has been sitting on shelves for two years is a testament to this fact on its own merit. This represents a broader problem in the discussion of the role of women in our media and how they are portrayed. It hearkens back to a more recent issue when Hasbro released a motorcycle playset from a scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron and replaced Black Widow (a female), who was actually in the scene, with Captain America for the toy.
The idea that the only female character available in this line is in the form of a scantily clad sex slave is definitely sending a message whether it is intended or not. Both to young males who will see that the idea of a woman as a decorative object to be owned and to young girls who’s only representation is one of submission.
Of course, fans and collectors know that within the context of the movies, Leia’s capture was part of a plan (more or less) to rescue Han Solo from Jabba’s clutches and in the end she single handedly disposed of the despot. But as shown by the news cast, this context is certainly not clear to kids and adults alike who’ve not seen the films.
Hasbro isn’t blind to the tide of social progress, however, and in recent times has stood out to reshape the landscape. As Transformers fans know in particular the recent addition of Windblade and the all-female combiner team Victorion show that they are aware of the need to represent women on a level other than set decoration or damsels in distress.
Ultimately, it’s easy to look at uninformed parents and point and laugh — but the reality is as a single dad raising two daughters he’s shining a spotlight on an issue that has gone unchecked for far too long. While the ultimate message shouldn’t be to have these figures pulled from the shelves, what should happen, and seems to be ultimately happening, is that content providers make a conscious effort to consider their responsibility in shaping what our children believe about others and themselves.
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