Docile Bodies and a Viscous Force: Fear of the Flesh in Return of the Jedi

In Jason T. Eberl & Kevin S. Decker (eds.), The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy. Wiley. pp. 172–182 (2015-09-18)
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Abstract

This chapter explains how a single scene in the Star Wars saga serves to reflect a popular and problematic contemporary view about people. The scene in question occurs in Return of the Jedi when Jabba the Hutt holds Princess Leia captive in his court on Tatooine. Using the philosophy of Susan Bordo, Jean‐Paul Sartre, and Michel Foucault, the chapter examines how Leia's captivity scene reflects modern society's hatred of fat and its preoccupation with the control of bodies, particularly the female body. In contrast with Jabba and his uncontrolled appetite, Leia operates as a model of control. She becomes flesh's master rather than its slave. She finds her freedom by fighting fat. Fear of the flesh and a desire to control bodies are expressive of a deeper anxiety regarding embodiment that has been culturally conferred upon women more than men due to the cultural association of women with the body.

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