I never watched Rebels regularly. I got through the first three episodes or so, and I dropped out. The Sabine character was just too silly for my tastes. And I’ve generally enjoyed Filoni’s work in The Clone Wars. He’s someone who genuinely understands how to bring prominent female characters to the fore.
But from what I understand, many folks have had some moderately good things to say about Rebels, particularly lately. But Caroline Cao has an issue with the latest Rebels episode, and has her own episode in writing at The Mary Sue.
I wanted to fully understand Caroline’s gripe, so I sat down and watched all 22 minutes of the episode in question, Jedi Nights. I have to say, I was pretty entertained. Ezra is still kind of generic and bland. But I genuinely like Kanan and Hera. I was also pleasantly surprised that Sabine had matured and wasn’t as silly and irritating as she was in the beginning of the show’s run. I liked the depiction of Thrawn. Overall, I was pretty impressed with this episode. I also really liked the female Imperial officer, which reminded me a great deal of General Kala from the 1980 Flash Gordon film. I enjoyed this episode so much, I’ll probably buy the series on DVD when it comes out, to take it all in.
But remember, an SJW caterwauls every time a normal person enjoys something.
Caroline Cao’s piece is entitled, Non-Consensual Drugging and Romance: Star Wars Rebels Did Wrong by Hera Syndulla.
One of the best parts in last week’s Star Wars Rebels episode “Jedi Night” was Hera Syndulla shouting, “You have no right to hold that, let alone understand it,” to Grand Admiral Thrawn. Even from the interrogation rack, this is Hera Syndulla’s most empowering moment: chiding an Imperial on the appropriation of her family heirloom is classic Hera.
The fashionable buzzword you’re looking for here is “disempowered.” What makes it inattentive writing? Apparently a lack of attention given to feminist dullardry.
Apparently “six out of eight” people being women just aren’t enough for this champion of gender equality. Never mind that the two men in the story group are probably feminists anyway. Or at least claim to be. Remember, the female gender and feminist ideology are two separate things now.
So here’s her primary beef:
Then, we get to the drugging scene that made some viewers queasy. During the interrogation, Imperial Governor Pryce inoculates Hera with a truth serum, disorienting her. And once Kanan rescues her, Hera spends time in a daze, making comedic quips as she is dragged around like a damsel. Ha ha? Romantic comedy by a non-consensually drugged woman! Funny, right?
Hera’s stupor is played for laughs, screwing up the levity and her agency. Rather than robbing Hera of her bodily volition, the production team should have maximized Kanan and Hera’s synchronized collaboration on the battlefield, which could have easily been done without sacrificing humor. Kanan and Hera’s interplay is always inherently rife with wit. C’mon, Hera wouldn’t have to be drugged to utter, “I hate your hair.”
While Hera does regain control of her faculties to participate in the escape with her piloting skills, it does not negate the fact that the show toyed with bodily violation as a comedic tool. Then, Hera professes her love for him. While the context assures the audience she has some agency in meaning it, unfortunately, showrunner Dave Filoni confirms that the serum was an attribute to her confession. Whether or not Hera loves Kanan, it’s gross that the writers thought it best to weed out a woman’s love declaration through drugging rather than let Hera do it on her own terms, which was arguably already did when she kissed him in “Kindred,” so it further insults Hera’s agency. The Wookiegunner review makes the same note: hire women.
Now, non-consensual drugging and the date rape that is often associated with it is a serious crime and no one wants to make light of it. Nevertheless, lighten up Francis. The comedy is not coming from Hera being taken advantage by the captors who drugged her. Rather, the comedy occurs when she is being rescued by the hero, who doesn’t take advantage of her in any way. He even doubts her proclamation of love specifically because she was drugged.
Men have been portrayed doing silly things while inebriated for as long as cinema has existed:
Nobody ever got bent out of shape over that. So what’s wrong with a little equal representation here? Isn’t that what you SJWs have been screaming for?
And then, the pivotal heartbreak scene: Kanan Jarrus, after four seasons of surviving the Empire, dashes into the flames to sacrifice himself for his crew. When Hera runs toward him, he Force-sweeps her back, like a doll, which poorly frames Hera in a passive position.
Isn’t Kanan saving the things he loves here? But seriously, no one should be thinking about how any particular set of genitals is portrayed here. Jedi have telekinesis powers. It’s what they do. It was a split second decision to get Hera to safety, himself be damned. It’s not as though someone would have had 10 minutes in that situation to stop and consider, “Hmmmmmm… if I Force push Hera into the ship to save her, it might place her vagina in a passive position.” And that’s the nature of battle. There is no time for these kinds of deeply stupid considerations. Only SJWs have time for such unthinking nonsense.
Furthermore, you might notice that Kanan’s actual final act was to Force push the entire ship away from the blast like a little toy paper airplane. And guess what; the ship had both women and men on it. Now what do you wring your hands over?
Since when was violence gendered? Does violence have chromosomes?
Huh? You just got done complaining about Hera’s passive position, now you’re complaining about her lack of vulnerability? How do you reconcile that?
Genitalia shouldn’t be a consideration whatsoever. Lucasfilm should keep feminists of any gender far, far away from the writing room. What Lucasfilm really needs instead, is perhaps some ex-military folks of any gender who understand wartime scenarios, and how people behave and react in those situations. They could also use experts in military history, the history of civilization, mythology, and comparative religion of any gender in order to restore the deeper layers of the onion that Star Wars had before the dark times, before the sale to the Disney Empire.
You do realize of course, that the only reason Star Wars exists at all is because of male writers, right? Feminist writers conflate obsession over genitalia portrayal with genuine insight. It is of course is entirely incorrect to do so. Strong female characters should be based on interesting multi-layered historical and mythological figures, rather than shallow Bechdel feminism.
Men can write uninteresting adventures in babysitting just as well as any woman can, perhaps even more so.