Feminist Happy To Do Away With Gender Equality

Tracy King wrote a piece at NewStatesman entitled, The Last Jedi is the first properly feminist Star Wars.

She writes:

Warning: spoilers and deconstruction of the patriarchy ahead. 

The patriarchy shrugs its shoulders and puts back a beer.

This was because all I could see, as a former Star Wars enthusiast, was endless and overwhelmingly male worship of a franchise which should have died when Queen Amidala did.

So your misandry sparked a visceral hatred of the franchise that the patriarchy created.  Got it.

The prequels had killed Star Wars, I thought, and I was tired of seeing the corpse still twitching.

Really?  You mean Filoni’s Clone Wars and other EU material pre-2012 never happened?  You mean, George Lucas wasn’t already planning a sequel trilogy before he sold Lucasfilm to Disney?

My reluctant impatience wasn’t cured by the announcement of new films, particularly because they were to bring back Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia. I saw that as an attempt to capitalise on what made Star Wars great in the first place, but I have never believed you can go back by revisiting characters.

A fine patriarchal steak dinner says that after the close of the Sequel Trilogy, feminists will be screeching for a revisit of Rey, in her own movie.

Everything from the hell of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to the bafflingly dumb Gilmore Girls reboot failed precisely because it’s impossible to recapture in old age what was loved about youth.

Or because Kathleen Kennedy was also involved in Crystal Skull.  Honestly, who watches Gilmore Girls?  And how come there isn’t equal representation of Gilmore Men?

Everyone was taking Star Wars way too seriously, while I was always more in tune with Yoda comedically clambering around for snacks.

Which ended the very moment that Luke realized that the little green man was Yoda.  You see, Yoda was putting on a performance, to test Luke’s patience.  A test, that Luke failed.  It’s not who Yoda actually was.

But of course old Star Wars fans die hard, so I went to see The Force Awakens and even enjoyed it.  Fan service sat neatly alongside new characters. Rey was established as being as self-sufficient – “stop holding my hand!” – as Leia ever was, but without Leia’s royal resources. Rey is a true equal in a galaxy obsessed with balance.

Some would say that Rey is more equal than others.

But it still felt overwhelmingly like the domain of men. 

Probably because it’s a Star Wars movie, and men predominately fight wars.  Pay particular note, how the word “war” appears in the title of the franchise, Star Wars.

There has never been a female Star Wars director, and before Rey, the coolest characters were Luke and Han. 

Did you know that 4 out of the first 6 episodes were written and directed by George Lucas, you know, because he invented it all.  Are you familiar with the concept of authorship?

Female role models were limited to Leia, a princess who began as a rebel with a blaster but was reduced to a pinup by the gold bikini slave costume Carrie Fisher eventually admitted was not her choice.

Lots of things aren’t the choices of actors.  Just ask Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.

It’s always important to understand context.  The gold bikini slave costume was a reflection of Jabba the Hutt, who forced her to wear it when he held her in captivity.  I’m not sure that an intergalactic gangster would honor progressive ideology when outfitting his captured slaves.  She wore it for a portion of the first act in the third film.  And then went on to fight in the awesome speeder bike sequence.  I highly suggest watching the film.

That Leia used her chains against her captor doesn’t change the distinctly male gaze that turned that scene into a grubby bedroom fantasy for boys.

Or it made unattractive feminists jealous at cosplayers dressed in the outfit who get the boy’s attention.

In the prequels, Queen Amidala couldn’t offer any feminist hope because her entire existence was to fulfill her biological destiny.

So childbirth eliminates feminist hopes?  We’re gonna need more procreation over here!

Whatever character arc she was allowed was undone in the ridiculous and disrespectful birth scene in which Amidala, screaming in pain and seemingly trapped under some sort of metal band, gives birth to the twins she randomly names Luke and Leia, before dying of something (the film seems to want us to think it’s a broken heart, but given the midwife droids didn’t administer any pain relief, I suspect Amidala actually died from substandard medical care and the Skywalkers should sue).

Ridiculous?  Maybe.  But how on Earth is this scene disrespectful?  Do feminists really despise their own reproductive abilities that much?

But then, a new hope, for me. The Last Jedi is the first Star Wars film for women. (Massive spoilers ahead). Most obviously, there are women in The Last Jedi at every level, from high-ranking military to starship basements. I haven’t done a screen time count but if women aren’t onscreen – and speaking – for more time than any other Star Wars film I will eat my womp rat.

That’s part of what shatters suspension of disbelief.  If I were to walk onto a modern warship in today’s Navy, how many women do you expect I would see?

New character Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran, has a taser and a brain and isn’t afraid to use either. In an early scene, John Boyega’s Finn stands in front of her, mansplaining, until she loudly interrupts him because dude, shush.

Yeah, then the brain proceeds to lecture the audience with stupidity.

General Leia leads the rebellion, eventually replaced by Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo after a bit of Force flying that lazy commenters compared with Mary Poppins because apparently 1964 was the last time a woman did anything cool on screen.

Yes, they should really be comparing her to Superman.

Holdo takes charge of the rebellion fleet, but the cocky, Solo-esque half-hero of The Force Awakens, Poe Damaron, is exasperated by Holdo’s refusal to respect his superior manly tactics and mind, so leads a mutiny that in any other Star Wars film would have succeeded.

What other Star Wars film depicted a successful mutiny in the rebellion?  What are you talking about?

It fails, because he doesn’t know what he’s doing and didn’t respect the vastly superior and more experienced woman above him.

The vastly superior and more experienced woman who led all but a dozen or so Resistance fighters to their deaths, and failed to realize that she could have had a droid pilot her ship for that monumentally stupid maneuver?

Compare the dignified and graceful exchanges between Holdo – who eventually pulls off the most badass kamikaze move in sci fi history – and Leia to those between darkly brooding men’s rights activist Kylo Ren and the red-haired punchbag General Hux, who can’t share a scene without fighting because neither of them truly earned their position. Their respective scrambling and scrapping for power reveals an immaturity and insecurity in contrast to Poe Damaron’s arrogance but no less patriarchal for it. While the guys fight over power, the women simply get on with the job.

And it’s all contrived nonsense orchestrated to prop up feminist ideology, which has no application or parallel in the real world.

And that of course is why Kylo reacts as he does when his new love, Rey, rejects him and his offer to rule in favour of saving her friends, the rebellion, and ultimately the Force itself. Of course Kylo becomes even angrier and more violent, that’s exactly how men who feel entitled to sex but are denied it act. He’s a 2017 baddie. It’s almost like writer director Rian Johnson has done his feminist homework (or maybe just hangs around on Reddit like the rest of us).

No, Rian’s choc-full of the uneducated feminist propaganda of which you speak.

Rey’s rejection of Kylo’s love and power is a feminist triumph. Unlike Leia, who earns her credential as General but was adopted into royalty and born into her Skywalker family destiny, Rey is revealed to be absolutely nobody. I cheered, I cried. The Force Awakens was so desperately trying to hint that Rey’s parentage was Luke-and-Leia special and the internet was agog with speculation for months, but The Last Jedi threw that old trope into a trash compactor where it belongs.

Because everyone wants to see movies about the kinds of nobodies that surround us every day everywhere.

Rey is herself, no resources inherited or bought, self-made with no help from anyone.

That’s what it means to be a Mary Sue.

Rey

Her vagina brings her great wisdom. Or she thinks with her vagina. “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi Wan

Forget the Master/Padawan relationship, that stuff belongs to the failed patriarchy of the old films.

Yeah, let the past die.  That way, you can make mistakes that you could have otherwise avoided by learning from the past instead.  How quintessentially feminist.

New Star Wars belongs to a new generation, and this time it’s women. 

But what about gender equality and equal representation?

Why is it that feminists can’t seem to create their own hit franchises?  Why are they only able to barnacle themselves to pre-existing franchises created by the patriarchy?  How come feminists can only gain glory by accepting hand-me-downs from the patriarchy?

3 thoughts on “Feminist Happy To Do Away With Gender Equality

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