Feminist Mistakes Catty Behavior For Complexity

Anna Smith writes a piece at The Guardian entitled, A Force for good: why the Last Jedi is the most triumphantly feminist Star Wars movie yet.

In it, she writes:

The franchise’s terrific new instalment offers up complex female characters and dialogue that aces the Bechdel test, while still hitting all the classic marks.

Barking at men is a sign of complexity in feminist circles.

The Last Jedi stormed into cinemas at the weekend as the most triumphantly feminist Star Wars film yet.

Triumphantly feminist.  Meaning feminists have triumphed in killing the franchise.

Both in terms of women and non-white characters, there’s a celebratory inclusiveness that seems entirely in the Jedi spirit.

You do realize of course, that Star Wars has always had women and non-white characters from the very beginning, right?

The dynamic between them is complex and constantly evolving: these are no awe-struck pupil and saintly teacher archetypes. Rey’s character is as developed as any in the series, and bears no relation to her gender. 

You’re right.  Rey finds Luke, lectures about what he’s done and why he did it as though she were there for it all, then bests him in a lightsaber duel, right before Yoda tells the audience that she knows it all anyway.  That Mary Sue quality is in relation to feminist ideology, not the female gender.

There are complex dynamics at work here…

Not dynamic complexities?

…and gender seems significant in this case: the different sexes have varying approaches to military strategy, and it’s thought-provoking stuff.

Yes, the female gender apparently strategizes to bring all but a dozen or so Resistance fighters to their deaths by the end of the movie.  How very thought-provoking.

It’s an impressive feat that within this two and a half hour movie, there is also room for a well-rounded Asian-American female character, Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) who goes on entertaining adventures with the intrepid Finn (John Boyega).

Well rounded?  Are you body shaming her?

Among the approving voices is Annalise Ophelian, a documentary film-maker and psychologist whose current project, Looking for Leia, is about girls and women in Star Wars fandom. “The Last Jedi depicts women as multi-faceted, multi-generational, multi-racial. 

Don’t forget multi-incompetent and multi-irritating.

There are women in strong leadership positions and women who occupy student/learner positions,” she says.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing of value to learn from them.

The Last Jedi also contains what Ophelian says is the “first truly Bechdel Test passing scene” in the history of the franchise. “Female heroes are traditionally presented in cinematic isolation. This film gives us women working side by side, women in technical positions, and of course women learning the ways of the Force.”

But don’t Leai and Holdo spend the whole movie talking about Poe?

Writer-director Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) took her son to the premiere of The Last Jedi at the Royal Albert Hall. She felt the film had a distinctly feminine spirit, while still hitting all the classic Star Wars marks. “I thought it was a great version in terms of having all the lead women there. Laura Dern’s character is clearly very knowledgeable and there was a pathos with Leia, with Carrie Fisher having since passed away. That gave it a very gracious sensibility and tone which also helps it feel female driven. It was quite a gentle film. It delivered all the battles but I thought it was very spiritual compared to some other ones.”

That’s because Chada is conflating cultural Marxist propaganda with spiritualism.

Other commentators think the Star Wars series has always been ahead of the curve. “The franchise has been a trailblazer for women in command,” says Beth Webb, a film journalist and programmer for the Bechdel Test Fest, an ongoing celebration of women in film. “Aside from Leia, I particularly admired Felicity Jones’ Jyn in Rogue One. But it’s certainly thrilling to see these two powerhouse women be leaders, on screen, at the same time. There’s no rivalry or tension, just two old friends working together for a cause bigger than themselves. To see a franchise dear to my heart finally exceeding all of my expectations for its female characters makes it all worth it.”

So really all you’re interested in is watching women being bossy.  Can’t you get that at the local feminist coffee klatch?

But both Webb and Ophelian have one more new hope for Star Wars. ‘The next step is a female director, which I’m hoping the rapidly expanding franchise will allow,” says Webb.

How about we worry about just getting a good director without regard to gender?

WellRounded

The well-rounded one looks a little jealous.

4 thoughts on “Feminist Mistakes Catty Behavior For Complexity

  1. Pingback: Male Feminist Accidentally Focuses On Male Privilege Phantoms | Disney Star Wars is Dumb

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  3. Pingback: Resistance Officer Grovels To Holdo | Disney Star Wars is Dumb

  4. Pingback: Rosario Dawson Displeases “Looking For Leia” Assistant Producer | Disney Star Wars is Dumb

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