Feminist Conflates Superiority With Equality

Tricia Barr writes a piece at Popsugar entitled, Is Star Wars: The Last Jedi a Feminist Film? Here’s How Rian Johnson Did.

In it she writes:

Back in September, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson responded to a tweet from a female film critic making “Ask me about my feminist film agenda” shirts to say he wanted one. 

Which demonstrates how feminist ideology and the female gender are now two separate things.

Feminists may have different ideas of how feminism should be reflected in a film, but one of the easiest ways is to simply present women equally in a movie.

But what happens when women are presented as superior to men as they are in The Last Jedi?  What is reflected then?  What happens when women and men are depicted so differently?

hate

Horrified to discover that superiority does not equal equality.

Leia as the Skywalker sibling who persisted is an obvious nod to women in this era we are living in. She isn’t morosely moping over the loss of her son to the dark side, but rather mentoring the next generation, particularly Poe Dameron, whom she wants to step up and become a leader. The Last Jedi finally reveals she is strong in the Force.

In quite possibly the silliest way possible.

Poe’s path to leadership comes with some tough lessons.

Chief among them; listen to your mommy.

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Scoldo Holdo

Generally, war stories (the opening scene is modeled on Twelve O’Clock High, a classic World War II movie) sideline the roles of women, so the presence of Paige and A-wing leader Tallie Lintra subvert a Hollywood norm.

It also subverts a war norm, since wars are predominately fought by men.  It’s this subversion that aids in the shattering of suspension of disbelief.

There aren’t enough good things to say about Rose Tico, Paige’s sister. She is competent and smart, fierce yet kind.

Kind?  Sure.  Fierce?  Okay.  But competent and smart?  I beg to differ.

Sure, sometimes cool characters are going to die, but Phasma went down fighting rather than her fate left to some ignominious ending like Boba Fett’s in Return of the Jedi.

She fell through a floor.

Rey finishes the movie in a place feminist Star Wars fangirls like me thought was an impossible dream a little over five years ago, before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, before the sequel trilogy was a certainty on the horizon. Johnson created a hero’s journey for a great female character that is relatable to whoever watches.

Except that Rey gets to skip the first phase of the hero’s journey; knowing everything and doing everything on her own.  Apparently knowledge and skill can be absorbed through cosmic osmosis for the Mary Sue.

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