Fri 29 Apr 2016
I wouldn’t say I was shocked when the some subset of Star Wars fans got up in arms about the Rogue One trailer. Is there a word for “tired and incredulous”? What’s the emotion you’re feeling when you roll your eyes and mutter “are you fucking kidding me?”
This is all pretty well trod ground at this point, and at twenty-two days after the fact, I’m not exactly trying to cover the subject in a way you haven’t seen. All the salient points have been made:
- There have been seven Star Wars movies thus far, of those we have one woman co-lead, and six instances of third-billing or lower.
- We can probably safely concede a single sci-fi adventure movie to the female gender without the patriarchy immediately crumbling.
- All of this arises from the fact that, to people with unexamined privilege, equality — even decreased inequality — feels like oppression.
- The assertion that a woman with agency is somehow aberrant in the Star Wars universe is nonsense on the face of it.
- Jesus Christ, aside from Mon Mothma, EVERY OTHER CHARACTER was a man anyway, so maybe fucking relax, movies are still insanely bad at representing women.
That fourth point there, that’s the one that comes closest to what I want to talk about in the first place. Star Wars, despite what terrified misogynists might claim today, was never a boy’s club in the first place. I’m not saying it was a feminist manifesto, or that there’s nothing problematic about how the movies dealt with gender and sexuality (Anakin is a virgin birth? F’real?) they were, without fail, ahead of the curve on putting women in positions of authority, and letting them engage directly in the action of the film.
What’s more important is that while there may not have been as many women buying Timothy Zahn novels, and maybe there weren’t any girls in the West End Games Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game campaign you played in, women have always liked Star Wars. Movies don’t make the kind of money Star Wars has made without some of that money coming from the lady half of the population.
I’m not really writing this to talk about Star Wars though, that’s just the recent thing that came up that brought all of this back to the surface. I’m getting to my point, but to get there, let’s talk about the CW.