Home Opinions Star Wars brings in more girl power, and more misogynistic hate

Star Wars brings in more girl power, and more misogynistic hate

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Illustration by: Rachel Bostick | Staff Illustrator

Women around the world are shouting “Hallelujah!” because, for the second time in a row, Star Wars will feature a female lead. However, not everyone is excited about the franchise’s latest heroine.

Last week’s the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story released, and it featured Jyn Erso as the lead character. The embittered misogynists gave ecstatic fans plenty of material to roll our eyes at as articles, tweets and comments almost immediately appeared deriding the character as a “Mary Sue.”

“Mary Sue” refers to a female character who is seemingly perfect and saves the day through such unrealistic abilities to the point where she becomes annoying. This character is often one-dimensional, so this phrase is used as an insult.

The film hasn’t come out yet, so this accusation regarding Jyn Erso is particularly frustrating. Fans have only seen less than two minutes of a teaser trailer, yet some viewers have the audacity to assume, because she’s a woman, she’s going to be dull and uninteresting.

Despite having an ironically similar reaction to the female lead, Rey, in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, misogynistic fans don’t seem to have learned from their mistakes. Rey turned out to be brave, powerful and funny while leading a narrative that made audience members yearn for more.

Rogue One will take place between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The film will chronicle a band of resistance fighters as they unite to steal the Death Star plans. Clearly, Jyn is extremely vital in the narrative, which goes on to affect the series’ most famous characters.

Unhappy fans conveniently fail to understand that strong female characters are vital for the empowerment of women and girls. All too often female characters are dependent on a male protagonist. Women are frequently stuck portraying wives or mothers. Of the highest grossing films in 2014, female protagonists only accounted for 12 percent. Smaller roles do not fare much better, as women encompass merely 30 percent of all speaking parts.

Such poor accessibility to female role models for young girls makes the few available all the more vital. Last year’s The Force Awakens gave us Rey, the empowering fighter and pilot we deserve.

“The character of Rey is a game changer for the little girls around the world who have been disgracefully ignored by the Star Wars empire for decades,” said broadcaster Patricia Karvelas. “The dialogue between her and Han Solo finally provides the feminist punch-the-air moment we’ve all been desperately waiting for.”

This isn’t to say that previous female characters are bad. Leia Organa and Padmé Amidala are great, but their stories heavily involve men and romance. The two women, frankly, lacked the authority many viewers wanted.

Rey, on the other hand, delivers a nice vacation from the constant yank of the over-played, straight relationships Hollywood loves to shove in audiences’ faces. She takes initiative, saves the people around her and builds friendships on her own terms. When Rey gets kidnapped she uses her own strengths to free herself. She doesn’t need her male friends to rescue her because she is never the damsel in distress.

Movies reflect real life. Even franchises that take place “in a galaxy far, far away” reflect our culture and the way we view women. If children only see vulnerable, weak women they will grow up believing those monikers epitomize womanhood.

Through Rey’s influence, the female audience members gain a sense of girl power unprecedented in any previous Star Wars film. Disney stores are filled with Rey costumes, and this Halloween will most certainly be filled with precious little Jakku scavengers.

Jyn will undoubtedly have a similar influence as the two-minute trailer has already made an impact. The first six Star Wars films had male leads—I think men can survive women taking over a few.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, but it’s boring…. They could at least rotate or something…works for my wife and I when we drive to work…. Guys are more visual than women, we envelope ourselves in the character and movies. This is a psychological fact…most of us can’t do this with a female lead. Women are more emotional than visual when zoning onto a movie, and the sex of the character doesn’t matter, just the emotional struggles/interactions.

  2. Girl Power is needed for this next chapter in Star Wars and it is important ! in the book , The Lucas Effect, That it was the art work of Maxfield Parrish that directly inspired the feel and look of Star Wars films, page 282 I own the last documentary film footage and evidence of the Maxfield Parrish estate art studio. This was the place that Parrish built and designed and created that art work. This was an amazing place and I loved filming everything that I could. The studio was sadly destroyed and I filmed the demise trying to capture art history being destroyed.
    Sue Lewin is the model in most of the masterpieces that inspired Lucas and she was the true force behind Parrish yet she went to her grave wrongly titled. Her story must come out and I have been working on this for a long time to surface my research. **Girl power is needed to get the story out on our sister, Sue Lewin the model and the girl . Read about her and our story and it is our theory that Star Wars truly began in 1904 in that art studio of Parrish !! maxfieldparrishmovie.com Please everyone help get this story global, it is important, it is art history and it is Star Wars. The force is here and Sue was a part of it maxfieldparrishmotif.com With Love, Robin Lee

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