Thursday, May 01, 2014
Amanda Marcotte, as well as many other well-intentioned female writers around the interwebs, has written an article bemoaning the fact that J.J. Abrams/Disney's new Star Wars trilogy apparently won't be adding new female characters to the mix.
Amanda quotes one of the other complainers: "Are we seriously still pretending that the universe is comprised almost entirely of men (and mostly white men at that)? Mythic tales are supposed to open up possibilities, not shut them down."
I wonder if any of these women have actually watched Star Wars.
The lack of women in the Star Wars universe is, arguably, the crisis that drives much of the action in the movies. It isn't just some happenstance of George Lucas' sexist mind. It's the result of a universe in which cloning technology, rampant violence and religious extremism has thrown life seriously out of balance--it's made women unnecessary.
Cloning means that no longer is a female womb necessary for reproduction. There are large swaths of planets, like the desert on Tatoonie, where women can't go out alone in fear they will be captured, enslaved, and raped by Sand People. And it's clear that however benevolent the Jedi forces may be, their views are decidedly paternalistic--to their detriment (Lucas doesn't shy away from showing that the Jedi council is far from as wise as they claim to be. Heck, they preach celibacy!) The society of Star Wars is corrupt and on the verge of extinction, soon to be replaced by nothing but droids and clones-- the lack of women is a major contributing factor.
When Princess Leia uses a droid to send her desperate message, "Help me Obi Won Kenobi, you're our only hope," the word "our" is not only referring to the rebel cause. It's referring to life in the galaxy. The dark side that has infected the universe is not a side favorable to life--it's a side that develops planet-sized weapons of mass destruction.
To wit: what causes Anakin Skywalker to turn to the dark side and nearly bring about the destruction of all good in the universe? The deaths of the women he loves--first his mother, and then Queen Amedala.
And how do the rebels begin to turn the tide? Well, what transforms Han Solo, a faithless and ruthless smuggler (he shot Greedo first), into the hero of the rebel cause? The love of Princess Leia. Perhaps no scene better encapsulates the true battle at the heart of Star Wars than the one in which Leia, dressed as a slave girl, chokes that fat slob Joba the Hutt with her chains. Only by re-establishing women as beings with equal power, can the corruption and filth of this universe be cleansed (and that is not a housewife joke).
The end of Return of the Jedi does not, as some of the characters believe, restore balance to the force. The evil army is defeated, but life will take a longer time to balance out again. I can only assume the next three chapters will slowly build back toward this balance. After all, who is the new female character J.J. Abrams and Co. have added? A hero belonging to the next generation. None other than Han Solo and Princess Leia's daughter-- not a son, I should point out.
So when you read about women complaining about no women in Star Wars, ask yourself whether the movie would make any sense if it did have an equal number of women. There's just no way a gender-balanced universe allows something like Jar Jar Binks to exist.