The real sexism of Star Wars

I haven’t seen Star Wars The Last Jedi yet.  I didn’t see The Force Awakens in theaters either (the joys of having a toddler).

I figure I will probably get around to seeing The Last Jedi as some point, but the more I read about it, the less I care to.

The Guardian says the movie is “A Force for good: why the Last Jedi is the most triumphantly feminist Star Wars movie yet.”

The New Statesman says “The Last Jedi is the first properly feminist Star Wars.” It goes on to give this warning “Warning: spoilers and deconstruction of the patriarchy ahead.”  Fantastic, that’s exactly what I want to read.

Australian News says “Feminists praise Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Inverse Entertainment goes on to lecture me about Star Wars feminism with:

“Side note: feminism isn’t just about people who identify as women. The film’s main male characters — Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, and Luke Skywalker — were all allowed their own room to grow and change and feel their feelings, which is a subject that more male-focused feminism often looks at. In our world, men are often told time and time again that they’re not allowed to feel emotion; the guys in The Last Jedi were not only allowed to feel emotion but encouraged to, and that’s lovely.”

Ah yes, the “men can’t feel emotion” trope.  I guess Rocky was just about punching people and Saving Private Ryan was and action movie.

What I learned from all these articles (and more) is that hooray Social Justice Feminism and if you don’t like the new Star Wars movies, it’s because you are a sexist neck-beard.

From Wired: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi Will Bother Some People. Good.”  Ah yes, nothing says feminism like “if you don’t like this movie it is because you are a shitty person.”

This movie is going to be insufferable.

Well, from what I saw in The Force Awakens and what I know about The Last Jedi, this movie is completely feminist, in all the worst ways.  The movie is totally sexist, and that makes it terrible.

What sexism am I talking about? The sexism where you can’t really hurt the pretty girl (especially with head shots).

Anakin Skywalker has both arms and both legs cut off in lightsaber battles.  He is also burned alive by lava.

Luke loses a hand to Darth Vader.

Luke cuts off Vader’s hand, bringing the Anakin limb loss count to five.

Mace Windu loses a hand, and Coun Dooku loses both.

Pretty much getting a limb chopped off is a right of passage for a Jedi.

In The Force Awakens, Rey fights Kylo Ren.  Ren is about as bad ass a Sith as we’ve seen so far.  He is the grandson of Vader.  He defeated Luke Skywalker.  He can stop blaster bolts in mid air.

He goes up against Rey, who has had no training and has held a lightsaber once, and he gets slashed in the face and she comes away with all her body parts.

If there is anything to go on from Episodes 1-6, Rey should have come away from that fight in several pieces, to be rebuilt with droid parts in a Rebel ship somewhere.

Instead, because she’s a girl, she doesn’t even get her makeup smeared by Ren.

There will never be any character growth as long as she can defeat any bad guy she comes across because the writers don’t want to take an arm off the pretty girl.

That’s Third Wave Social Justice Feminism in a nutshell.  Hooray women!  Girl power!  Except you can’t hurt the hot chick, because that’s mean…



P.S. Here is why I don’t like the New Trilogy.

Spoilers ahead, BTW.  Oh yeah, and they bred raptors, you’re gonna need a bigger boat, and I’l be your wingman anytime.

They are just giving force powers away at this point.  In the Prequel Trilogy, it is established in Episode 1 that nine-year-old Anakin was too old to start training to be a Jedi, and 25 year old Obi Won was still a Padawan.  Becoming a Jedi took a lifetime of training.  Despite being incredibly powerful, Anakin loses his fight with Obi Won.

In the Original Trilogy, Luke is 18 (old enough to enlist in the Imperial fleet) when he starts training with Obi Won.  Luke never fights Vader in A New Hope.  He goes to Dagobah to train with Yoda, leaves, gets beaten by Vader, then trains some more before fighting Vader a second time.  We don’t know how long that is, but it is long enough to Luke to age visibly between these points and for the second Death Star to get nearly finished, so some time.  It two movies for Luke to be able to take on Vader in a lightsaber battle and not die (and I think Vader taking it easy on Luke because he didn’t want to kill his son).

In the New Trilogy, the actress who plays Rey is 25, so Rey is some time around that age.  She’s never even heard of the Jedi.  She picks up Luke’s lightsaber is some poor man’s Mos Eisley cantina, has a flashback, and BOOM is a super powerful Jedi.

Rey does an amazing force pull and gets a lightsaber away from Ren, slashes him in the face, and beats him in her very first lightsaber battle.  No training, no spending years in seclusion, no character development.  She just about became a Jedi from a box of Cracker Jacks.

17 Replies to “The real sexism of Star Wars”

  1. Rey’s unbelievable victories in Force Awakens also took away the “bad ass scary villian” factor from Ren for me. Vader didn’t lose in individual combat until the very end of Return of the Jedi. Vader was an unstoppable force for almost 3 entire movies…. 4 if you now count Rogue One. Ren lost in his second battle scene. Where’s the build-up to the “ultimate showdown” for the underdog? Hollywood writers suck so much right now.

    1. They do pay it off in the second movie. Kylo is no Vader, and the second movie makes that clear when Snoke berates him for being a Vader fanboi. He’s still very much young, conflicted, and inexperienced.

  2. “There will never be any character growth as long as she can defeat any bad guy she comes across”

    Yup. I was legit angry when she mind-controlled James Bond aboard Starkiller Base.

    Also, I have seen breakdowns which suggest the fight at Bespin is less a fight and more Vader performing a skill examination against Luke. Who does not pass (he fails to block several very basic kata and misses a lot of obvious openings), but shows enough promise, and Vader’s happy one of his kids survived, anyway.

  3. Man I don’t even like the new movies but I think you are off the mark. Rey is supposed to be sure unbridled talent like Anakin and potentially like Luke. Luke may not use the force to kill a few storm troopers with his lightsaber or fight someone with somuch unbridled anger and hated that their power is effectively dimished like Rey did but he easily tops her kill count. Luke uses the force, of which you have already established has little training in or control over, to blow up the death star and kill 750k to one million people and also save the entirety of the rebel alliance and kill the empires #2 in tarkin. Yea maybe he didn’t switch a sword to great effect with no training but I’d argue his untrained actions are order of magnitude more significant that Rey beating kylo (maybe) in a light saber fight with no training.

    I also think if you really analyze the state of things in the new movies you see that women and space hippies are securely in places of power and running the show and things are going absolute shit, so maybe there is girl power messaging but past the surface I don’t think it’s a very convincing feminist argument. A woman is running the new republic and immediately demilatarizes it in the face of ongoing imperial reminent fighting because why? Then to fight it they put in place a resistance force without official government backing for some retarded reason. This force is led another woman who all things considered is doing a good job but still can’t seem to affect a crushing defeat of the first order even after blowing up their system killing super weapon. She also can’t manage to convince the government that they need real money ad a real army to fight the people actively engaged in trying to dismantle their government. Then you have another woman in Rey who is arguably the death of Luke Skywalker and equally ineffectual in doing anything of meaning to turn any tide at this moment. Then you have captain phasma who just shows up to get her ass kicked 27 times and is supposed to be a badass but can’t do anything but loose. Obviously we still have another movie left for stuff to happen but yea I wouldn’t say this is a ringing feminist endorsement of women in power leading effectively and makeing decisive decisions.

    1. Rey’s powers are just completely different than any other jedi we’ve seen. Its just… bad. Luke knew about force mind control, doesnt use it until the 3rd movie. Rey finds out JEDI AS A WHOLE are real on tuesday, force mind controls a guard on friday. Either she got a the-girl-character-must-be-perfect upgrade from the writers/director, or she is the most powerful force user in the entire universe.

      This is the girl who can speak droid (to the first droid we see in her poor space village), who can fly any ship on the lot (even tho, as a poor salvage girl she probably have little to no reason to be allowed in any of them), could diagnose whats wrong with a ship very quickly (like, within a few hours of touching a ship, she didnt even notice a change, just that something was *always* wrong with it), hacked a ship who’s operating system she didnt know while under great stress (to kill those alien bug things), made a 20 or 30 yard shot with a pistol that had no sights despite having never shot it or practiced, used mind control she DIDNT KNOW EXISTED to over power a guard, and finally out dueled a guy who beat up luke.

      She’s either the second coming of Jesus and god gave her some skills in order to survive, or she is a victim of “We must have a strong female character, I know, lets make her perfect and unrealistic in EVERY way!” like the movie version of Hermonie Granger was (who got litterally EVERY line that made Ron an interesting character and demoted 1/3rd of the main characters into comedic side kick, while also got a +15 to her combat skills).

      As for The Last Jedi, it was pretty good. It didn’t focus on Rey 24/7. And it gave a lot of new backstory to Kylo Ren, introduced a new character who was pretty interesting, and only really had one glaring flaw. (Its not that big of a spoiler but if you’re going to be filming in a Casino, a 3 second shot of Lando would have been nice.)

      As for the feminist thing, its understandable that they’d talk about it. But out of the 2 women who were in charge, one was Leia, and the other was a total bitch who could have saved hundreds of lives if she you know, explained to her officers that there was a PLAN beyond run-away-until-we-die. So as usual they probably shot themselves in the foot over it.

      The new Star Wars movies, unlike the old Star Wars movies, not really driven by the Jedi. Rey is pointless character to follow, but Finn, Po, and Kylo are interesting enough to make her scenes worth sitting through.

      1. I must disagree, I think there is less difference between Luke and Anakin and Rey as you think; all characters are equally prodigious in many respects and are capable of things no normal person would be because they are supposed to be gifted.

        So what Luke knew about force mind control because he saw Obi Wan use it but couldn’t use it him self until Return of the Jedi? If I’m not mistaken, Rey experienced the force telepathy and attempted to push that out and use that successfully on a stormtrooper. She was not totally unawares, not just pulling the ability from the crack of her ass.

        Luke is equally a prodigy in many respects. As I noted he explodes the Death Star with his eyes closed using a newly discovered power himself. Luke is an extremely naturally talented pilot who if IIRC Biggs vouches for and the Rebel Alliance just throws a complete stranger into a X Wing armed with the equivalent of nuclear weaponry without asking many questions. Luke also shit talks Wedge saying the exhaust port shot is NBD. His mechanical abilities I can’t expand upon.

        Anakin is similar. A 9 year old kid builds C3PO out of a junkyard and is the only human capable of competing in pod racing at 9 years old because of his latent force abilities. He jumps into a naboo starfighter he has never even seen in his life and successfully destroys a number of droids on the ground with it and a trade federation capital ship.

        The operating system of the ship, miraculous blaster shots, surviving deadly situations with ease, stormtroopers not shooting worth a dman once a main character gets on screen, etc etc happen to all the characters when no red shirt would ever hope to survive the same. I’d chaulk that up to good ol plot armor.

        Story wise, I am disappointed they did not make Rey go evil, that would have been very satisfying. I like Kylo Ren, he has great potential to be a great bad guy imo. The resistance commander not telling anyone anything is some typical rom com shit where no one communicates to facilitate the occurrence of completely implausible and retarded events and interactions. Plus the whole jump the ship into the other ship thing and the chase, that was some Battle Star Galactica and Star Gate shit simultaneously.

        Overall my preliminary rating is 7/10 with no significant butt frustration from it being a blatant remake like the force awakens was. I’m sure once I watch it again and my mind can make even more parallels to 5 and 6, the rating will decrease and butt frustration will increase exponentially.

        1. Oh and just a bit of trivia giggles, if it hasn’t been retconned, the millennium falcon’s computer systems are operated by 3 independent AIs with 3 distinct personalities that cooperate with one another to run the ship. no one knows how it works because it isn’t supposed to and supposedly trying to figure it out is enough to make you legitimately crazy.

          1. Luke used the force, not to explode the Death Star, just to pilot through a trench run, and make a shot without his computer. Anakin did build C3PO but we HAVE seen other protocol droids. It’s completely possible, instead of building from scratch, he just rebuilt a hulk he found in a junk yard, which is likely since he worked in a junk yard. As for the pod racing, I’ll grant you, using force powers at age 9 he had no training with to feel his way through a race is similar to Reys powers. The naboo fighter though? That was 90% R2 engaging things for him and auto piloting software.

            Rey just seems too good at too many things. Luke was planning on joining the Empires flight school because he liked flying, and he praticed shooting rats back home. Which can explain why he can fly, and why he can shoot well, and why if he ads his unused and barely trained force powers to those skills, they become good. He never fixes the Falcon, he isnt a master hacker, he is just a good pilot.

            Anakin grew up in a junk yard fixing stuff for his master, and flying pod racers for his master. That gives him those skills. It explains why he did okay, when adding in latent force powers and the minimal training Quigon and Obi Wan gave him, he managed to take out that trade federation ship.

            Rey grew up salvaging parts. I can see that as a reason why she’s good at fixing things, she would have to know which parts are broke, and which are worth salvaging in order for her to live. It doesn’t explain why she can fly so well, why she can diagnose a problem on non empire or rebellion made ships, or why she can use her force powers to out force power someone who HAS had training.

            I’m not hating on the new stuff, I like them. It’s just as it stands now, Rey has used tons of powers she shouldnt be able to use, just because. With no plot or backstory to give them to her. She has too many skills and not enough reasons for those skills, in my opinion.

            The second movie made her less perfect, which is good, but when it comes down to it, every scene she was in without Kylo Ren with her was a boring scene. Even though those scenes had LUKE MFING SKYWALKER in them.

            I just hope that sometime in the 3rd movie they explain WHY she is so good at force powers she has had no training in. I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but she did some things Luke couldnt do even though he had training from Yoda.

            As it stands, The Last Jedi was easily the best Star Wars movie made in my life time. (The originals predate me) And thats despite the fact that the main Jedi could have been removed and it wouldn’t have changed anything. It’s worth watching for Finn, Po, and the new character who is introduced. And the Special Effects.

            Then again I go to a small town theater where tickets cost 5 dollars. I’d probably be pissed if I paid huge amounts for opening night. Which I didnt. It was 5.50.

            1. I guess Obi Wan’s voice saying use the force right before Luke had to take the shot, causing him to switch off the targeting computer, doesn’t count as using the force then? Re Anakin building C3PO, that is like saying well kids have seen engines before, why isn’t every 9 year old building them from kits or scratch? Regardless of how kitted something is, that is still a complicated task for a 9 year old, probably one not possible for many. How much R2 was doing is arguable, especially since you conceded Anakin uses the force to pod race, why is it now unlikely he is using the force in the Naboo fighter?

              And Rey spends her life salvaging starship wrecks and making things out of nothing and fending for herself in an extremely hostile environment, like Luke and Anakin. She at least has the backstory as to why she would have the skills to be a master hacker in the software and hardware sense. Being a good pilot is a trait of many force attuned, so that is not uncharacteristic of any of the three. I’d also say Anakin does much better than ok for a 9 year competing against adults who literally try to kill him. I’m not convinced that just because Anakin grew up in a certain environment doing certain things makes his incredible accomplishments and feats just meh, literally everything he does is prodigy level because of his force abilities. If that is the case for Anakin, why can it not be the case for someone else?

              I still don’t think the gulf in ability between Anakin and Rey is as stark, maybe more so for Luke because he isn’t the next beast thing since sliced bread by way of the force like Anakin and Rey are supposed to be. Rey is also older and has more time for more experience and street smarts than Anakin, who even though he is an incredible talented prodigy slave, remains a naïve child in the first movie. That is something Rey is not, and possibly why she can push her abilities past latent, background processes working unconsciously, to active usage without much training.

              IMO all of these characters suffer from the plot making them be able to do incredible things, in both the awe inspiring and hard to believe they could do that kind of ways. I just don’t think there is much difference between if a 9 year old with no training and incredible raw talent can do it, why can’t a 20 something with no training and incredible raw talent do the same thing?

              Personally I find Rey’s character a disappointment as she does lack depth IMO. We do not see the struggle like Luke and Anakin had to find his way between light and dark. It occurs to me now after typing that is that maybe what makes her so annoying is that Rey is Lawful good, like a superman boy scout or an annoying paladin that must follow the rules, and thus there is no wavering or faltering for her. That makes her less interesting IMO because it isn’t related.
              I agree on the second movie, they added some depth to Rey but she is still a shallow character IMO for reasons stated above. I still think Adam Driver is the unappreciated actor of this series, stealing the show and playing a brooding conflicted character way better than Hayden Christensen.

              I too hope we get more backstory in 9. Unfortunately Disney will probably go for the trifecta fuckaroo and make it mostly return of the jedi remade. But there is hope once they use the remaining return of the jedi material they will actually do something new or original. My personal theory is Kylo and Rey are brother and sister and there will be some retarded rom com type reason for leia and han not telling them. I’m curious to hear what you think Rey did that Luke did not or could not do?

              IMO Rogue One was probably the best made in my lifetime, the original trilogy predates me as well. Through I need to view the prequals again with a more critical eye to the political sotry. Personally, the only reason I saw the last jedi in theaters after the absolute bullshit of the force awakens and all the retconning is because I saw it for free after attending an hour long free happy hour. I look at movies like this, and I go you wonder why people pirate things, because they don’t want to pay for rehashed horseshit…

  4. I could not believe how many token minorities they weaved throughout the movie. Yes, one of the major characters is Asian, but it was humorous how many minorities were there as extras in the background. It felt very forced and was laughable in comparison to all of the other movies from the series because it was such a major departure. Almost like they had a quota, and to me it came across as belittling because they truly were token skin colors on display.

    Its ironic too because Star Wars is so inter-species, yet they have to get all worked up about how many human minorities were on display.

  5. Okay, just saw “Last Jedi”, and was not disappointed.
    It was much, much more of an ensemble film- Rey was not the Mary Sue who saved the day. And happily, there wasn’t any overt modern sexual politics. No obnoxious “but yer a gurrlll” moments from Poe so he can get righteously slapped down. Kylo is how Anakin should have been acted in the prequels. Benicio del Toto is pretty much awesome in anything, and this is no exception.

    And there’s a whole lot of subverted tropes going on- very much like in “Firefly”. A lot of what you expect to happen, doesn’t, and that’s a very good thing.

    “Force Awakens” irritated me and left me cold. “Last Jedi” was interesting, and I want to see it again.

  6. The people who are touting the awesome feminism of The Last Jedi fail (or refuse) to acknowledge that, without exception, the female characters in this movie are utterly incompetent. Even my beloved Princess Leia, who dresses down and demotes Poe Dameron on the bridge of the Resistance flagship in front of everyone. At a time when the Resistance forces are at an all-time low and morale is failing, Leia criticizes the first pilot to take out a First Order dreadnaught. Regardless that he disobeyed orders, Poe was a hero at that moment, and Leia should have found a way to resolve her disapproval without making the rest of the Resistance aware that obedience is more important to her than results.

    Vice-Admiral Anime-hair, is even worse as a leader, trying to maintain a futile need-to-know secrecy when they’re facing Snoke, who can read minds from halfway across the galaxy. When she needs to show leadership and give confidence to the failing Resistance, she offers only condescension to the point of smugness. I’m surprised she didn’t just pat Poe on the head and say, “Now be quiet and just do what Mommy tells you.” In a militia where a PRINCESS dresses like a soldier, a Vice-Admiral who dresses like an aging debutante doesn’t inspire confidence.

    Rey delivers herself into the hands of her enemies, because she thinks she can reform her bad-boy crush – AFTER seeing him murder his father in cold blood. She begs Luke to teach her about the Force, but ignores everything he tells her. She nearly kills one of the alien caretakers on Acht-to when she cuts through a boulder while practicing with a lightsaber and the rock falls on the woman’s cart. Rey doesn’t even notice that she nearly caused someone’s death with her sudden impulse. In any other Star Wars movie, or any tie-in novel I’ve read in forty years, if you put a lightsaber in someone’s hands, and their first instinct is to destroy something without thinking about the consequences, it’s a clear indication that person is not Jedi material.

    Rose almost gets all of the remaining Resistance fighters killed when she selfishly stops Finn from destroying the battering ram cannon. It’s only because of the timely arrival of Luke and the Millenium Falcon that anyone survives her stupidity.

    And Captain Phasma? Jeez, do I even need to explain what’s wrong with her? She gets jobbed by a JANITOR in this movie!

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