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Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

A long time ago in the Milky Way galaxy, Star Wars came out and prominently featured one woman with a lot of lines and… basically no other notable women. In December, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens came out and prominently featured another woman with a lot of lines and… a few other women. There was a crucial difference between the prominent women in each of these movies, though. While Leia in Star Wars was undoubtedly a main character, the movie was centered on her brother, Luke, to the extent that at one point Leia is rescued by men like another princess would be (repeatedly) starting a few years later. The Force Awakens, however, undoubtedly centers on Rey.

That Rey was a major (if not the major) character was not surprising to anybody who followed the early rumors about the movie, but it might have been surprising to anybody who purchased some of the toys that came out before the movie was released. In response to her absence from a Star Wars Monopoly game, Hasbro claimed that it was intended to “avoid spoilers.” Even J. J. Abrams, the movie’s director, called her absence “preposterous,” noting sarcastically that “It doesn’t quite make sense why she wouldn’t be there. She’s somewhat important in the story.” An updated version of the game will feature Rey, but the situation also prompted some to wonder what toys for other movies would look like with their starring women removed. (Saturday Night Live‘s recent sketch about whites receiving awards in movies about blacks is also reminiscent of this.)

Why is this important? Many have praised Rey for being a feminist hero but not a “female hero,” meaning that she gets to do the same things that a male hero would do. (Not surprisingly, there have also been some complaints.) Rey is obviously important to young girls but I also like Mike Adamick’s argument that Rey is the hero that young boys need. As Adamick states, “She’s a role model for the boys in front of me — and the millions like them — who continue to grow up under a steady drip drip drip of societal sexism that says even fictionalized female heroes are unbelievable, let alone that our real life heroes shouldn’t be paid as much as their male counterparts or be in control of their own bodies.” Rey contradicts these ideas and we need more characters like her.

I should note that although Hasbro doesn’t seem to get this, at least the creators of a few commercials for Disney (the company that now owns the Star Wars franchise) and Toys ‘R Us do:

 

I guess that companies hear us most loudly when we speak up for women’s representation with our wallets.


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Last year, Target stopped me from making a huge mistake by labeling which Halloween cards were for boys and which were for girls. This year, though, Target has stated it will move away from gender-based signs for toys and children’s bedding. Because gender differences in Target have been completely obliterated for kids, I worried that adults shopping at Target would have a hard time deciding which Halloween costumes to buy for themselves. What if this year’s “sexy” costumes were gender neutral?! What if there were no “sexy” costumes at all?!

Given these legitimate concerns, you can imagine how relieved I was to see that Target had not failed me after all. Although fans have apparently been concerned for years about the fact that there may not be any female stormtroopers, this confusion was caused by the fact that they wore the same armor as their male counterparts. Target has eliminated the need for confusion by revealing a new stormtrooper uniform that does away with those pesky masks and pants that led people to conclude that they were all men:(Female) StormtrooperGender equality in the Star Wars universe doesn’t stop at the lowly stormtroopers, though. Even the leaders of the Empire have the possibility of being women once we remove all the clothing they’ve been wearing. Darth Vader, for example, might not be a crusty old white man. Maybe Darth Vader is a woman. To find out all we have to do is remove that pesky mask and those damn pants. Ta da! Darth Vader is a sassy woman and she will force choke you (if you’re into that sort of thing)!

(Female) Darth VaderWith stormtroopers and Darth Vader upping the sexiness ante this year, I was disappointed to see that sexiness appears to be reserved for those on the dark side of the force (though I guess it makes sense, since Yoda warned: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to sexiness). Those who want to dress as Princess Leia’s are stuck with this full-length gown, even though she unleashed her sexiness all over Jabba the Hutt’s palace in the movies:(Female, apparently) Princess LeiaHow are we supposed to know she has legs under there? Her lack of sexiness is surely the reason that nobody trusted her with a “sold separately” blaster or lightsaber like the women in the other costumes. Target knows that a hand on your hip doesn’t cut it. You need to show some skin if you want to be taken seriously as a sexy badass!

Keep your head up, Leia. Maybe next year you’ll be able to take on sexy stormtroopers and sexy Darth Vaders in your sexy slave girl costume and they’ll give you more than a finger gun to do it. Until then, use the force, I guess.

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