Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Reel Opinion: STAR WARS for All.

STAR WARS fandom has been sadly divided over the last five years; not so much over the quality of product, but for the growing role of women in the franchise. Earlier this week, conservative podcast host Ben Shapiro went all cave-man when he complained about STAR WARS having too many women heroes; calling the franchise a “a little boy’s property” and being tainted by SJW’s (social justice warriors). 

Shapiro’s me-Tarzan-you-Jane attitude reflects that of a vocal minority in STAR WARS fandom that has had their knickers in a twist over the presence of women who aren’t damsels in distress. When Disney re-launched STAR WARS in 2015, new Jedi hero Rey (Daisy Ridley) was introduced, and the spin-off film ROGUE ONE (2016), brought us Jyn (Felicity Jones). These new central characters brought a freshness to STAR WARS and immediately inspired a new generation of women, and young girls…to embrace STAR WARS, and in a bigger picture, women’s role in cinema. 

While Rey, Jyn, and other supporting female characters have mostly been embraced by fans, that vocal minority, with “men” like Shapiro as their mouthpiece, have made their insecurities known. Over the last few years, STAR WARS cast members such as Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran have been driven off social media due to vicious attacks. It’s an epidemic of over-sensitive “bros” who just can’t handle girls in their treehouse. It’s ironic, as they are usually the first ones to attack others for being easily triggered. They see the growing presence of women in STAR WARS and in other action films as an attack on “guy stuff”, when the only risk to modern manliness are those hyper-panicked bros who lose their minds when a woman shows up in their movies. 

Shapiro and his cave-men are certainly entitled to their opinions, but they are forgetting what STAR WARS was all about in the first place. Since day one, the STAR WARS galaxy has been populated by diverse characters working together; humans, men, women, aliens, and robots working side-by-side towards common goals. This blogger was there in 1977 when it all started, and I recall that while every boy was a Luke, every girl was a Princess Leia. And Leia, as wonderfully played by the late, great Carrie Fisher…was never a total damsel in distress. She fired guns, spat insults at the villains, commanded the Rebel Alliance, and always maintained the beacon of hope for the galaxy. What Leia did in 1977 paved the way for Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) in the Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005), and eventually Rey and Jyn. 

This problem of the bros rebelling against characters that don’t look like themselves is not limited to STAR WARS or to women. This same gaggle of apes have staged the same attacks against Marvel characters Captain Marvel and Black Panther. They can call it too much social justice, but ask them what’s wrong with social justice for all and they’ll cower from the question for fear of their bigotry being exposed. There was a time when geeks used to celebrate the marginalized, as their favorite sci-fi properties STAR WARS, STAR TREK, and superheroes were always ahead of the curve. Today it’s sadly attacked for no good reason. When STAR WARS was first released over 40 years ago, it wasn’t meant just for white males; if it did, it would not have the presence that it has had in every household in the world for the last four decades. Over the years this Blogger has taken great joy in seeing his little sister, niece, and fiancée be inspired by STAR WARS, and that is a joy Shapiro and his apes will never take part in…because they don’t deserve to. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

A few rules:
1. Personal attacks not tolerated.
2. Haters welcome, if you can justify it.
3. Swearing is goddamn OK.