So the first trailer for the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped yesterday and after amassing 23 million views in just one day and featuring what looks to be a great performance by Felcity Jones in the lead role you’d think that the internet would be ecstatic to see the franchise continue its return to form. Sadly on the dark side of the internet fake nerd boys rage at ‘feminist propaganda’ in a social network not so far far away.
Let’s get one thing straight, fake nerd boys, this upcoming film and The Force Awakens that preceded it are not ruining your favorite franchise. Would you like a sci-fi film set in the Star Wars universe with a white male protagonist who shows character development throughout a series of interconnected films? GREAT NEWS! I’ve got not three movies for you but six – Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. As a bonus I’ll throw in three more films, albeit with worse dialogue, editing and an overuse of CGI special effects for free – The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. The fact that some male Star Wars fans can be so upset about female characters being given the lead role in a canon film only after the franchise has existed for 38 years is just absurd. Women represent 50% of the population and *GASP*…. GIRLS CAN LIKE SCI-FI TOO!
So I’ve used the words “fake nerd boys” like three times in this article without defining it – my Comp Sci profs would be so mad at me, variables are to be defined at the top! So who exactly am I talking about? Put down your pitchforks and trilbys boys because no, I’m well aware that “not all men” are pedantic assholes who go into a furious rage when a woman is given the lead role. I’m talking about a specific set of “hardcore” Star Wars fans (although the concept could apply to any fandom really) who can probably tell you in meters the size of the Executor Star Destroyer but get basic things about the original trilogy WRONG.
Where da Bothans at? #rogueone
— Rob Franks (@bobfronk) April 9, 2016
This tweet is of course referencing the now meme worthy line from Return of the Jedi spoke by Mon Mothra that “Many Bothans died to bring us this information”, specifically in regards to the second Death Star during the battle of Endor. Geez how could such a hard core fan get a single line of dialogue wrong? We’re all human with a limited ability to recall distant memories and even if we are walking encyclopedias of Star Wars knowledge, we’re talking about minute details from a franchise that has had almost 40 years of development across multiple mediums – books, TV, films, comics and video games just to name a few. Oh and for the record Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope – acting as the film canon gap between the Original Trilogy and the Prequels.
*Rings Buzzer* – That is literally not how systems of oppression and sexism function. First and foremost the dictionary definition of sexism defines it as “ingrained and institutionalized prejudice against or hatred of women;misogyny”. It is not really possible to sexist against a straight white male (protagonist or otherwise) because that definition is the default audience / protagonist / player character in the majority of media. You can be prejudice against males, but you can’t be sexist!
Secondly, the dictionary definition does nothing to discuss systems of oppression, the nature of power dynamic, is heavily rooted in the gender binary and doesn’t take into account how multiple oppressions can become interlocked in a real world scenario. Disney/Lucasfilm casting two female leads in the latest Star Wars films does not equate to sexism (it can’t) AND AGAIN YOU HAVE SIX OTHER MOVIES!
Oh dear, where to begin with this one? I suppose first and foremost trigger warnings for: Sexism, equating woman’s fight for equality with genocide and a whole host of things. This last example is probably the worst fake nerd boy outrage I found in the hundreds of YouTube comments I read while writing this article:
Well first this post instantly becomes discredited in my regular comments reading habits because he opens with equating feminism with the systematic genocide of millions of people during World War II. But looking past that – Feminism is going to kill you? I don’t think the author of this post realizes that feminist care about mens issues as well, and that it is a system of oppression, expectations and toxic masculinity that contribute to a lot of the problems that feminism is trying to combat. Lastly, well this will be my last link in this article because they did a better job than me – but it’s been well covered that Rey from The Force Awakens was not Mary-Sue.
I’ve been a Star Wars fan since a very young age – I can remember watching A New Hope on VHS on my 9th birthday just before its theatrical re-release in the 90s. Star Wars is literally a franchise I’ve been enthralled with since I was a child and I’m so glad a new generation of girls are growing up seeing strong female protagonists in sci-fi films, especially Star Wars. Older fans kept asking “when will [insert LucasFilm or George Lucas or Disney] change things up?” – they have! By allowing the other 50% of the population have a lead character they can relate too. Don’t worry fake nerd boys, no one is taking away your precious Star Wars!