…as if hundreds of voices suddenly cried out “misogyny” and will not shut up.
Feminists, not satisfied with finding reasons not to like new media, are finding reasons to dislike media of the past. The original Star Wars trilogy has been getting some attention for its supposed sexism.
The first is the rather obvious target of the slave Leia costume. I came across an infographic which refutes arguments that probably no one has ever made in support of the costume. I won’t reproduce it here because it is quite large and won’t link it because it’s from Tumblr. The basic premise of their issue with Leia’s costume (and the other slave girl’s costume) is that it “implies violence” against them. Never mind that Jabba jerks Leia’s chain and feeds the other slave girl to the rancor, in actual violence against them. No, no, the costumes are the problem. Never mind that them wearing anything else would be utterly nonsensical given the situation. They are slave girls, in the eyes of Jabba and his court they are objects. Their humanity (for lack of better term) is being degraded. To dress them in something tasteful and respectful is to ignore their plight. The film doesn’t have time to dedicate scenes specifically to showing they are in a bad situation. While the criticism of superheroine costumes may be somewhat justified due to their impracticality, the criticism of Leia’s costume is highly misguided. As a slave girl on a desert planet, what else would she be wearing? It’s like criticizing a maid for wearing a maid outfit. Implying violence against them is the entire point.
The other piece of outrage came about when photos of female Rebel pilots surfaced. Cue the outrage that they did not make the final cut. How sexist! Except, let’s think about this for a minute. What happens to every Rebel pilot we see in their fighter? Except Luke and his wingman? Well, they get shot out of the sky. Luke survives because he’s the hero and his wingman survives because Luke tells him something to the tune of “you can’t do any good here” after his fighter is damaged. The fact of the matter is that feminists would not be satisfied if the female pilots had made it to the screen. If they had been among the general pilot population and met the same fate, they would be saying that George Lucas has misogynistic tendencies since he included them only for the purpose of killing them off. If Luke’s wingman has been female and she survived because Luke sent her back to base, they would be saying that Luke is a sexist hero who doesn’t value the contributions of the female pilots.
If either of these criticisms had come to pass I would say “George Lucas seems to hate his fans, female and male alike, but as for the general population I can’t say” and “Luke has protective tendencies towards people regardless of their gender, possibly due to his guilt over the death of his aunt and uncle and exacerbated by the death of Kenobi”, respectively.
So, they wouldn’t be happy regardless of what happened and honestly I’d prefer it if they didn’t give George Lucas ideas for further edits. I’m going to join the chorus of other original trilogy fans and say “Leave Star Wars alone!”.