Saturday, December 5, 2015

New Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens) and Feminism

The new Star Wars movie, Star Wars - The Force Awakens, is coming out this december. Some of the stuff in the movie are cool and all that, but only in a mass phenomenon as Star Wars you can see so clearly how things have changed in (pop) culture in the last few decades. 

Some things remain the same. We have to same imagery of nazism in the what is now called "the First Order", the powerful military force that probably replaced the Empire defeated in the trilogy. We have the same "bips" and "bops" of robots everywhere. We can see the same deserts and aliens all around. 

Some things are new. The protagonists of this are very representative of the culture nowadays. First we have Finn, which is black. And there´s nothing wrong with that, all I´m saying is that it is very different comparing with the cast we had all over Star Wars ever. The original trilogy had Lando Calrissian, but he was a secondary character, important, obviously, though he was a minor character. 

But this "change" is not very important. 

The one that gets me most is the girl, Rey. 

Let´s recap. In the first trilogy, we had Leia Organa, who was a princess (stereotype), and she didn't do much stuff besides "princess-y" stuff in the first movie. She was there with an obvious reason. To be rescued, to be sought for. That was THE whole goal of the first movie. To rescue the princess.

The main heroes, were all male, including the droids (you just know R2-D2 would be a male as well, even though in the English language we would use the pronoun "it" to refer to a robot - not the same in Portuguese, in which we use the "male" gender to refer to the robot, but I digress). 

Of course, Leia Organa is a bit more (or tries to be), than a "mere" princess. She is feisty, she is brave, she can take care of herself, during some parts of the movies. Good. Feminism was a movement that was transforming social relations since the 60's, possibily before. And the movie came out in 1977, almost 20 years after the beginning of the first waves. Still we can definitely see that Princess Leia was very much a princess, with a definite role - be rescued by the heroes, and be desired, and possibly ending up with one of the two main male characters. That´s it. 

Even though she tried to demonstrate that she was a powerful girl, she even ends up as a sex slave of Jabba the Hutt, in the third movie, Return of the Jedi, which have scenes that, even though they are not explicit in any way, we may not ever see in another movie of this politically correct era ever again. 

The second trilogy began in 1999, and it was already a bit different. We had a lot more of diversity in the roles, and a more powerful feminist character, even though, for the most part, she was still very much, another princess, with a very definite role, which was to be rescued, protected, and to be desired by the male protagonist, in this case, Anakin Skywalker. 

In this third trilogy, we have a girl who IS the protagonist, with maybe exchanging places with Finn between protagonist and deuteragonist for parts of the movie. She doesn't appear to have force powers or to be a Jedi, which are the crowning protagonists of the Star Wars sagas, but she is very much a protagonist. Her character is not a princess to be rescued anymore, she gets prominence in the trailers and she is fighting side by side with the main characters, even though she is not brandishing a lightsaber as of yet. 

She is definitely a female character of this day and age, where women refuse to be the prize of the male protagonists only. They want to be side by side to them, not being sought after or being rescued. Women nowadays demand that. Mothers out there demand that. They want to show this to their daughters. And on and on. Take a look at another Disney blockbuster of last year, Frozen. Frozen was made entirely to women. The male characters in that movie are all of them a bunch of caricatures, from the buff, funny, gross and stupid, to the coward, to the villain. None of them are good or valuable, with maybe the exception of the father of the two girls (girls and their father complex, go figure). The movie is entirely focused to women. There´s no lion king here, there´s no lovable thief who ends up saving the day. No, the movie is entirely an ode to women and feminism.

And this goes to this year's SW as well. Girls refuse in this culture to be seen as prizes, even though they clearly still are. Unless her character is extremely unnappealing, boys will still be looking at the main protagonist desiring her, and she will still be sought after to some degree by either a character or the audience. 

It´s like women suddenly decided that they don't want to be seen as women anymore, which is kinda ludicrous to me, and one of the reasons I find this all pretty damn stupid. 

Whether you agree with the way things are going or not, thing is, this is how they are now. The world has changed indeed. 

19 comments:

  1. While movies that take political correctness to an extreme might be kind of stupid, I don't see why feminism, or anyone seeing characters in a different light then "traditional" roles would be a bad thing from the perspective of an anti-natalist.

    As a female, I see feminism as a crucial part of anti-natalism becoming more mainstream. Although I live in the United States and abortion is technically legal here, conservative politicians are constantly pushing a pro-natal agenda - like trying to shut down affordable reproductive health clinics that help the poor pay for contraception and access to abortion procedures. They are very Christian and against feminism, because they want to return to the days where women were subservient and just used for childbearing. Feminists see themselves as being more then only wives and mothers, although unfortunately some still have kids, they believe that women should take an active role in their own lives instead of being victims or just for making babies.

    I've never seen Star Wars, and probably never will (not even the new ones), and would also avoid any Disney films, so yeah these changing narratives might be absurd forms of entertainment from what they used to be...and maybe it's not fun to see your favorite films distorted as the political landscape changes. But my main point is that feminists should not be seen as enemies, but as allies of anti-natalism.

    /Long time lurker of this blog, first time commenter.

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    1. Feminism encourages and enables women to have lots of children out of wedlock, because thanks to feminism women can now force the taxpayer and/or the estranged father pay the child support bills, and the women then spend the money on themselves; which is why almost one half of children in America are now born to single mothers.

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    2. Yeah. Number of women raising kids alone is through the roof. Even in Brazil. They don´t need the man, they take the sperm, take some money, and dump his ass. Horrible.

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    3. Also, feminists are opposed to male contraception, and heavily support female contraceptive fraud (forced fatherhood).

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    4. Just as the issue of abortion in the contemporary United States has very little to do with pregnancy and everything to do with larger political alignments – so the question of feminism in modern America has very little to do with women and everything to do with liberal alliances. The goal is not, as the Anonymous commenter states, a matter of “poor pay[ing] for contraception” – as much as gaining access to enhanced tax revenue in order to pay for all this “access.”

      Antinatalism will only remain viable if the philosophy remains distinctively and decisively independent from any larger societal movement.

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  2. Hello, and thank you for commenting, and being a long time reader/lurker.

    I´m going to comment on some points of your comment with the intention of understanding more about it.

    "While movies that take political correctness to an extreme might be kind of stupid, I don't see why feminism, or anyone seeing characters in a different light then "traditional" roles would be a bad thing from the perspective of an anti-natalist. "

    Fair point.

    "As a female, I see feminism as a crucial part of anti-natalism becoming more mainstream."

    Yeah? How so?

    "like trying to shut down affordable reproductive health clinics that help the poor pay for contraception and access to abortion procedures."

    Technically, being anti-natalist does not exactly mean you are in favor of all kinds of abortions right out of the bat.

    "They are very Christian and against feminism, ... being victims or just for making babies."

    Ok, feminism may have liberated the women out of the subservient role they used to have before. But feminism as a philosophy is much more than just this. It has more consequences, to people, society, etc, than just saying "women can choose to not have kids".

    "I've never seen Star Wars, and probably never will (not even the new ones), and would also avoid any Disney films,"

    The fact that you are not watching those movies is very good for you, but they are a mass phenomenon. They will form the basis and opinion of a lot of people, like the Frozen movie did with children of 4-5 years and beyond.

    "But my main point is that feminists should not be seen as enemies, but as allies of anti-natalism."

    In general, philosophies that have "radical" or edgy views should be in principle considered allies to AN, but I have some doubts as for feminism.

    But please, if you or anyone wants to make a case for it, go ahead.

    Thank you again for commenting.

    Many cheers.

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    1. “[…] but I have some doubts as for feminism. But please, if you or anyone wants to make a case for it, go ahead.

      Even better, if you want to decide it for yourself (and settle those doubts, too), then you have to be unaffected by women's approval and disapproval. Then you will be in a position to think fearlessly about what you can observe, and come to a certain conclusion. I used to have doubts about feminism, too, yet I always sided with it automatically and unthinkingly, because I always sided with women automatically and unthinkingly in order to be accepted by them. Not anymore.

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    2. Hello Zoidberg,

      No, I don't side automatically with women. They've shown me enough nastiness so I know they are not the "superior" sex. What I meant was a philosophical case.

      I only admire them "a priori" in physical beauty, that´s all.

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  3. I don't automatically associate AN with Feminism or any other isms. Most of the latter are pro-choice, which is fine by me, but that shouldn't be confused with anti-life, which is what AN is all about. People support abortion etc because of the autonomy of the individual not the potential suffering of the potential person.

    As for movies, it would be interesting to see if they would sell with downright ugly people in the lead roles, but given that only good looking people appear in movies it'll never happen.

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  4. If there´s one thing life thought me is to be very wary of women. Most of them, I don't trust. And most of them I don't even like. There are exceptions to this rule. It goes for men as well, but women... there´s something about them that never seemed quite right to me. Like they are always measuring me, my social value, and things like that, to know if they should talk to me or not. So there goes my personal suspicion of 'feminism'.

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    1. Your suspicion is well grounded. Women are only interested in what you can do for them. If you can't serve them in any way, they cut you dead.

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    2. I´ve passed though a lot in life to know about this.

      My ex of 5 years left me for something like this. So yeah, there´s no 'love', actually. It´s all a sham.

      Kudos Zoid

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  5. In the mid 1970's in the US, there was a radio show on the CBS radio network called The CBS Radio Mystery Theater. It came on about midnight and lasted an hour. It's episodes were usually suspense and sometimes supernatural themed. I remember one episode in which a man discovers a vast anti-male feminist conspiracy. I can't imagine anything like that that could be made for a long time now.

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    Replies
    1. Long time no see. I know about Mystery Theater but never heard an episode.

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  6. Dear Meteorist,
    the sad fact is that both women and men are slaves. Nothing can change that. Raul

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    1. Yes. But in regards to the relationship between the sexes, men are being beaten to the ground. They are even more slaves than they are, in this sense.

      Thanks for commenting, Raul

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  7. It does seem to me there's a cultural shift as well. Feminism is well and truly in the mainstream, with a lot of different results. Essentially, however, feminism as an over-riding philosophy, instead of a practical application, is a utopian project, like anti-natalism, and will enjoy all the ultimate "success" utopian projects have in the past.

    We're seeing it now. Feminists who obsess themselves with pop "culture" will make a bigger deal out of a Star Wars movie than actual rape. They'll want the "diversity" score to be as equal as possible, regardless of context in any movie or other pop product. As if it meant anything. Then you'll still have your old-school "radical" feminists who want to re-create the world in their own image like every other utopian. They'll be less interested in diversity ratings than "abolishing gender". Then you've got your so-called "choice feminists" who just like to put the word "feminist" onto whatever it is they're into, the way punks used to put the word "punk" on whatever little obsession they used to have ("bike punks", "skater punks", etc.). It's that petty.
    Meanwhile - rape, slavery, abuse, oppression and outright murder goes on.

    As for feminism and anti-natalism - I can see a connection but, as mentioned, feminism is too big and fractious. If anti-natalism became bigger and more mainstream, the same thing would happen - you'd get competing factions all over the place.

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    1. Mine faction would be one that said "I don´t give a damn about feminism".

      ;)

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