The new Star Wars returns to the beauty of the original trilogy (and the only ones worth mentioning) with the technology of today. The special effects were out of this world. And the story was fun! It was an exciting film, worth a second, third, twelfth viewing…
But it has a flaw (well, several if we want to get scientifically accurate and/or discuss logical fallacies…). Rey is the main character and that is fabulous. She’s fun, smart, kicks ass, and doesn’t depend on a man to protect her. This is a huge step forward for the Star Wars films. Sure, Leia, was tough as nails in the original trilogy but how often after A New Hope did she defer to Han of Luke? Um… all the time! Same with Padme- once Anakin is an adult, it becomes he who makes the decisions.
So it’s nice that little girls have a new hero to look up to – and she doesn’t take crap from anyone.
Where’s the flaw, you may be asking?
Well… even though there’s been huge strides forward with The Force Awakens (did y’all catch the female x-wing pilot?), it still doesn’t pass the Bechdel test.
The Bechdel test is a simple, socially accepted tool the determines if women are strongly represented in a project. It requires a film or television show to meet three basic criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it (2) who talk to each other (3) about something besides a man.
Though there are many women visible in the background, there are really only 4 female characters that could be considered main characters.
- Maz Kanata
Phasma has no contact with any other female characters. Though she is a little bit of a bad ass. (I thought she looked like a classic Cylon, though)
Leia has one scene – and a moment – with Rey, in which they do not speak (besides, “may The Force be with you”) but hug regarding an emotional situation (that has to do with men!).
Maz Kanata speaks with Rey about several topics, however much of their conservation circles around Luke Skywalker. A guy.
And Rey… she speaks briefly with a female background character. And her focus in life is not a boy… Not even when she meets Kylo Ren or chases after Finn (that isn’t because she loves him… though he does hurt her when he reveals he has lied).
The point is – two steps forward, one step back. The Force Awakens has a strong female lead. Who has no relations with other women. The galaxy continues to be run by men, with female characters relegated to the side lines.
Continuing with this flawed idea – Rey was missing (as was every other female character) from the initial toys and merchandise released prior to the film’s release. Recently, Jenna Busch from Legion of Leia, started a hashtag, #WheresRey, when it came out that Hasbro released a new Monopoly without Rey. When questioned, Hasbro said it was due to “not wanting to spoil any key plot points”. However, fans called b*llsh!t as Disney released shots of Rey in their promotional materials. Hasbro later said they would release Rey in a version to be sold later in 2016. And that other Rey toys would come out- the second line of new Star Wars toys was just previewed and Rey is a key piece of it.
The message this sends is that girls are a) less important- the male characters need to be available but not the female, and b) girls don’t buy Star Wars toys. Hold up, wait a minute, um… while I had dolls and other traditionally “girl” toys, I had just as many Star Wars toys as my brother. So… bite me, toy manufacturers.
Also, point of fact – I have an entire room in my house full of action figures. My brother does own not any anymore, so… which one of us is more likely to get new Star Wars toys?
I enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will see it again and again. But they really need to fix this flaw. I want little girls to grow up in a world where they are allowed (and accepted!) to be just as badass as the boys.