Women in “Star Wars” should be uplifted, not criticized
February 23, 2022
There is nothing better than seeing a little girl in Walt Disney World fighting off Stormtroopers with her plastic lightsaber because female characters taught her that she has the power to fight for her rebellion.
“Star Wars” fans should recognize the importance of Padme, Rey and Leia’s strengths and what empowering their stories can do for girls everywhere, rather than subjecting them to sexist criticism.
If a fictional woman appears feminine, she is weak, but if she has strength, she is trying too hard, leaving women in a lose-lose situation.
“I’m going to stand behind my opinion of Rey being a Mary Sue […] She doesn’t really have a detailed explanation as to how she got as powerful as she was,” said creator @thtwookieguy in a May 3, 2020 TikTok.
Mary Sue is a term coined by “Star Trek” fanfiction writer Paula Smith in 1973. It describes a female character who is seen as boring for being perfect and lacking flaws, according to dictionary.com.
It’s interesting how there is no male equivalent term for Mary Sue, possibly because men are not critiqued for being too perfect.
Luke Skywalker, the male protagonist from the original trilogy, has a very similar story to Rey.
However, Rey is the only one criticized for being too perfect.
“I’ve certainly never heard anyone […] say that Luke learned too much too quickly […] Luke picks up a lightsaber, hears about the Force, and 26 minutes later he is angry at Han for not believing in it […] no one bats an eye at that,” TV Producer Mike Schur stated in a Dec. 23, 2015 tweet.
Maybe men don’t want to admit a woman can be just as great of a hero as their precious Luke Skywalker.
The beloved Princess Leia does not face as much of the Mary Sue criticism, due to the objectification of her.
This can best be explained by the scenes in “Return of the Jedi” in which Leia is taken as a slave and forced to be Jabba the Hutt’s sexualized doll in a bikini.
This scene became Leia’s legacy among men who have turned this into their sexual fantasy.
By reducing Leia to a sexual object for their fantasies, her character is undermined as a damsel in distress and her power goes unnoticed.
Carrie Fisher described her reaction to this sexualization by stating people should focus on Leia being enslaved and forced to wear that outfit, according to a Dec. 2, 2015 Wall Street Journal article.
As a long-time “Star Wars” fan, I constantly see sexist critiques on social media about female characters.
Take Padme Amidala, for example. Padme is a queen-turned-senator from the prequels, but men’s most common critique of this powerful woman is that she died of a broken heart.
They don’t consider that she was pregnant with twins, was choked by her husband Anakin and was killed during labor by Emperor Palpatine in the prequel “Revenge of the Sith.”
Padme’s death is labeled as a hysterical reaction against every man’s perfect villain, just because Padme is a feminine character.
I think most people would be hysterical if their significant other tried to kill them.
Growing up, people praised Luke Skywalker for his strength, Han Solo for his courage and Obi-Wan Kenobi for his wisdom.
Little girls today deserve strong female characters who exhibit these qualities to look up to as role models.