The Force Awakened My Love of Star Wars

Notice in this official movie poster, the female character isn’t below the male characters for a change, and has a fierce stance, instead of a sexualized position, as we are used to seeing. Photo Credit:

(No spoilers here.)

The new Star Wars movie, the Force Awakens, which has already set records and earned $813 million dollars worldwide, has a fierce female lead and demonstrates how epic movies can be when they utilize a female character fully. Just check out how refreshing, and awesome this movie is! Go see it.

Us ladies are just so used to not seeing women getting to do anything interesting in films, cause it’s so few and far between, when they actually do get to be an integral part of the story, it’s very refreshing. Movies like this, (Mad Max, Fury Road is another great example) are going to set the trend going forward, showing that women are real people, with depth of character and extraordinary talents that make movies epic. These new movies are going to make the films that exclude women look very old fashioned. People are hungry for characters who aren’t just white males, and Star Wars delivered.

Rey, the female lead, has depth of character, tremendous fight in her, a mysterious back story, and she kicks ass and takes names. Also, it passes the simple Bechdel Test, something majority of films amazingly cannot do. (A movie that has more than 2 female characters who have names, who talk to each other, about something besides men.) Throughout the movie, I saw many scenes where at least one woman was present, (also something most movies cannot do) and there were many occasions, where women were an integral part of the story line, not just on the side lines of the story.

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During a scene where the Resistance is fighting back, there is a female character flying one of the planes and shooting at the evil First Order and taking part in discussions with her fellow fighters. Lupita Nyong’o’s character, Maz Kanata, makes me think of Yoda, except even more quirky and interesting. Maz Kanata runs her own business and is a crucial source of information in the story and supplies something very critical to Rey. And a certain female General commands a terrific presence in which she is a confident leader. There were females on the dark side though too, including a robot leader.

Why is all this so important? It is important to have women in roles where they are a part of the story, because, in the real world, women are a part of the story of life too, something that should be reflected in media so girls (and boys) aren’t brought up thinking women can’t, or shouldn’t, do things. It’s amazing what having role models in movies can do. The alternative to having women in movies is to ignore women’s existence in films, something I think we all can agree is not only old fashioned, but a rough deal for everyone involved, particularly women. I was also glad to see a man who is black as a lead role too, changing the dynamic of whiteness, at least a little bit, in the film. He was an integral part of the story as well and emerged as a moral hero from the beginning.There could have been more female characters at the table making decisions in some scenes, but overall this film was wonderfully refreshing and the lead character, Rey, was a ruler of her own destiny and a crucial leader propelling the storyline forward. I am now a huge fan of Star Wars and hope they continue to include epic female leads going forward in the remaining Star Wars films. 


Mad Max: Fury Road is Epic

MM-Main-Poster Wow. What a crazy, kick-ass movie. I absolutely recommend this film for several reasons:

1. Firstly, there is an incredible female protagonist in the forefront, a rarity in movies. Holy shit, it is so refreshing to actually have an interesting female front runner in such a movie! I’m consistently disappointed by the nearly-complete absence of female faces on movie screens, but it looks like that’s starting to change for the better. Charlize Theron plays Furiosa, a powerful hero who drives her own destiny and steers other characters in the direction of the insane plot. (Both puns intended because she drives a semi truck. Har-di-har.)

2. Secondly, the desolate world these mad-characters live in is a stark and horrifying depiction of our obsession with oil and how we are effectively destroying the planet. “Who killed the world” is a phrase heard throughout the film. Water and plants are a rarity in the ravaged wasteland and human suffering is a clear symptom.

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3. Thirdly, it’s just a mind-blowing action film. The way it’s filmed is thrilling. The cars and trucks (and characters) were all created to look vastly unusual, the action never stops and it was all filmed in real life settings in Namibia.

4. Last, and certainly not least, I also recommend the film for how it admonishes the way women are treated in our real world by demonstrating the grotesque treatment of women in the movie as baby-ovens, mere sexual bodies and  milk producers. Director George Miller said, “I can’t help but be a feminist.” And who could help it when feminism means equality and respect? Who wouldn’t want women to be equally represented in films, unless they were blatantly sexist and wanting to keep women in their ‘place’?

One outspoken, small-potatoes opponent of the film decries it saying “It looks like that action guy flick we’ve desperately been waiting for” but instead he calls it “feminist propaganda.” Yeah, cause women finally playing interesting roles for a change is ‘propaganda’. Is he sad because he’s been desperately waiting for yet another guys-action film? Women have been waiting for any interesting film about them. Hollywood gives us nearly nothing. I think this guy is a pretty good representation of  the people who wouldn’t like the film because, waaaaah, women get to do stuff in it.

He calls himself the “Captain of Capitalism” and runs an advisory for “Asshole Consulting.” Well, at least he admits it. Ha. You just can’t make this stuff up. So the film has had some meager push-back from people like him,  for having strong female leads and I just find that argument more and more absurd. Every time a woman gets to play an interesting or complex role and gets to be on camera doing something on her own instead of being a sexual toy for a man, or a token character, all of a sudden it’s like “Woah, woah! Feminism! All these women in movies!” That mentality is just sad. But this movie goes above and beyond being awesome allowing women to be awesome too.

So of course, it passes the Bechdel Test hands down with several female characters acting in valiant and plot-driving ways. Who’da thought women could be entertaining heroes to a diverse set of Americans? Turns out, a lot of people. $109 million dollars opening weekend says a lot of people will pay to see an action movie with not just men being incredible, but women too.

P.S. For those of you ladies who like to dress up as kick-ass women for Halloween, but have trouble finding decent ones in the media, Furiosa is definitely at the top of the list.

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