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Feminization of SW (controversial topic)
 PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:45 pm Reply with quote  
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  Skywalker2B
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As the title says, I think this is a controversial topic (one that would probably get be perma-banned from TF.N boards).

So, I was thinking about this the other day. Has anyone else noticed how, since Kathleen Kennedy took over, they are over compensating for the "Leia is the only female character in SW" complaint? For example:

TFA: main character is Rey, Maz is female, introduce a female stormtrooper as their OIC (Phasma), and, while BB-8 is a droid it's supposedly "female".

R1: main character is Jyn, introduction (well, re-intro) of Mon Mothma as the leader of the Alliance

Rebels: Hera is the "mother" of the group, Sabine and her mother are "leaders" of their clan/mandos. Gov. Pryce ruler of Lothal. Focus on Ahsoka, etc.

The SW ongoing comic introduced more female centric stories/characters.

Several of the new books have female main/lead characters. Even Thrawn was half about Thrawn and half about Pryce.

Now I'm listening to Inferno Squad where the main character is a female, another major character is a female (no spoilers, I'm only a little way into the book). And this book is what the new Battlefront II game's single player missions/story will be based on.

Forces of Destiny.

And TLJ looks like it will be strongly Rey and Leia's story, and add Phasma and the new character that Finn pals around with (I forget her name).

There are probably more examples that I don't recall right now or don't know about to list them. But you get the idea.

I understand the idea of "righting the ship", showing that there are more female characters, important characters, in the SW story. The old EU saw that need and created strong female characters like Mara, Jaina, Tenel Ka, the imperial lady that wore red uniform (again, I forget her name at the moment), Vestara, etc. But it wasn't to the extent that is currently happening. I do actually like and enjoy good strong female characters (I always wanted Leia to be a strong Jedi alongside her brother...and loved Mara). It seems like currently, most of the female characters are the leaders of various groups/organizations. It just, to me, "seems" like over correcting, as if they are steering past "female supported" to "female dominated" stories.

*shrug* IDK, that's just the perception that I'm getting.


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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:14 pm Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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To which my only question is...so what? More strong female characters. We agree this is a good thing.

I'm not sure this is so much a Kathleen Kennedy thing as a 21st century thing.

So again...what's the issue?
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:26 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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I can't say this bothers me. As long as the stories are good, it doesn't matter to me what percentage of characters are male or female.

I sympathize with you in not wanting current political agendas affecting Star Wars, but simply having more female characters isn't an agenda in and of itself. In the latter days of the EU, the male/female ratio in the books was more equal than it was in the films and there wasn't a rift in the fandom over it.

I think that if we take off our culture war glasses (and, by my advice, chuck them in the nearest trash receptacle Razz ), we would find that this really isn't an issue. If these products came out, say 10 years ago, would we still be having this conversation?

EDIT: I changed most of my post from before because I felt like I was rambling and getting off topic.
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:26 pm Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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I honestly find this really important. I'm a dude, it's fine for me because I have a lot of characters to identify with and see as role models. Up until recently the female fans had...well, just Leia. And sort of Padme.

Now they also have Rey and Jyn, and we'll be getting more at some point. It's good for everyone to get a chance to get in on the franchise.

The world is made up of more than just white dudes, having a bit of representation for everyone is a good idea. In particular it works because they aren't drawing attention to it. No one is looking at Jyn and saying "How can you be a good shot, you're a girl?" and such. It's just a strong character. Same with Rey.

If it had tons of attention drawn to it in the film itself I'd be annoyed, but they're handling it very well.
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:42 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Caedus_16 wrote:
In particular it works because they aren't drawing attention to it. No one is looking at Jyn and saying "How can you be a good shot, you're a girl?" and such. It's just a strong character. Same with Rey.

If it had tons of attention drawn to it in the film itself I'd be annoyed, but they're handling it very well.

Exactly. I did find the hand-holding thing in TFA kind of annoying, but apart from that minor moment, it has been handled extremely well. Jyn is one of my favourite characters from the films now.
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Last edited by Reepicheep on Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:39 pm; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:05 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Well I'm certainly enjoying Star Wars so I'm not complaining. Some of my favorite Star Wars characters right now are the women. With TCW, Ahsoka and Ventress were my two favorite characters. And with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, Rey and Jyn are two of my favorite Star Wars film characters. I like them more than I've ever liked Han or Luke as film characters.

I do think Kathleen Kennedy has been pushing for more female presence in Star Wars, and part of that has been accomplished by her putting more female creatives behind the scenes. I think it's a push in the right direction.

And it's not like they're getting carried away with it. We're still getting a Han Solo movie, so it's not like their saying they can't have anymore Star Wars movies with a male lead as the central focus. While the Boba Fett movie got cancelled/side-lined, they did have all intentions of making that movie as well.
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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:10 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Hm. Although this is about Star Wars, it's a social piece and I think it belongs in the Meditation Grove section.

There's no point in being coy, I'll just flat out say that I don't believe that 'increase of women representation as compensation' has been an alternative development of star wars.

The PT had a female lead. The Ewoks movies had a girl as the protagonist and even a female villain in the second one. The Holiday Special had....Bea Arthur Embarassed... The Clone Wars movie introduced Ahsoka as Anakin's padawan. All these were written by George Lucas. So again, I don't see where the supposed divergence lies.

And Star Wars has always been about a team anyway. The only movie that based the central conflict on a woman was Rogue One, and weakly, I would argue.

I was going to post this in the movie thread, but I'll post it here because I think it applies. I don't know if you ever read my posts there 2b, but especially lately I've been giving a lot of feminist and gender critiques. Maybe too much, I admit. My primary mode of film analysis is not feminist, let alone of reality. I'd much rather talk about Existentialism or spirituality or post modernism in film, but I feel like I have to talk about that because Hollywood movies are so formulaic that gender dynamics are the only interelationality between characters that is typically shown. And also because that is something that is much more relatable to our own lives than the Hero's Journey.

I hope that could give an answer to the question about the role of women in SW, or why we should be discussing them.

Finally, although women are 50% of the population, consider that no SW movie is made up for 50% of a female cast. So yeah, one woman and a bunch of dudes is pretty much still the norm.

What I'd like to see is a discussion of anthropoid chauvinism in Star Wars. But we can blame that one on Star Trek.
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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:46 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:



What I'd like to see is a discussion of anthropoid chauvinism in Star Wars. But we can blame that one on Star Trek.


I think you can blame that on the technology not being there to make a good compelling non-anthropomorphic character that looks believable and isn't silly.

The OT had some good non-humanoids, but those puppets worked best when seen for a few seconds or in the background, and would not hold up to a lot of acting.

The PT gave us Watto, who I liked and I thought was well done. But he still had the basic head+2 arms+2 legs body plan.

I'm not convinced we're at the point where we can make a non-humanoid alien out of puppets or CG that looks realistic and believable and not silly.
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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:02 pm Reply with quote  
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  Skywalker2B
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Good points, everyone. I don't have time to properly respond here, so I'll do so later. Just letting you know that I'm reading your comments. Smile


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 PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:33 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Taral-DLOS wrote:
I'm not convinced we're at the point where we can make a non-humanoid alien out of puppets or CG that looks realistic and believable and not silly.


I don't know if we ever could, or more likely would ever actually want to. My sentence was a joke, but it ties into the discussion.

The Otherness, the Alieness of a non human being makes it extremely difficult for a human to form an emotional attachment to it. That's just how we work. Puppers and kitteh are kawai because of neoteny. This is used in movies for visual shorthand, the expression of qualities about a character that can be immediately understood without requiring explanation. Cute = good, mustache twirling = evil.

Scifi and Star Wars is really interesting because people or aliens in the future can watch it and tell exactly what our culture was about. Earth women typically don't have tentacles and green skin, but we can tell this alien is a female because she is feminine coded according to our gender standards.

That is to say that gender is a form of shorthand. That's what I was saying about interrelationality. You can include different genders and races as an easy way to show different character dynamics that we recognize through shorthand, in a way that is a lot harder to do with more complex or especially non physical characteristics. Or it could just be because the PC Police sent out the whambulance.
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 PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:08 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Just off the top of my head, I'd say War For The Planet of the Apes (and the previous two films) did a good job of making me care about ape characters. Valerian had some very important alien characters who I cared about as well. So I think the technology is there. Back in the day, Jar Jar looked fine (the CGI looked great when they showed it). I don't think there is any reason why they couldn't have a Star Wars movie with a CGI alien as the main character.
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:43 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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You felt an emotional connection with Jar Jar? Now I don't really believe that you are a actually a human.
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:57 pm Reply with quote  
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  Skywalker2B
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Just wanted to say again that I don't mind adding more female characters. And, if you go by just the OT, I'd say that more female characters were definitely needed. So, for that part, I applaud LFL on the additional female characters since "just Leia".

A point I tried to make was that a good majority of the new female characters being added are in some sort of leadership position (see dominated comment below), whereas new male characters tend to be in more supporting roles.

One thing to keep in mind, GL said that the target audience for SW was boys around 13-14 years old (or somewhere around those ages). Like it or not, PC or not, boys that age tend to be more interested in strong male characters than strong female characters. My initial point, though I may not have been able to verbalize it very well, was that it seems to me that SW is becoming more female-dominated than male-dominated (note: I don't really like using the word "dominated" here. I think centric or centered would be better, but just not as strong) as if LFL's target audience has shifted from teenage boys to teenage girls. If that is the case, then fine. Or, perhaps they just added teenage girls to their target audience and are attempting to appeal to, to market to both girls and boys? IDK, but to me, if that's the case, it seems like they are leaning more towards the teenage girls side at this time.

Hopefully, these comments clear up a little of my initial thoughts and don't muddy the waters. If you don't have any concern about any of this whatsoever, *shrug* that's fine. I just wanted to write something down that I've been thinking about concerning SW.


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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:46 pm Reply with quote  
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Honestly looking at it as "female-dominated" in a male-gaze world is kind of hard to quantify. Lucas targeted 13-14 year old boys, but Star Wars has been a part of me since before I could form memories. I also know that it makes me giddy that my niece is bored with princesses (much to her daddy's chagrin, he loves that stuff) and prefers lightsabers and Rey. I also love that she had Wonder Woman (she hasn't seen it, but she knows what it is).

There's a great thing happening where women are getting role models like this for the first time and it's not a bad thing. It can't really be seen as "dominated" when the majority of characters are still swaggering, interesting, attractive males.
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:25 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Skywalker2B wrote:
One thing to keep in mind, GL said that the target audience for SW was boys around 13-14 years old (or somewhere around those ages). Like it or not, PC or not, boys that age tend to be more interested in strong male characters than strong female characters.

Maybe, but are they averse to it? I can only speak for myself, but when I was 11-12, one of my favourite TV shows was Atomic Betty (a Canadian cartoon about a girl who fights evil in space) and I loved reading Akiko comics. Both had a female lead and I didn't think twice about it. There are probably more, but those are the ones I immediately think of.
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