Star Wars, Gendered Sci-Fi, Slave Leia and Reiterating Why I’m Not Stoked for Star Wars

Now here’s a cultural Ouroboros. JJ Abrams is saying “Star Wars was always a boys thing,” because today’s culture is so obsessed with the notion that until the recent diversity push of today, entertainment was hopelessly gendered and probably really racist. Abrams is just saying what he’s being told, and what he’s saying is he’s trying to right the ancient wrongs of sci-fi past. Of course now he’s being dogpiled for suggesting that Star Wars was a ‘boys thing’. Look you guys, don’t you see, he’s just trying to make it less problematic for you!  He’s got a boring looking lady in drab clothes to be the hero who will be teamed up with a non-threatening man who will not make aggressive passes or snark at her!

If we didn’t keep hearing that old sci-fi properties were super sexist and bad, JJ Abrams wouldn’t have felt the need to say something so asinine as “Star Wars: Not Just for Boys Anymore!”

It’s sort of like the whole Slave Leia thing,  about which Lizzy F recently wrote. Slave Leia would not have been a “thing” and no one would even remember it, much less still be discussing its “problematic aspects”, if it weren’t for the countless thousands of women who CHOOSE to wear the costume. Guys, it’s time to admit that 90% of Feminism is telling women that they’re making bad choices and need to be shamed into behaving certain ways (like not dressing up as Slave Leia).

Anyway, the question of new Star Wars came up last night; “who is going to see Star Wars opening weekend?” We just sort of looked away, scratched our heads, and mumbled our “uh… no…”s. There is almost nothing that could have made me excited about new Star Wars (Grand Admiral Thrawn stepping out of shadow onto a Star Destroyer bridge might have done it), and the more I’ve seen the less interested I am. I’m just not interested in the lady with the soccer ball. I don’t know or care who this new villain dude is. I don’t want to see the dashing space pirate and his space princess all old and tired looking. The space battle stuff screams “Remember TIE Fighter and X-Wing? How great they were before Star Wars was shit?” but it’s too late! If this had been the Star Wars movie coming out 15 years ago, I might be excited, but I’m too damn tired of being let down by something I liked as a little kid: my nostalgia budget is exhausted.

The aggravating thing is I think Abrams COULD make a decent pulpy sci-fi movie if he was given free reign over an original property (the biggest problem that the Star Trek movies had was that reboot Kirk was based on pop-culture strawKirk rather than actual Kirk).  I don’t know that it will ever happen, though.  As far as pulpy high octane sci-fi goes, the best we can hope for are slick branded properties like Guardians of the Galaxy.  I just wish someone would say “Why not let Abrams make an answer to Guardians of the Galaxy that Marvel doesn’t own?”  Bogged down in a new Star Wars trilogy, though, we’ll have to look to someone else.  Hell, maybe they’ll let James Gunn do his own big budget SFF thing if GG2 is a hit?

Addendum: In a way, Abrams is right, which is why it’s funny that he’s getting so much flak for it.  He seems to be saying it for the wrong reasons (in that he’s agreeing that it was a problem that needs addressing, so leave it to him), but it’s hard to deny that the story of a boy in search of the father that has been absent from his life resonates with boys in a way that might be different from how it would resonate with girls.  Just because it’s aimed at an audience doesn’t mean it can’t have cross-over appeal; what’s weird is that Abrams thinks the original aim was the problem while the cross-over thinks that the problem is that Abrams was pointing out aim rather than that he thinks the original aim was a problem.  People are all “Hurp durp, somebody forgot to tell me it wasn’t for girls!” instead of “There’s nothing wrong with something being aimed at boys, and even if it is, girls can like it too.  See?  Not a problem!”