Star Wars Girls Gone Wild.

Can I ever let it go? Can I just relax and go to a movie without my feminist tendencies standing at alert, arms folded, shooting up warning flares at any mysoginist indiscretion? I only wanted to take my 5 year old son to see the new Star Wars movie for crying out loud. That’s all. What could possibly set me off there? Huh. Well. Practically porn fodder for zit-faced boys everywhere, the outfits on the female characters easily rival – if not actually trump – even the notorious Princess Leia “slave girl” outfit from Return of the Jedi (the same outfit that rocketed numerous 70s children through puberty – including my husband). George Lucas, I’m a big fan and all but… ewww, what are you thinking, you dirty old man?

My brother and I were raised on a very steady diet of Star Wars. At 5 years old, my father took me to see “A New Hope”. Since that first film, each of my family members proudly proclaim themselves Star Wars fans. As children, my brother and I used to sit and listen to the “Emprire Strikes Back” soundtrack for hours, which incorporated a storyline and direct cuts of dialogue from the film itself. I still have it memorized.

Han Solo: Well Princess, it looks like you managed to keep me here a while longer.
Princess Leia:I had nothing to do with it. General Rieekan thinks it’s dangerous for anyone to leave the system until they’ve activated the energy shield.
Han Solo: That’s a good story. I think you just can’t bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight.
Princess Leia: I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain.
(Chewbacca laughs)
Han Solo: Laugh it up, fuzzball.

Good stuff. And yes, after watching these movies on an endless loop for almost 30 years, the images, music, characters and dialogue are permanently burned into my brain. Call me a Star Wars nerd but no sci-fi movie moment gives me goose bumps quite like seeing the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…”

So, my brother and I took T. to see “The Clone Wars”this weekend. Once in the dark theater, my sweet little boy climbed up and sat down, just barely able to keep the seat from flipping up on itself, craning to see over the monstrous bag of popcorn that he insisted keeping on his lap. I was proud to take him to a Star Wars movie (even if it was a weird cartoon sellout off-shoot of the original versions aimed entirely at merchandising for padowan learners like my son, but that’s another post entirely).

It kicked right off with violence. LOTS of it. Guns, shooting, explosions, clone troopers and battle droids being blasted into oblivion. I shifted in my seat. Get a grip. Boys dig this stuff. Save the anti-violence rhetoric for another time, right? Just chill out and think like a 5 year old. So I did, as best as I could, and laughed along with my son when one of the characters burped.

Enter Ahoska: the first female Jedi main character I have seen in a Star Wars film. Cool, right? She was young and feisty, ready to out-wit her male counterparts and take on the bad guys. Yup, cool… except for the revealing half shirt tightly outlining her enormous chest while exposing a perfectly flat brown belly. Blink. And this young Jedi (clearly the female role model of the film) is supposed to be – what – about 15? 16? What the hell is this about?

So the film goes on. More violence, more explosions, more “so-so” George Lucas dialogue. Oh, another female character enters the plot. And who is this? Ventress, the first female Sith (bad guy) character of all the films. Very cool. Again, I am trying to rally some appreciation for the fact Lucas is attempting to promote more strong female characters. But wait. Uh-oh, Ventress has let her cape fall to the ground. And there goes her skirt. She stands glaring, clutching a gleaming double-sided light saber in her fist. She is bald, with full lips painted in purple lipstick, her enormous chest heaving under her own backless half shirt, with a large gap exposing some crazy blue cleavage. Blink, blink. How is that thing even staying on her? Oh, that’s right, its a cartoon, it’s painted on. Literally. While she and Anakin duked it out, all I could see was frame after frame of cartoon T&A.

Meanwhile, Ahsoka is no longer fighting battles. She has been assigned to care for the baby Hut, a pathetic, stinky, burping kidnap victim. Anakin and Obi-wan, both FULLY clothed males mind you, are kicking battle droid ass while she is left to nag Anikin about getting the baby back because he has a fever. Oh come on! How can I not be annoyed at this point?

Ah, now enters Padme Amidala. I dig Padme. As Queen Amidala, she wore gorgeous outfits. She was powerful, she was a Senator, she held her own in battle, she could even fight while pregnant with twins. George Lucas did a pretty good job with her character. But wait. Oh no. Now she is in some white extraordinarily tight – also painted on – outfit. No cleavage but there are these pockets on her shirt that are arranged just so… to look a bit like the shapes of… nipples.

Did you hear that? That was the sound of my hand smacking my forehead. Or perhaps the sound of this generation’s 14 year old boys rocketing themselves in puberty… so to speak.

Seriously folks. I give up. At that point, my feminist tendancies were up in arms, launching a full blown riot in my conscience. While I dramatically grumbled and shifted in my seat, my brother glanced at me, giving me curious looks. What could possibly be up with his sister? And T. is oblivious. He’s just sitting there. Taking it all in. Just as my brother and I enjoyed the previous films, Star Wars images are being burned onto his enthusiastic Jedi-loving 5 year old brain. Terrific.

Ok, ok. Maybe I do need to lighten the hell up. It’s a movie, right? One could also argue that it’s been made for an older crowd, what with all of the violence and gratuitous T&A. That’s not meant for 5 year olds, that’s meant for 14 year olds. (Clearly.) Uh huh. And that’s why all those Star Wars toys on the market, newly encased in plastic and lined up on the shelves at Toys R Us, are labeled for ages 4 and up? Or that’s why the McDonald’s happy meals have Star Wars bobble heads in them? (Much to my son’s utter joy.)

But, honestly, the Star Wars nerd in me LOVES seeing all the star wars gear out now. I am thrilled that my son knows the inner workings of the dark side of the force. I am proud to hear that he wants to be Luke Skywalker for Halloween (even if Han Solo is sooo much cooler… and a total victim since he never got any back story in any of the prequels… again, that’s for another post).

I just get a serious case of the heebie jeebies when I watch a movie like this one with my son. I am literally witnessing physical standards for women’s bodies being imprinted onto his brain. By a cartoon. By Star Wars. By George Lucas.

So Guess what I’m going to be for Halloween? While I bypass my husbands desperate hopes that I wip together a little slave girl outfit, I’m getting out a white sheet, a black belt, some frosty lip gloss and the cinnamon buns for my hair. I’ll show my son what real Star Wars women are supposed to look like.

Heck yeah. May the force be with me.

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9 Comments

Filed under Boys, Feminist tendancies, Parenting, Star Wars, Teaching kids, Toys

9 responses to “Star Wars Girls Gone Wild.

  1. It’s all for the fanboys – those comic-book-style women couldn’t possibly exist in real life, AND if they did, the guys who draw them would never get anywhere NEAR them.

    Like you said, nice try…good idea, not-so-good execution.

    It just makes me sad that kids today know Star Wars better from those prequels. WE grew up on the real deal :-).

  2. I can totally understand where you’re coming from! Things have changed so much these days that movies and tv shows have to get desperate sometimes to attract the younger generation.

  3. I so agree with you. As my mom would say, “there’s nothing wholesome any more.” We’re in a time warp at my house. My 7-yr old son thinks Simon & Garfunkel are still touring. And our DVDs? Underdog, Little House, the Waltons, Get Smart . . . you get the picture. Sure, I curse and I drink but at least he can think . . . and he sees some good role models on our old-fogey DVDs. Oh, and thanks for using large fonts on your blog. I need them.

  4. wyliekat

    the same outfit that rocketed numerous 70s children through puberty

    Was the term “rocketed” subliminally or deliberately added? Jus’ askin’ . . .

    http://www.wyliekat.com

  5. Florinda – Yeah and my kid will never be a zit-faced fan kid attracted to heaving chests. Never. (Head in hands, groaning at the mere thought.)

    Helene – Just got back from the store where I saw $150 Milleneum Falcon now on the shelves, beckoning little boys with its slick packaging. Boobs, explosions and expensive toys – how can our kids not get sucked in?

    Lawyer Mom – Love that stuff. I am on a mission to get some throw back Muppets for this household. Altho, speaking of throw backs, T. is into Tom and Jerry and I *cringe* at the stuff that goes on there. Newsflash for me: TV and Movies can’t raise my kid. I guess I have to. Sigh. So conversations will be had eventually when appropriate, will continue to look out for good role models too and join you for a little behind the scenes drinking and swearing. 😉

    Wyliekat – LOL, pun wasn’t entirely intended but “rocketed” works on many levels I guess! My subconscious mind has a sense of humor apparently!

  6. I bet you can totally rock some cinnamon buns. I’m with you all the way. This same shit makes me crazy in Disney. Does Pocahontas really need cleavage?

  7. Have your seen a Japanese cartoons? Oh I can’t stand how girls wearing short, short skirt and boobs are so emphasized. I guess sex sells.

  8. Wow, um, I don’t really know what to say. Don’t you think if the Force was really with those women, they wouldn’t need to show off their bodies?

    You totally have to post a picture of yourself dressed as old-school Leia for Halloween!

  9. Well, you summed it up for me with this: “I am literally witnessing physical standards for women’s bodies being imprinted onto his brain.” Isn’t is sad? I find that I keep getting more and more disappointed by Lucas. Good for you, going with the white dress and buns for Halloween!

    BTW, I read your comment on Motherhood Uncensored about the book The Ordinary Princess. I LOVED that book!!! I think you are the first person I’ve heard of who has also read it. In fact, a few years ago I found it in my old stuff and reread it. Just as good. I can’t wait until my little girl is old enough for me to pass that on to her. And maybe any boys I have, too, just to balance out the unrealistic female characters I’m sure will continue to be out there.

    P.S. If you want the back story of Han Solo, A.C. Crispin wrote a trilogy about him which gives his history.

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