Sex/Gender roles subtext in Star Wars VII (3100 words)
I only saw the movie once, and not in its original version so I might not remember things properly but the whole film has a sex subtext, like Mad Max IV this year, and I’m going to take a look at it.
--- And why not doing Mad Max IV first actually ? It seems that today’s blockbusters deal a lot about gender roles. Many people said that there wasn’t a plot or a story in Mad Max IV. I disagree.
It is the story of a woman, Furiosa who is “married” to a patriarch ”Immortan Joe.” He is a godlike figure like husbands are supposed to be in the catholic religion. Your husband is your god figure on earth. So, Immortan Joe is such an asshole that slowly, Furiosa realises that she has to become an autonomous individual (Or maybe she's just jealous of the women he prefers to her as sex partners).
Her metal arm is her story. She was deprived of the phallus and now has recovered one but it is inhuman, it is excessive and artificial. She is inhumanly strong because she was abused (or betrayed).
One day, she just decides to stop following the path that is indicated by Immortan Joe. Literally and metaphorically. Where is she headed ? To a world without men. Yeah, she becomes a radical feminist. On her way there, the pregnant woman dies, why ? Because without men, no future. And Max, the neutral man, is first endangered, gagged and rejected by all sides. When she arrives in the land of radical feminism, there is nothing. It’s a desert, and the women failed to achieve anything good on their own.
Furiosa is so determined to flee from Joe, from patriarchy, that she is ready to take a huge risk to carry on. Thankfully, Max opens her eyes: there’s nothing at the end of the road of fury. So, they come back, but at one condition, the situation has to change. The patriarch needs to be destroyed and to die.
So he does, and Furiosa becomes the new matriarch and Max leaves because he does not believe in hierarchy.
The film depicts what is happening to gender roles nowadays. ---
Same thing with “Star Wars VII: the force awakens in your pants.”
The Empire is the incarnation of a gender role, it is masculinity. It is the most radical patriarchy you can find. Its battle cruisers are phallus so huge that they need to fly into space, and not only are they huge but they are mechanical, like the terminator (another representation of extreme manliness of the 80s), they are terminators’ giant penises and the Deathstar is a uterus/ovary that, impregnated by the empire's ship, gives birth to death, but that self-destruct when impregnated by the fastest sperm/millenium falcon. The Empire is manliness gone a lot to far.
Who fought the Empire in the original trilogy ? Leïa, the chief of the resistance, the female gender gone too far in her hatred of men. Both sides are gender oriented and extremes.
The “new” episode starts after Leïa’s victory. The Empire has been reduced to ashes and Leïa’s matriarchy was victorious. The problem is, she is allergic to manliness, hence her constant bickering with Han Solo. She loved him but couldn’t stand his slightly macho side, his attitude… damn, I can’t find the words… you know what I mean.
So Han Solo was emasculated by their relationship and fled away. The defeat of the Empire was the defeat of one side of Han Solo’s personality; he took part in the fight but was never entirely on the “good” side. He is a drifter, he didn’t want to take part but had to in the end because the male side was becoming too crazy and dangerous.
He had a kid with Leïa, and what did happen ? She emasculated him just like she emasculated his father. Kylo Ren was raised without any idea of how to be a man.
Enters Rey, Ray, “light.” How charming. She is a little princess. Poor but rich because incredibly pretty for her condition. An a-sexual Disney Princess. She lives in her own world, built on the giant ruins of the fallen patriarchy. She knows manhood used to be impressive and strong, but all that she sees of it is the disgusting petty monster who is reluctant to give her her food rations. He has no charisma, no appeal, nothing. He is just the capitalist fraud. Why? Because he knows she will never look at him. That monster is what men become when you make them feel like shit, unwelcome, undesirable and ashamed of what they are (we're in world in which the empire has been eradicated, not overcome ideologically). So, Rey lives her lonely autonomous life of adventurer who looks for objects in beautiful landscapes which is women’s fantasy of returning to a time in which they had no sexuality: this fetishist humility, harmlessness, invisibility, practicality and littleness: Rey is a child.
edit: now that I've seen the killing joke, i know that scavenger hunts means masturbation. So, Rey is aroused by the fallen empire. She is still not mature sexually but not exactly a child either.
And Finn is too. He too is entering maturity but is a child when everything starts. Both are virgins. It is his first mission. “Maturity” here means, finding his sexual orientation and who he is. First thing first, he is exposed to the older type of manliness, the Empire, and finds out pretty quickly that it’s not for him (his blackness = he is a minority, an exception). Traumatized by this absurd violence and expression of domination and authority, he becomes disoriented and starts wondering if he is a “real man.” There, he comes across Po, a product of Leïa’s ideology who didn’t witness what she did to Han Solo and still believes in her. It’s funny because in screenjunkies’ video, they say that Po is the cliché badass character. Well that’s cool that badassery should be attributed to a gay man. (Po could not “resist” Kylo Ren.)
Finn literally asks for a road to follow. He is sexually disoriented, he asks for “a pilot.” Their escape, the shootings and destruction of stuff is Finn experimenting and realising he is not homosexual. He fails at shooting a starship, he cannot hum… blow his load. Sorry. Isn’t there a famous joke about being cocky in the first trilogy ? I’m sure it’s also about gender roles. Po is rejected and disappears. But leaves his vest you know, in case his girlfriend is cold. How cute.
Finn spots Rey when she is attacked and witnesses how “autonomous” she is. But her autonomy lies on her lack of consideration for men (And god is it relevent today to talk about women's lack of consideration for men). She has the upper hand because she has absolutely no consideration for the opposite sex and beat the crap out of everybody without a blink of an eye. Finn ends up getting his ass kicked when he actually was approaching her to help her. When he grabs her by the hand, she takes it as something infantilizing (but they both are children), something that suggests that she is inferior, she shouts “I know how to run,” until Finn saves her life by taking her hand again. Thank god, he’s got enough balls not to listen to her when she is being idiotic (but this, she won’t notice because it’s not badass). Without this symbolic gesture between Finn and her, she’d be dead fifteen minutes after the beginning of the film.
They quickly realise that they are incredibly complementary (in the millennium falcon). She has the phallus, he is scared of it. The second spaceship chase is a parallel with the first one, sexual experimentation, except that it actually works out. They are compatible, although Rey has to do everything for Finn so that he can hum… you know… enjoy himself… shoot.
Enters Han Solo: the old school manly man but not too much. He likes Rey very quickly because she is so much like Leïa, a strong woman. In Han Solo, Rey discovers a man who actually still has some of that spark. He is not a monster who hates her or a boy who do not yet know who he is or what he wants.
Han becomes a father figure for her (and he also makes Finn realise that you can want not to take side). She wants to be acknowledged sexually by him. And by that I do not mean that she needs to have sex with him, although she would definitely agree and he definitely finds her attractive. And that’s all that is needed. Or is it ? I can’t remember very well.
Then what ? I can’t remember exactly. There is this shitty scene with the monsters in the millennium falcon. Ha yeah, they arrive in Womanland. Rey exclaims “I never saw anything so green. It must be the greenest planet in the universe,” Han Solo is skeptical; he knows it’s not as beautiful as it seems.
Rey used to live in the ruins of patriarchy, a deserted world, now she meets matriarchy. It’s beautiful and full of life. Yeah. And Finn finds Po back. They hug, in a heterosexual manly way but no, Po plays the role of homosexuality on another level. It’s really weird that the film should send this message of “Badass heterosexual men can hug and be touchy and emotional with each other” when Po is homosexuality in the subtext. Anyway, they’re beautiful together and that’s all that matters.
Well, Finn doesn’t and confesses that he is no resistant (I mean by confessing that he is no resistant he is also making a statement on his sexual orientation). So, he isn’t with the first order but he won’t be a resistant either, which takes balls you blind Rey ! He decides not to hide behind a banner he disagrees with but to sink into oblivion were he’ll be left alone TO THINK. As for Rey, she discovers her libido “the force” once Finn has left. She realises that she has urges that she won’t be able to satisfy on her own.
The Empire... First Order attacks and she is captured by Kylo Ren, the guy who rejects the resistance, the guy who rooted for strong phallic (fascist) masculinity. He seems to be the only one to have balls here. What I don’t understand here is that, as far as the sex subtext goes, the force is libido and Rey becomes the girl who perceives sex as Evil and dirty and thus turns to the bad guy (of course she is unconscious when she does so, how convenient) when it comes to have sex because she thinks he is better suited for the role. But how come she has a bad opinion of sex ? it means Han failed then… I thought he had done his job pretty well. Or maybe, truly he is marked by Leïa’s emasculation. Is the resistance metaphorically constituted only of homosexuals and emasculated men ? Seriously ?
Anyway, Finn is confronted to his contradiction. Does he want to save his friend more than he is afraid of the First Order ? Does he want to fuck Rey more than he is traumatized by über-masculinity ? Can she awaken the force in him ? Oh Yes she can.
Oh my god ! Something very… strongly… euh… an idea… damn… you know, I’m reflecting on all this while I’m writing and I was still thinking… “If every man on the resistance is either gay or emasculated, nobody can please women sexually. So what do they do ?” And then, earlier I thought about BB8 and its meaning. Rey likes BB8. Robots are neutral, a-sexual so they can bear a particular meaning. And I thought “OH ! And C3PO is famous for his homosexuality and… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH !” I’m only going to describe and you interpret. Before lonely Leïa appears, before sexually frustrated Leïa appears in front of emasculated Han Solo, she is preceded by gay C3PO with a red arm. What he did with this arm is wrong. Now that I think, she also had sex with Jabbah in the first trilogy. That’s what happens when you despise and reject men and want to be entirely independent from them although you're an heterosexual woman.
Moving on. Rey is interrogated/seduced/raped (failed interrogation/failed rape) by Kylo Ren except that he is no rapist but a nice little guy like Finn; You know, the Stormtrooper he didn’t kill at the beginning of the film because he was seduced by the “bright” side of the force. Kylo Ren is only on the dark side so as to save his penis from his castrating mother. He has sympathy for a guy like Finn. Sadly, this sympathy leads to every bad thing that happens to him in the film. (Seriously, I can’t remember well but I think everything in the film might happen only because Kylo Ren didn’t behave like Darth Vador (kill him) when he saw Finn disobeying).
Rey, who is looking for a “real man” very quickly notices that sorry, he is only learning to be an asshole and is not yet one, when he is angry he only kills computers. I wish I could explain properly why a naïve woman like her thinks that “sexual maturity” in a man is synonym of “being capable of victimizing.” Is it because she sees her sex urges as a crime ? Or the death of her innocence ? She needs a criminal who accepts to become guilty of the crime of finally relieving her of her virginity ? Ho, ok, now that I think, if you make girls value their virginity, the guy who makes them lose it is necessarily a "bad guy." Or even a rapist becomes convenient as he allows you to escape any responsibility on your side.
Anyway. She was ready to let herself be seduced by the dark side, but there too, there is only a little insecure guy (Kylo’s lightsaber has a guard => he lacks confidence) who won’t be able to satisfy her sexually. Dammit ! She escapes and realises Finn was “coming for her.” Wink, wink. He is back on track.
But then, Han Solo commits suicide. Leïa, because she cannot take the responsibility for her mistakes, (or on the contrary because she admits her mistake => not wanting to trust men one bit), asks Han Solo to “bring back [their] son” and gives him what she deprived him of for years: she acknowledges her love of him and her respect. She says they’ve had “excellent moments” when he had only dared “good” AND she let him hug her as if he was the stronger one (Kylo Ren defeated her mysandry then). Han Solo falls for it and accepts to bring back their son. He nearly succeeds, but couldn’t because he is doing Leïa’s job. Kylo Ren fled because his mother is preventing him from growing up and she uses his dad to bring him back, “look, your dad is still incapable of confronting me.” She won’t acknowledge her mistake, just like she deprives Han Solo of the merit he has of having destroyed the deathstar. Unsubmissive Men are shit ! Period.
Leïa accepts to let go for five seconds but makes the mistake of sending Han looking for his son when it should be her the one to do it. She shifts from dealing with everything on her own to delegating a task she shouldn't.
But Kylo Ren misses his father and his mother, obviously, and his experience in the first order isn’t that gratifying. So he is ready to come back, until he sees a reason to remain evil: that super hot girl who is looking for a “real/bad man” to screw. And bam, he kills Han Solo with his “light saber” in front of her eyes and she is aroused. Penetration ! Bloodshed ! (even though there cannot be any blood with lightsabers). He kills HER father to take his place.
Then ridiculous übermasculinity turns homosexual=> Po destroys Starkiller and I don’t remember how everybody ends up fighting in the snow but that happens. First, Kylo Ren shows Finn he has the bigger dick (using Rey’s criteria of fighting better and being the biggest asshole) and then Kylo and Rey have their little party together but they cannot finish. Hum… premature ejaculation on the side of Kylo ? He is not yet ready for Rey. The huge crack between them euh… is that a… I mean… the size of her urges is too big, he cannot satiate her.
Finn wakes up in the friend zone. He does not even wake up now that I think. He lost the fight for Rey. And she goes to Luke.
Throughout the film, Rey is attracted to the dark side: she wants to know about Darth Vader, she grew up surrounded by the past greatness of the empire. And although she ends up with Luke, he is said to be on this island because he tried to train some jedis and failed miserably. So, he is going to train Rey, she is going to turn to the dark side with Kylo Ren and Finn is gonna have to show her that he is the “real man.” And also, she'll learn that she is Han Solo's hidden daughter that he had with a more bearable woman than Leïa, and that Kylo Ren is thus her brother.
"I AM YOUR BROTHER !"
"NO, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE !"
"LOOK INTO YOUR HEART ! WE CANNOT HAVE SEX TOGETHER, IT IS TABOO IN OUR SOCIETY !"
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO, I'M GONNA HAVE TO GO BACK TO FIIIIIIIIINN ! BUT HE'S LIKE A BROTHER TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ! WHAT KIND OF SITUATION IS THAAAAAAAT ?"
"WELL, I DON'T THINK THAT'S HOW HE FEELS ABOUT YOU ! SEE YA REY !"
"SEE YA KYLOOOOOOOOO !"
The whole story is pretty much the story of gender roles from the 1980s to today. The problem I have is that there is no truly positive female character. Yeah, everybody is focussed on “strong female” to say the film is feminist, but I’m not looking at that. Our obsession with “strong” female leads like Kiddo in Kill Bill (who is a hypocrite and a negative character) is the result of a feminism that thinks patriarchy was right all along and that shaping femininity just like masculinity used to be shaped is what we should do. To put it simply, we want women to be as stupid as the men whom they complain about. And that’s why Rey is drawn towards Darth Vador, his ideology is not questioned, only the fact that it should be restricted to guys. The resistence exists only in reaction to the empire and both are dangerously blind to the damage they cause.
And what bothers me here, is that I have no memory whatsoever of what they did with the female Stormtrooper when it has to be meaningful.
Anyway. Ciao people.