A Feminist Review of “Star Wars”


I like Star Wars. I’ve marathoned all six movies and considered dressing up as Leia for Halloween before I realized I couldn’t figure out how to do those buns with my hair. The Mos Eisley Cantina Band song was my ringtone through middle school (I was very popular).

If you haven’t seen it (and dear god, why haven’t you seen it?), Star Wars is an epic hero tale in its purest form, a young boy coming into his own and learning to fight the evils of fear, hate and CGI. There are a ton of ass-kicking dudes who kick ass and fight with lasers and save the day. Here’s the problem: when I said “dudes” in the sentence above, I was not using it in a gender-neutral, Full-House catchphrase way. I meant dudes. With penises. Or alien/robot penises (sometimes they’re not clear about that).

Let’s go through the characters of the holy trinity, shall we? The men, in ascending order of badassery: Ackbar, C3PO, R2-D2, Luke, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi Wan, Han Solo. Bam. 10 right off the top of my head.  And now for the women: Leia. And, um…. Leia. A princess, born into a position of power who gets kidnapped (twice) and needs to be rescued.

sexy, gold-bikini feminism

Above: A convention of all of the women in the galaxy. 100% attendance.

The only other double-x chromosomes in the Lucas universe? The space hookers, and the sex slaves chained to Jabba the Hutt. There’s also the woman who gives the rebels their instructions in Return of the Jedi (Mon Mothma if you’re trying to impress me, and if you knew that, we should probably get dinner), but I don’t think she’s even named in the movies, so Leia is pretty much it. One named woman in the entire galaxy and for the vast majority of the series she’s a hostage.

What type of twisted fantasy world does George Lucas live in where dudes just spend all day whacking their long, cylindrical swords together without any women nearby? Wait. Don’t answer that.

image viavia


  1. What about Amidala though…

  2. Han trio says:

    Hmmm… Padme, schmee. They had significant roles. I think you’re reaching just a bit here. The movies are about war and warriors. Rebels vs oppression. It’s ok that there weren’t a majority if women that fought for the rebellion or the empire.

    You had ringtones in middle school? C’mon way to young to be caught up in feminism.

  3. merrill says:

    What about luke’s aunt on tatooine…Beru Whitesun Lars

  4. Leia, honestly, was the most important character in the entire galaxy, for the rebels. Well, her and Mon Mothma. After the war, Leia plays a KEY role in setting up the new republic. You’re also undermining her role in the battle on Hoth. If you do your research, Leia was probably THE most important character in all of Star Wars history.

    The men are portrayed as the badasses because that’s about all most of them do. Luke, maybe, plays a big role, too, but that’s because he has to reestablish the Jedi Order. But do you know why the men are being portrayed as badasses? Their warriors. Women see roles as commanders, Military tacticians, and Diplomatic geniuses because Women are the thinkers.

    Sexual Dimorphism at work.

  5. I would like to say I knew it was Mon Mothma, and I would definitely love to grab dinner. Cosplay allowed.

    Apart from that, there is definitely a good point made here. What I remember from watching documentaries about the making of the original trilogy is that Lucas borrowed a lot and was influenced a lot by mythological stories and figures. That’s not to say there aren’t empowering female figures in those tales either, but the damsel in the distress mold is something that is prevalent in a good chunk of that kind of folklore. Without meaning to, Lucas might have really traced his story line right along gender lines that were drawn by that same literature.

    Still, he could have done a better job of making women a bit more prevalent, at least in the ORIGINAL trilogy. The prequels see a woman participate in the diplomatic side of Star Wars that Lucas made more of a focus, as well as the good old-fashioned, CGI-laden, “aggressive negotiations” we all came to love :3


  1. […] in turn, reminded folks of how rotten the original series’ gender representation was (see here, here, or my own take […]

  2. […] in turn, reminded folks of how rotten the original series’ gender representation was (see here, here, or my own take […]

  3. […] in turn, reminded folks of how rotten the original series’ gender representation was (see here, here, or my own take […]

  4. […] On the gender dynamic and here. […]

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