Women have always been a key part of Star Wars‘ mythos, but to hear the way some people reacted to The Last Jedi, you’d think that they feel Star Wars would be better off without any female characters at all. The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has identified their real issue.
While many fans have certainly been divided over The Last Jedi, by now everyone has heard those overzealous critics whose complaints revolve almost exclusively about certain elements of the film that relate specifically to women: Why does Leia suddenly use the Force to fly through space? How can Rey possibly be Force-sensitive if her parents aren’t Skywalkers? Why wouldn’t Holdo listen to Poe, her subordinate whose recklessness had just resulted in the deaths of many of their allies? Abrams has heard these questions too, and in an interview with Indiewire, the Episode IX director got right down to the business of calling these Star Wars fans out for their thinly veiled sexism:
Star Wars is a big galaxy, and you can sort of find almost anything you want to in Star Wars. If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in Star Wars. You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did [Star Wars: A New Hope] and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough.
Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being critical of a film franchise that you love, there’s a marked difference between being critical in a thoughtful way and raging simply because the heroes in the latest movie are portrayed by people with two X chromosomes. If you’ve bones to pick with The Last Jedi, that’s perfectly fine and actually a good thing – critical thinking is good! But if all of your issues focus solely on women having power in a galaxy far, far, away… maybe try critically thinking about why you have these problems.