I realize the new Star Wars film is all the rage at this moment, and perhaps it’s heretical to speak against it, but I saw it this week and didn’t like it for what I will admit is one very snarky reason: Disney’s long-established pattern of feminist drivel. We don’t need another billion-dollar blockbuster from Hollywood, but we most definitely need better men than Disney portrays in its films.
Except for the rather flighty (no pun intended) pilot who won the day by destroying the ultra-mega-ginormous death-star, one would be hard pressed to find a heroic man in this movie. Most, if not all, of the male characters are either purely evil, pathetically weak, or just clownish. Supreme Leader Snoke and General Hux are of course incarnations of the devil and Hitler (respectively), and are even presented in strangely occult and Nazi-like settings to emphasize their undiluted evil. The ever-dubious Han Solo gets a light sword through the gut courtesy of his Vader-like apostate son, Kylo Ren, who went to the dark side (for lack of male nurturing maybe?) Great kid. Admittedly, dear old dad made a valiant effort to bring a wayward child back to the light but it may have been the single positive act in Solo’s long career of anti-chivalrous chicanery. Solo is funny, likeable, even mellowing in his old age, but he is not an unambiguously positive male role model.
And are we supposed to see the new Star Wars character Finn as a hero? His first act in the movie is cowardly desertion. Yes, he abandons the dark side, and we give him credit for that, but it’s hardly out of a sense of true moral conviction or a desire for the light. He’s confused and immature; his character is wooden, morose, humorless, and barely able to speak coherent sentences. Once he defects, he establishes a pattern of lying about his true intentions and then flees (again) when called to fight for the truth. His awkward attempts to save the heroine shows how inane he really is because, well, he should know that feminists don’t need saving – certainly not by men! In a fairly predictable turn-around, the worthy gladiatrix saves him from his own incompetence (at least twice in the movie) and by the end, he’s in a coma, with her promising to come back and redeem him by the power of her love.
Even the fabled Luke Skywalker is a disappointing non-entity in this film, appearing only once and with no speaking part. Mute and impotent is a rather fitting characterization of the person Skywalker has become. Because of one major failure in his Jedi training program, he forsakes the battle completely and simply walks away from his responsibility to train future warriors. In fact, he goes off to live in isolation on top of a mountain at the other end of the universe! Hundreds of people in the story and the entire populations of five whole planets lose their lives because Luke abandoned the project of providing fighters whose mission would be precisely to stop that kind of evil. Luke has become a cowardly anti-hero in a ridiculous monk’s outfit.
Love those intrepid male characters in Disney films.
In contrast, the women are all glittering examples of (not feminine but) feminist virtue. First of all, it’s clear that Disney is done with princesses. “Princess” Leia has morphed into General Leia, the Commander-In-Chief of all righteousness. She’s come a long way, baby. As the evil forces are commanded by men, so the holy opposition must be commanded by a woman. Likewise, wisdom is no longer the realm of male sages like Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The “wise” one in this film is an odd but all-seeing female creature named Maz who is so in tune with the universe that she channels the Force even though she is not a Jedi. She absolutely exudes intuitive authority, and to prove it, she has squirreled away the Jedi’s sacred light saber in a holy tabernacle for decades in order to bestow it upon the next savior of the human race who just happens to be – wait for it – female! Interestingly, the statue of Maz over the door of her establishment on her utopic island is almost shockingly Christ-like, standing upright atop the entrance with hands outstretched in the form of a cross. Interesting.
Star Wars’ new heroine, Rey (the Spanish word for “king”), is not a heroine in a classic sense; she’s a warrior hero with female parts. She does everything a man does and does it better. That’s the salient message of feminism, is it not? She’s Australian, not a boring Westerner of course – more mystique there – and we are so privileged to accompany her on a journey of miraculous self-discovery throughout the movie. Everything she does is perfect. To start, she’s pretty, shapely, and athletic with ninja-like litheness. Finn falls in love with her, Solo offers her a job, and she can even work that clever Mind Control trick over those dim-witted storm troopers. Out of her heroic sense of compassion she saves a droid from certain destruction, which, because this droid just happens to be carrying the magical flash drive, means that her generosity eventually saves the entire universe! OMG.
Rey is also the very embodiment of manly resourcefulness. She can fly any aircraft with agility and aplomb, and she even teaches old Han Solo a thing or two about the Millennium Falcon. Early on she defiantly announces, “I can take care of myself,” and of course she can. She extracts herself from numerous rough situations by her quick-witted solutions to the problems created by men. She battles the evil Ren by matching him wit-for-wit and power-for-power. Predictably, she overcomes him in a battle of light sabers and leaves him wounded in the snow because her grasp on the Force is, naturally, much better than his. In the end, she is anointed and commissioned by General Leia to go into uncharted territory to find Luke Skywalker, and the movie concludes with Rey’s holding out the light saber to Luke after having walked the path of enlightenment to the top of his Jedi Nirvana where he has cowered in fear of responsibility all these years. She is the new generation of warrior: I am Jedi hear me roar!
At that point, I nearly tossed my popcorn. I also noticed a strange wind blowing through the theatre; I think it came from Walt Disney spinning in his grave.
I said above that this type of feminist drivel is a “long-established” pattern with Disney. This is not the first time in the past couple decades that we’ve seen the family entertainment giant default to extreme feminist themes; it’s just the most recent example in a long line of movies molded out of a standard feminist template: wicked, pathetic, buffoonish men cede all heroism to wondrously lovely, amazingly talented, and virtuous female characters. Rather than turn this into an extended commentary on Disney, I invite the reader to re-evaluate the plots of The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), The Princess and the Frog (2009), Tangled (2010), Brave (2012), and Frozen (2013), along the lines of this thesis.
More than half a century of feminist indoctrination through movies has given us an emasculated male culture with few public role models of heroic men. Disney’s most recent feminist drivel hasn’t helped reverse that trend.
This article appeared on Pewsitter.com: http://pewsitter.com/view_news_id_224887.php