Many a pulse was sent aflutter yesterday with the eye-watering Star Wars: Episode VII casting announcement. Abrams' orchestrated the whole thing to a tee with this hit-and-run revelation coming four days before we all expected. It was an announcement geared at dazzling us and it did just that, aside from, regrettably, one glaring detail.
In a casting announcement which contained 13 faces, young and old, black and white, from Ireland, England, Sweden and the U.S., only two of them were female: Carrie Fischer, of course, and the relative unknown Daisy Ridley. The internet duly lashed back:
Eliza Thompson at Cosmopolitan wrote:
There is absolutely no reason why there can’t be new characters added to account for the lack of women in the original trilogy and the newer trilogy.
Annalee Newitz at IO9 quite elegantly wrote:
Myths are powerful things, because we learn who we are by telling stories. When are we going to let little girls and kids of diverse races have fantasies as powerful as those given to white boys?
Julie from Chicago Now wondered "where my ladies at" for her piece:
Yeah, I am disappointed that J.J. Abrams, the man who brought us two of the most kick ass (in different ways) female TV characters of the century (Felicity and Sydney Bristow) couldn’t be bothered to toss more than one new female character into the new Star Wars movie.
Devin Faraci from BadassDigest wrote:
Women make up 51% of the population of this planet. We can extrapolate that even in a galaxy far, far away and in a time that is long ago that ratio is somewhat the same. So why is Star Wars Episode VII so very, very dude-y?
Laura Hudson at Wired decided a bit of research was needed:
If you count up all the significant female characters who appear in the original Star Wars trilogy, the list reads as follows … Princess Leia.
Gavia Baker at the Daily Dot predicted:
J.J. Abrams’s vision of Star Wars is a dystopia far more disturbing than anything Darth Vader could have hoped for: a universe where, without any real explanation, the vast majority of women are somewhere far, far away.
The backlash is entirely understandable but it still seems unfair to label Abrams some sort of chauvinist. Alias and Lost both boasted eminently strong female characters and the Enterprise crew could hardly be tinkered with too much. Word on the street suggests that one more female character is still to be announced, an addition which would bring the new faces (not including original cast) to a 6-2 (75%-25%) divide. It's an argument which will rage on so we'll just leave it at that.
A contentious issue no doubt, how do you all see it? Feel free to weigh-in in the comments section below.
Star Wars: Episode VII hits theatres December 18th 2015