ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at Creators.co
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Note: The following is largely SPOILER-FREE, but does contain discussion of a few key characters in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and may therefore be considered to contain MILD PLOT-BASED SPOILERS, roughly equivalent to the watching of multiple trailers, or reading a SPOILER-FREE review...)

Now, there are a whole lot of things to love about Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens - enough to fill a whole galaxy far far away's worth of op-ed pieces, not to mention tweets, blogs, memes and actual real-life conversations.

And I'm not going to start listing them here.

Instead, this article is about one simple, incredibly important thing that The Force Awakens - or rather the creative team behind it - have done with the movie. Y'see:

'The Force Awakens' Takes One Hell of a Stand For Gender Equality

Now, to go into detail about exactly how it does that would be to spoil a whole lot of the movie's greatest moments for anyone who hasn't yet seen it (something that may or may not technically be a war crime), so I'm not going to do that.

Instead, I just want to highlight a key difference between the Original Trilogy and Prequels, and The Force Awakens. Specifically:

Where the Original Trilogy Had Princess Leia...

...Slave Girl Leia...

...and About 10 Seconds of Mon Mothma...

...and the Prequels Had a Soap-Opera Love Interest...

...Who Was Ultimately Stripped of Political Power and Individual Agency...

...a Slave Who Everyone Promptly Forgets About Despite Her Being the Main Character's Parent...

...and a Handful of Largely Undeveloped Background Characters...

...'The Force Awakens' Has a No-Nonsense, Bad-Ass Female Stormtrooper Captain...

...Lupita Nyong'o's Maz Kanata (Who I'm Not Going to Show or Talk About Here, But Who is AWESOME)

...a Main Character in Rey Who is Fully Rounded, Ridiculously Cool and Doesn't Need Saving...

...(and Who Just So Happens to Be Female, Which is Never an Issue)...

...and GENERAL GODDAMN LEIA

What's more, that's not even factoring in the noticeable (but never tokenistic) increase in the number of background characters who just happen to be both awesome fighter pilots or military aides and female, as well as the recurring theme of highlighting just how ridiculous it is to assume that a woman inherently needs saving or is somehow less capable than a man. It's not perfect, and there are inevitably gender imbalances present within it that reflect the deeply problematic nature of the world we currently live in, but it's still a far less mysognist movie than most we see in movie theaters.

In other words?

'The Force Awakens' is Taking a Stand That We All Need to Take Too

And whether you want to label it egalitarianism, gender equality, fairness or - and I suspect most of the cast and crew of Episode VII would opt for this one - feminism, taking that stand is an incredibly important thing for as high-profile a movie as The Force Awakens to do. After all, we live in a world in which women are routinely discriminated against economically, socially and politically, and where brutal violence against horrifyingly large numbers of women is widely ignored or dismissed as exaggeration.

Fixing that is going to take a hell of a lot more than a movie treating women with respect, but without popular culture attempting to represent actual equality and standing up to archaic social norms, it's going to be a hell of a lot harder to do so.

In other other words?

HELLS YES, EPISODE VII. Nicely played...

What do you reckon, though?

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