The official Star Wars Facebook page just released a fan-art illustration of one of its lead female characters—and unsurprisingly this somehow devolved into a debate over feminism and sexism in the media.
It all began when the page posted this concept art for the character “Captain Phasma”, a female played by actor Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones fame):
However, one commenter chimed in with this:
“Not to be sexist but it’s really hard to tell that’s female armor for me.”
But an admin working at the Official Star Wars Facebook Page responded with, “It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”
Since then, the comment has sparked online praise from countless people who say it’s a triumph for women, feminism, and ending sexism.
Now, look: you guys know I’m pretty much 100% against modern day mainstream feminism, but surprisingly enough, in this case, I totally like and agree with Star Wars’ response, and here’s why:
1. They acknowledged femininity:
One of the most annoying things about feminism is it’s denial, repression, and shaming of femininity. You see, if feminism is, indeed, supposed to be “pro-woman”, then shouldn’t it be supportive of women’s desires, aspirations, and choices in life—even if she would rather live like a traditional, feminine woman?
In theory, it should be, but too often, it’s just not. One recent example was when Kaley Cuoco—leading actor in the “Big Bang Theory” sitcom—publicly stated that she likes to cook for her husband “five nights a week: it makes me feel like a housewife; I love that. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but I like the idea of women taking care of their man.”
Now, in theory, the “pro-woman” feminist movement should be supportive of her choice (after all, if they support a woman’s choice to abort her baby, why not her choice to make her husband a sandwich?). But actions speak louder than dictionary definitions, and upon hearing Kaley’s traditional preferences, the feminist lynch mob attacked her until she publicly apologized.
So, the truth is: there is such a thing as “femininity”, and there are many women who prefer to be feminine. But too often, feminism attempts to deny the existence of gender dimorphism, or the distinct, inherent, biological differences between male and female. You know, because gender’s just a “social construct”, right?
In all honesty, I really wouldn’t be fighting against feminism the way I do on this blog if feminists just stopped shaming femininity. As I documented in a recent video, there is a war on femininity…and ironically, it’s being waged by feminism.
I genuinely believe that if society once again permitted feminine submissiveness as a valuable and acceptable social phenomenon (as opposed to the “shameful” “retrograde” one that it is today), that not only would women be happier (in the face of declining rates of happiness), but so would men as the harmonious balance between femininity and masculinity is restored to greater levels.
I don’t care if a woman wants to get a job in corporate America, or build muscles—or hell, even get a fuckin’ sex change! I’m an individualist, and individuals should be free to do as they please, as long as: 1) they genuinely want to, and 2) they don’t harm/inhibit others in the process (i.e. if a woman wants to be a rocket scientist yet doesn’t score high enough to qualify as one, she shouldn’t be allowed to work at NASA anyways just because we feel bad for her).
So, what I loved about the Official Star Wars Facebook Page’s comment was that it simply acknowledged femininity. It did not try to conflate femininity with masculinity. It did not try to pretend that it’s plausible (or even functional) for a woman to try and be both manly and womanly at the same time. It simply stated, “it’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”
They acknowledged that there’s a distinction between feminine and masculine, and that for the female character to wear battle armor, it would be counter-productive to add “feminine” qualities to it.
And this is absolutely true: throughout the history of so-called “feminist” movies, the “empowered” heroines are often portrayed as these weird man-woman hybrids, where in order for her to be truly empowered, she has to be both feminine and masculine.
Here’s one great example from Taylor Swift’s recent music video “Bad Blood”:
Can someone explain to me how it is, in any way shape or form, sensible, functional, or plausible to enter battle with machine guns and rocket launchers while dressed in non-ergonomic leather tights, high heels, and long obstructing acrylic nails?
Well, there is no explanation, because it doesn’t make any sense: any rational person entering battle—be it man or woman—would rather look something like this:
For far too long, feminism has pushed the idea that in order for a woman to be empowered, she has to either abandon her femininity in exchange for masculinity, or even worse: try and balance them both at the same time, as evidenced by the “single working mother” phenomenon:
Trying to be feminine and masculine at the same time is counter-productive, it’s like trying to be hot and cold at once. It’s like trying to be fat and skinny simultaneously. Femininity and masculinity are two very different things: one seeks subservience to masculinity, while the other seeks authority over femininity. So, what I appreciate in the Star Wars Facebook Page’s comment is that it acknowledges the difference between the masculine and feminine energies, and furthermore does not attempt to hold women to unrealistically high expectations by promoting female characters with an unfeasible hybridization of manliness and womanliness:
2. Armor Should Be Functional, Irrespective of Gender
The comment left by the Star Wars admin emphasizes functionality as the basis for determining the design of a character’s body armor:
And this makes sense, because when you try to enforce feminine qualities onto battle-ready heroines, you end up with something like this:
Instead, armor on a woman should be designed to fulfill the fuckin obvious purpose of armor: to protect someone! Do you think Taylor Swift would stand a chance in that outfit if we dropped her on the sands of Normandy during World War II’s D-Day? Strippers don’t fight wars, neither should Taylor Swift…
Instead, the Star Wars Facebook Page responded in a truly “feminist” way. Although I still think mainstream culture shames (and is ashamed of) femininity, at least the illustration they shared was how a female warrior should look like if she’s considering fighting along side men.
Now, there is one little nuance: the breastplate. Interesting that even in men’s traditional ancient armor, the chest area was referred to as the “breastplate”—but how about some actual room for breasts in this picture?:
Seriously, though: that would be a pretty flat-chested woman to fit in there. In fact, this could probably be a point of contention for modern feminists: maybe they’ll think it’s a form of discrimination not make the breastplate large enough to accommodate woman’s advantage over men in the cleavage department. I certainly wouldn’t put it past feminism…