Lessons in Gender That I Learned From Watching The Star Wars Prequels
Posted 14 April 2009 in Film by Catriona
1. Women are essentially interchangeable. You can argue, I suppose, that it’s a terribly clever idea to draw attention away from your central woman by surrounding her with other women who are essentially interchangeable with one another. But, really, that’s just playing on the idea that one woman is, after all, very like another.
Since the main point of the interchangeable bodyguards is to draw the fire of potential assassins, it can also be argued that women are essentially disposable—probably because they are, after all, interchangeable.
2. Women really shouldn’t be Jedi. In fact, I suspect that there must be some odd equal-opportunity entrance requirements for the Academy, else women wouldn’t be allowed to be Jedi. If, thanks to this entirely unfair process of selection, women do become Jedi, they’ll turn out to be terribly bad at it. To take an entirely hypothetical example, a female Jedi might find herself cut down from behind by assassins before she can even turn around, where male Jedi would be able, in the same circumstances, to both turn and draw their weapons.
Yep: entirely hypothetical example.
3. Women are completely obsessed with fashion. Women are so obsessed with fashion, in fact, that it completely takes the place of comfort for them. They might sleep in a nightgown with seed pearls draped across the arms. Or they might choose to spend an evening lounging comfortably in front of a roaring fire in a skin-tight leather corset.
Let’s face it: who hasn’t done that at some point or another?
And, really, there’s no point dressing women sensibly. If, perchance, you do put a woman in a nice, practical (if skin-tight) combat outfit, she’s only going to get the midriff torn off by a sabre-toothed tiger.
Women are like that.
4. Women are terribly poor judges of characters. Even women who are supposed to be accomplished and intelligent can live intimately with another person and never, ever suspect that person of turning to the Dark Side.
Of course, this is convenient for both the other person in the relationship and for the narrative.
5. There is little noticeable difference between a teenage girl and a grown woman. The advantage of this is that a teenage girl can easily be the head of state for an entire planet. The disadvantage is that she won’t really learn from any mistakes she might make at that point.
Another way of putting this, I suppose, is to say that if you haven’t become a queen by the time you’re sixteen, you may as well abandon all ambition—and become a female Jedi.
6. Women are more than a little fragile. Perhaps, in retrospect, this is why they they need to wear corsets even when they’re lounging in front of fires? To stop bits of them from falling off?
The fragility of women is holistic in nature: should they be force-choked by their whinging, psychotic husbands, for example, they will then inevitably die in childbirth, despite the absence of any real biological connection between the trachea and the uterus.
(This is why women should always have doors opened for them: in case they accidentally catch their finger in the hinge and one of their legs falls off. You can’t take any chances with women.)
7. Probably because of their essential fragility, women’s back stories are easily ret-conned. After all, women are essentially interchangeable and disposable, so it should come as no surprise that the disposability extends beyond death.
Especially if the ret-conning helps prevent people from assuming that, just perhaps, not all women are corset-obsessed morons.