(TFA SPOILERS) Where are the Women in The Force Awakens?



So. Anyways. Where are the women in The Force Awakens?

Rey, General Leia, Maz Kanata, Captain Phasma, and arguably BB-8 (it’s a debated topic, personally I’m more of the “non-gendered robot” persuasion)

Sure there are more male characters than female characters, but all of these badass ladies are not only given names, but are relevant to the plot.

Writing decent female characters is not just about having women kick butt and out fight the men, it’s about create real women that people will be able to identify with and look up to.

I wish this movie had come out when I was ten years old. I wish I’d been able to grow up pretending to be Rey or Captain Phasma.

I was genuinely worried about Captain Phasma. Too often characters like her are introduced as androgynous fighters with helmets or masks, with their actions leading the main character to believe they are male, and then they reveal themselves by take off their helmets and shaking out their long hair accompanied by surprised gasps of “You’re a girl?” (think our introduction to Quorra in Tron: Legacy) Their gender is used as a plot twist or a shocker, because of course no one would immediately assume that a useful or powerful character would be anything but male.

So I was waiting with baited breath for Phasma to dramatically take off her helmet, but much to my surprise, it never happened. Because it didn’t have to be this big reveal that she was a woman. She was a soldier and a captain who just happened to be female. Her gender had no relevance to the plot. It simply was.

The same goes for Maz. This wrinkly old smuggler  was just accepted as female. Her fondness for Chewie was an offhanded comment, not the entirety of her character. Instead she was a respected (although maybe not respectable) business owner who had earned her status in her own right.

And then there’s Rey. Scrappy, lonely, Rey. The female action hero who doesn’t kiss anyone, isn’t taught to control her skills by a man, and saves her co-star as many times as he saves her. She holds her own against Han freaking Solo for pete’s sake. SHE FLIES THE MILLENIUM FALCON YOU GUYS. And keeps all of her clothes on for the entire movie. There was no sensual bathing scene or a giant monster who rips off half of her shirt. She kicked butt and made people fall in love with her without having to removing a single article of clothing. And Hollywood thought it was impossible. Daisy Ridley is a stunning young woman, but Rey’s story arch and character had nothing to do with her physical attractiveness.

So look at these women: a hero, a villain, a mentor, and a general. None were sexualized. None were reduced to stereotypes. None were out of place because of their gender.

Where were the women in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Exactly where they should have been.


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