“The Last Jedi”: What we missed while worrying about white male feelings (again)
Walt Disney Company / Lucasfilm

“Above all else, The Last Jedi is about smashing patriarchal white supremacy– smashing it to the ground and starting over .” Bitter Gertrude blog, Dec. 2017

Spoilers, obviously.

In the media rush to make sure that the outraged feelings of white men were given full airing in their displeasure over being bumped aside for a more diverse narrative from 2017’s biggest tent-pole blockbuster, The Last Jedi, all of the great takes on this film I thought we were going to get hardly materialized.

Nearly every single column on the film was centered around the above-mentioned “controversy,” even if it attempted to discuss something else.

Here is a list of topics I would have liked to have seen discussed in lieu of highlighting America’s favorite topic, angry white men:

1.) Rey is apparently the new pilot of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie is her co-pilot.

2.) Rose Tico, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist working-class lady-gearhead. Knows her shit and is awesome with tools. Isn’t here for your lying ass, even if you’re a “hero.” Kelly Marie Tran and a taser is all of us in “man jobs.”

3.) This was Carrie Fisher’s last foray in Star Wars, in the role that remade the possibilities for movie heroines forever. She went out the way she came in, waving a blaster and making sure hope stayed alive.

4.) Humans get hyperspace and killer robots before smashing space capitalism and imperialism, and the destruction and inequality they engender is now galactic. We should think about this before cheerfully allowing corporations to send up our space vehicles.

5.) Leia knew that Luke was a Force projection, and was not really there on Crait. She leaves the simulacrum of Han’s dice behind, which is both indicative of this, and highly symbolic.

6.) Daisy Ridley’s Rey snaking out the lightsaber to practice with when she thinks Luke isn’t looking is every little girl circa 1978 to 2017. No longer will the lightsaber be the cool toy only boys get to play with. (We also get the Millennium Falcon toy, see #1.)

7.) Rose’s sister Paige, and her successful sacrifice that actually takes out the dreadnought in the doomed bombing raid.

8.) Tallie Lintra, Resistance starfighter and A-wing pilot — quiet competence gets the job done, flyboy.

9.) All of the times a male character was told to pound sand. We need a video compilation of all of them.

10.) Vice-Admiral Holdo is canon. Commenters who opined that not one, but two, female military leaders in the same story to be beyond the pale can also pound sand.

11.) Ben Solo never exhibits a moment of masculine doubt that Rey will fight with him back-to-back in the throne room and will probably kick ass (and does.)

12.) Luke’s character as portrayed is right in alignment with the way he’s always been. Watch the first three films again. There’s a reason Yoda shows up in the last days of his life to show him his final lesson.

13.) Rey subverts the fairy tale princess trope by arriving in her own glass coffin as a ship in which to rescue the prince.

14.) The Heroine’s Journey is also a thing. Will we get any PBS content about it?

15.) Female gaze is everywhere in this film. It would be nice to get a female director for Star Wars one of these days (hint hint).

16.) Billie Lourd as Lt. Connix is awesome and funny. I find her generosity to the story and fans to be amazing, considering how all-consuming being part of the Star Wars legacy probably is.

17.) Star Wars needs even more women of color, particularly Black women. The Resistance won’t be successful without them.

18.) Where are the LGBTQ space people? Is this subject really the Final Frontier? Even the U.S. military is inclusive.

19.) I really want to hear more about that union dispute from Maz Kanata.

20.) I’m sure there are millions more things to add.

I’m sure some could say — hey look, no one stopped you from discussing any of this. I just wrote up this list and no one prevented it. However, in a crowded media environment where women and minorities already are made to feel that they should be grateful for any corner of borrowed space, time moves quickly and the world focuses on different subjects.

Our window for centering subjects where women were the subject hustled on past in a shot. I guess we were allowed to have Wonder Woman takes because she has been our territory for awhile. But put us in the center of the galactic mono-myth of the modern era, and boy, things escalated quickly.


CONTRIBUTOR

Michelle Kern
Michelle Kern

Michelle Kern is Adjunct Professor, Creative Arts and Social Science Department at College of San Mateo, California. She is Chapter Chair at AFT local 1493, Organizer at AFT local 1493 and contributing writer to Peoplesworld.org.

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