Denying the Force

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I watched the three original Star Wars movies last weekend. I understand why a lot of young boys fell in love with the films and made it a classic. I’m going to see the newest episode this week and I’m hoping I’ll see women do things other than get chained to walls or fat men. A girl can dream.

I saw the movies the first and (before now) only time when I was about 11. We were taking a family vacation to Florida in a van lovingly dubbed our “living room on wheels.” My dad had rigged up a mini-tv so my sister and I had something to do besides poke each other and yelp during the 18 hour drive. He’d borrowed the vhs tapes from a coworker and told us it was time we watched some classics. I think he just didn’t want to listen to Matilda for the 87th time.

I remember very little from that first viewing. I know we were interested in the plot and I liked when Princess Leia killed the giant blob who was keeping her as a sex slave. My strongest memory of this movie is the part when we had paused it and were taking in the scenery—driving through the farms of Ohio or Kentucky. My sister was drinking a pop, a luxury only allowed on vacation. As we passed a particularly pungent farm, she blurted out, “My coke tastes like cow poop.” We cracked up like no one had ever said anything more hilarious—a combination of the stir craziness that had built and our lack of scientific knowledge about the relationship between smell and taste. Go public schools.

Since the franchise is so male-centric, I’m not at all bothered that my strongest memory of watching it is a lame joke made by an 8 year old girl. I think we just couldn’t identify with any of the characters. Even though Leia was tough and interesting, any hope of seeing myself in her was thwarted after she was over-sexualized for the audience. I hope, for the sake of adolescent girls now, there’s a female Jedi in this new version and that she’s a badass.

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