In the first installment of a series discussing the big three heroines of Star Wars, Natalie and Lynn are joined by Oaken (@gayamidala) for a discussion about what it’s like to view the illustrious Padmé Amidala through a queer lens. They also discuss the Solo Super Bowl teaser and Natalie Portman’s amazing prequel defender rap on SNL.
Warning for Rogue One spoilers.
For how much we commended Lucasfilm on its great strides towards gender diversity since The Force Awakens, I think a lot of us forgot to look more closely at Rogue One until it was already out. Not everyone—god knows I been pointing out the severe lack of women since last year alongside some friends—but enough. After Phasma, Rey, Maz and Leia, and the diverse background characters in The Force Awakens, perhaps it was too easy to become complacent. Too easy to believe that once we’d taken that step forward, it was impossible to fall behind again.
Well, apparently fuckin’ not, because Rogue One barely even tries, if I’m completely honest. The tough-white-brunette-as-lead doesn’t really make up for a distinctive lack of other women anymore—not that it ever should have. As much as Rogue One seemed to want to cling to some Star Wars traditions, the sole-white-female-heroine-among-men is one that should have been thrown right out with the opening crawl (though I remain forever broken-hearted at the lack of the crawl).
Especially when the ancillary material is working more than it ever has to create a diverse galaxy, introducing women like Admiral Rae Sloane, Doctor Aphra, Cienna Ree, Shara Bey, Brand, Sabine Wren, and even more amazing women who veer away from the typical Star Wars films’ leading lady. I would give anything to see any of these women, or women like them, on the big screen, and it’s disappointing to watch Rogue One fail when so many other stories within the universe succeed. Especially because I know Star Wars can do better. Especially because I love Rogue One as much as I do.
While at PAX Australia earlier this month I tagged along to a panel called, Who Cares About Female Protagonists? with a friend because, well, I care about female protagonists a hell of a lot.
There’s a reason the majority of my favourite games are headed by women and girls, or at least give the player the option to pick their gender (props to you, BioWare.) These games make me feel like I can be a hero in a way male-led games do not. They make me feel like I can be something more than I am.
I’ve always been that person who constantly and consistently fights for other people–be it for better or worse–but has never worried too much about herself. When it came to representation in media, I’ve always been vocally backing up that yes, we need trans people, we need people of colour, we need asexuals and aromantics and all the other facets of the LGBT+ umbrella.
But I never really worried about myself, I never felt I needed to see people I identified with in the shows, books, games and movies I love. Sure, I was bitter at the utter refusal from shows like Orange is the New Black to use the b-word (bisexual, the word is bisexual), but I reiterate that actually seeing a bi gal on the silver screen didn’t feel vital to me. Other people needed (and still do need) that representation more.
And then The Legend of Korra happened. Read More
One of the first characters I ever wanted to be was Leia Organa. Or Supergirl. A force-sensitive princess, a super-powered alien gal — they were both basically everything a four-year-old Saf could ever have dreamt of being. And while I didn’t know it at the time, they were the first characters I ever felt the urge to cosplay.
Science fiction is the broadening of horizons. It’s the extending of what is real for us, now, into what could (perhaps) be real to us in the future. So many of our realities are echoed in these stories set in the far future — or even a long, long time ago — but not so much for folk who fall under the LGBT umbrella. There seems mostly to be a set sexuality in space: heterosexual.
Star Wars, as anyone who has ever talked to me would know, is hugely important to me. However, there’s one (now non-canon!) character I can identify with, sexuality-wise. One! Out of hundreds! My darling Juhani from Knights of the Old Republic, who is often looked over in favour of Carth or Bastila. She is either lesbian or, because of a bug apparently, bisexual. When I first learnt I could romance her with my lady jedi I literally whooped with joy, and she never left my side from the moment she joined my party.