Attitudes Towards Female Leads (AKA the Star Wars Rant)

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You know, I’m getting really sick and tired lately of people crapping on female leads. While it’s not a new attitude by any means, I’ve found it’s become more prevalent as the Internet continues to grow. But this attitude has also gotten especially noticeable with the inclusion  of female leads in popular franchises, and it’s getting old fast.

Instead of going for the obvious target of the “Ghostbusters” reboot, let’s focus on a major franchise that recently had two female-lead movies in the works: “Star Wars.” When they first announced “The Force Awakens,” the outcry seemed to be twofold: one, there was a black Stormtrooper, and two, the other was female. Things have gotten worse with the recent trailer of “Rogue One”, where the main character is also female. Now, obviously, not everyone is against these films starring women. Many, like myself, just prefer to see strong characters that aren’t necessarily defined by their genre. As long as they interesting to watch, who cares if it’s a man or woman? But, as always, there are many others who want things to be just so because of the films that came before.

The funny thing is that these are the only two to have female leads. In the six films preceding them, EVERY main character has been a man. The few female characters that existed were supporting, even standouts like Leia and Amidala. And yet, people complain that either these newer films have ruined the franchise or have basically kicked male leads to the curb. Well, sorry, but that’s the stupidest argument I think I’ve heard in recent memory. You’re basing these claims off of two, TWO films, even though one of those hasn’t even been released yet. I’ll admit, as a woman, I’m pleased to see this fresh direction being taken with “Star Wars.” But honestly, I’d be happy to see this become a trend in any genre of film or series. Women being crapped on by Hollywood and the like has been an ongoing problem, and if a writer or director comes along wanting to challenge the status quo, I say bring it on.

Do you know what this argument comes off as to me? Entitlement. In this case, I’d say it’d be of the nostalgic variety. Sure, this type of thing runs wild for other forms of media and on the Internet in general, but what does it say about a person? To me, it looks like the attitude of someone who can’t move past even an inch of nostalgia for the series to allow change. Perhaps, in the eyes of some, it’s also a prevailing thought that “Star Wars” is supposed to be aimed towards men and thus should star men all day, every day. Both of these attitudes are just plain toxic. I’ve been guilty of dismissing something based on nostalgia for its predecessors, but I’ve never done so based on a character’s gender. So, to wrap up, I can understand people holding “Star Wars” in high regard. However, when you’re spewing hate at a film because the decision was made to change the lead’s gender (even while still retaining a strong character), then I can’t help but think you need to take a page from MST3K.

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