Monday, 15 August 2016

Star Wars made me a Feminist

Let’s rewind to my childhood. Crimping your hair was all the range, everyone had a Tamagotchi and I was just old enough for the second wave of Star Wars fandom to take hold. I remember watching the original films on VCR and going to the cinema to see the prequel trilogy with my parents. Fast forward to now, and the movie franchise I grew up with is becoming popular again. It’s always been my thing to be honest, even back when it was really really uncool. Growing up, I had an R2D2 backpack with legs longer than mine. I put my hair in cinnamon buns. I played lightsabres with my sister. It was a big part of my world and now I can see how it affected me back then. I am probably biased because I love the films (I'll even watch Episode 1) but they forced me to look at being a girl as a good thing.   

We are now in the age where the preconceptions about feminism are changing. It’s stopped being so much of a dirty word. More and more women are understanding that it simply means equality rather than the image of angry hordes of man hating women someone conjured up way back when. I will proudly declare myself as a feminist because I believe that no one should be held back purely because they were born a certain gender. I was raised by strong parents and a Dad that still believes I can do anything. I've got my granny brain on saying that kids these days are raised up in a more relaxed world but honestly, back in the 90’s it never came up that I should be career focused. People still asked me questions about my future husband rather than my aspirations in life. There are lots of reasons I’ve grown up with this mind set but I maintain that Star Wars made me a mini Feminist.

I recognise that I’m placing a lot of importance on what is essentially a film franchise but it had a huge effect on my thought process as a child. I’m sure that there are lots of other strong women on the big screen that have had this effect on younger ladies but Star Wars was my turning point. I'm more than just a fan. Padme, Leia, and most recently Rey, are all strong and independent women who hold their own in their respective films. If you've seen the Rouge One trailer you'll notice it follows the same trend. Star Wars shows women as main characters and counterparts. The women come to the rescue, or come up with the plan or save themselves. I can’t thank them enough for helping me realise that I could be my own hero and save my own day. 

It does go both ways, there are instances in the films where gender roles are more traditional for example the lack of female Jedi. However, this was over ruled in my young mind by the fact that the women were leaders, with great ideas, queens and princesses with voices that made a difference. Being young and impressionable, I grew up believing I could do what I wanted and say what I thought just because it was worth saying. This might not have been the case if my role model wasn't kicking intergalactic butt. 

In a time where women in films needed saving, Star Wars broke the cycle. I remember thinking that I didn’t need a hero or a prince because I would save the day. Little girls deserve to grow up thinking that they are the main star, they are strong, and they aren’t at a disadvantage because of gender. Whatever it is that starts that thought process doesn't matter, for me it was Star Wars and I am so grateful.

May the Force be with you!

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