Women in Star Wars

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Minela, May 29, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn
  1. Minela Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 3
    I was just watching the Star Wars special on the History Chanal, like I'm sure many of you have, and I was really intrigued by the role women play in the Saga. I really did not think of it this way before and since I'm always excided when I find new and interesting things in Star Wars I wanted to share it and get your takes on the subject.

    The lives of the women really parallel everything that is going on in the saga. Take Queen Amidala in Ep. I. She is unsure of herself, she is trying to do the right thing but unbeknown to everybody there is a greater danger ahead of her. She is ideallistic but on the verge of destroying herself.

    In Ep. II she goes from being a Queen to being a woman. She is surrounded by nature and everything that is good (like a mother-earth figure), she represents hope and goodness. I myself was thinking "well, if Anakin is loved by her so much he can't be that bad" and I was so rooting for him to make a right decision (all the while knowing he wouldn't). At this point in the saga while Padme is maturing everything is still good but we can tell that she is progressing into darkness. Yet, she is the only one who could pull Anakin back with her love.

    In Ep. III she is at the end of her life, she is a mother and therefore represents life. When she dies, everything dies with her. Anakin is gone, replaced by Vader. Diversity of the Republic is gone, repleced by a Sterile Empire with no divercity. There are no women in the Empire, therefore no life. All humanity is gone.

    In Ep. IV it is a woman who brings things into motion with her young rebellious enthusiasm. She is dressed in virginal white symbolizing that she is not ready yet to save the universe. Everyting is still sterile but we see signs of life, love and friendship forming.

    In Ep. V Leia is more mature, things are becoming more organic. Luke goes to Dagobah and she is falling in love with Han. As she matures, the rebellion matures.

    In Ep. VI she becomes a woman, we see her in a more sexual light, she is now completly in love with Han. The surroundings are more organic (Endor, Dagobah, Tatooine). As she embraces being a woman completly she gives birth to a new society while the mechanical Empire dies. Even Vader regains his humanity.
  2. MisterVader Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2006
    star 3
    It's interesting to note that in the PT, the basic motivation for each film revolves around Padmé. It's a repeated theme of small events having disastrous implications on the entire galaxy.

    TPM: Her home is blockaded, leading to the election of Palpatine.
    AOTC: She is almost assassinated, leading to the use of the clone army.
    ROTS: She is thought to be in mortal danger by her influential husband, leading to the creation of the Empire.

    This part of the saga is sort of about how a bunch of men do terrible things based off of the fairly benign existence of a single woman. She is constantly attacked and defended in an enormous tapestry of events.
  3. Darth_Laudrup Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2004
    star 4
    One of the only things i've noticed about the women of star wars is that there are no weak women.
  4. Dark_Faith Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2004
    star 3
    =D= Damn right!
  5. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    Also, there are really only three leading women in the Saga: Shmi, who represents humble, yet strong and honest origins; Padme, representing conflicted complications and altered destinies; Leia, representing decisive new beginnings. Unfortunately, Zam, Queen Jamillia, Jocasta, Mon Mothma, and the various background characters, like the Royal Servants, Aayla Secura, Aurra Sing, Barriss Offee and Luminara Unduli are minimized, but seem to represent various feminine qualities of support (TPM's Queen bodyguard/servants), sexuality (AOTC's club scene), and challenge to masculine power (ROTJ's planning scene).
  6. BlackPool Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2000
    star 4
    At the risk of sounding like a chauvinist, Leia in a New Hope was a royal jerk (pun intended) and it's kind of disturbing that people associate that kind of behavior with "strength". Name calling, being rude and overbearing do not equate to strength. I simply can't stand pushy people be they a man or a woman. I think Padme serves as a better example. She shows how you can get things done without being loud and boisterous.
  7. Dark_Faith Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2004
    star 3
    I know, exactly what you mean! Woman don't have to be like loud macho men to be strong, same for men as well.
  8. Minela Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 3
    I think Leia's streantht in ANH doesn't come from her being a "royal jerk" but from her inner streangth. i.e. leading the rebellion, sending a very dangerous message to tatooine, opposing the two most dangerous men in the galaxy without blinking and eye and following her duty to the end. she had a one tracked mind because that was needed in order to change the situation.

    On another note I just love how GL made women's roles throughout the saga very symbolical in literal and visual ways. There is not one woman in the entire saga who is "evil". Most of them are storng women even the supporting roles.
  9. Darth_Laudrup Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2004
    star 4
    Yes even Jabbas twi'lek slave-girl is strong in herown way. She defies him even if the prize for defiance is death.

    Star Wars women from Offee & Luminara to Leia & Padme to Mon Mothma & Beru are strong-minded and intelligent women... and that makes them all damn sexy. :)
  10. BlackPool Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2000
    star 4
    I agree. It's just when they talk about Leia's strength in shows like SWLR, it's the scenes where she's being a jerk that they always choose to use as examples of it.
  11. acinom Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2003
    I wouldn't call her a jerk, but I sure am glad Lucas didn't go for the pitiful damsel in distress characters. I'd rather have my kid grow up to be assertive that to expect a man to take care of her like some Disney princess.
  12. Dark_Faith Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2004
    star 3
    =D= That's how I feel if I ever have a daughter. (I hope I do.)
  13. BlackPool Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2000
    star 4
    Well, I call her a jerk because she was assertive without regard for other people's feelings. People who do that are jerks as far as I'm concerned. You can assert yourself and still be respectful toward the the other person.

    As a side note, Han Solo was a jerk too. He was so boisterous and full of himself it was ridiculous. But I liked him better because his jerky behavior was treated as a character flaw rather then a "strength" and it got him into trouble. Leia on the other hand received no such consequences.
  14. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    "This is some rescue, when you came in here, did you have a plan for getting out?" "Will someone get this walking carpet out of my way?" Yeah, BP is right.
  15. acinom Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2003
    So because she pointed out the absence of an escape plan and made two men look unprepared, which they were, she's a jerk?

    I think it's a legitimate question. If someone came to get you out of tight spot, wouldn't you expect that they had a plan for getting out? Wouldn't you question the lack of action and tactics after just standing around shooting back at oncoming enemy for several minutes?

    Personally I think Mace is a jerk.
  16. Darth_Laudrup Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2004
    star 4
    Mace was kinda cool, but also a jerk for trashing Anakin constantly.


    He never gave Anakin any advice on how to better himself, all he did was talk down to him.
    I always felt that teachers, mentors, Jedi Masters or whatever their title is should both teach, council and point out flaws, but all Mace did was point out flaws.
  17. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    Oops, I'd left out Beru in my post above...knew I was forgetting someone...

    In the context of 4-5-6-1-2-3, you can think of Han's post-trash compactor line in ANH, basically, "If we can avoid any more female advice, we should be able to get out of here", as an opening to the entire development in the Saga. Perhaps if the female advice of Padme, Mon Mothma and Leia had been heeded, much suffering could have been avoided, and they would have actually "gotten out of there"?? Just a thought...
  18. Minela Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 3
    ...yeah. that is very interesting to think about.


    in the PT, Padme's need for help causes the Republic to fall...but in the OT, that same need (Leia: help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. you are my only hope) for help causes the Empire to fall. There is another mirror image in the saga. I just love finding them everywhere.
  19. TK421124KT Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2007
    I don't think Star Wars has a strong feminist case to make.

    First, there aren't that many women in it, and Leia was written sort of humorless and uptight (I liked the way Carrie Fisher played her in the first two movies. She was pretty terrible in parts of ROTJ, but then she had nothing much to do there except choke Jabba). Sure, the women in it are important, but Leia was never even close to being my fave character, and it's mostly because she is somewhat one-dimensional.
    Padme I don't think is very well written either. That whole thing with falling for a much younger kid who then goes on to become the epitome of evil, and then dying when her kids are born, blah blah, it's just not some of the best moves a woman can make.

    None of these things make any of the women BAD characters, but they are not entirely exceptional either. I mean, it could be a lot worse-- we could have women only as incompetent damsels in distress (something that The Princess Bride always pissed me off about, as a movie), and in Star Wars at least they are allowed into politics! But, for the humor-- men have the upper hand, for the heroics- men have the upper hand again.
  20. Minela Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 3
    I'm not saying that the women in SW were exceptional characters. They werer badd ass in their own way, but nothing remarkable. That is not the point however. The point is their symolical relevance and their mythological role in the saga. They represent the Rebellion (Leia), they represent the anti-Empire sentiment visually (Padme on green Naboo vs. cold space and men in identical uniforms), they symbolize death and rebirth (Padme/Leia) which is a promenant theme of Star Wars. Luke, Anakin and Han were cool characters but symbolically the females are more visually present in the Saga mythos.
  21. DarthPoppy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 4
    I have to admit, I never had any problems with Leia, but I find Padme a bit of an anti-feminist character in the end. Her arc didn't have to end the way it did, but all the same, she is pretty much just an object for Anakin to possess and then a vessel for to fetuses to gestate in. And then she loses the will to live, when a real leader would have been helpful and a mother would also have been helpful to her two newborn children. While she in the end is right that "there is still good in him", when she says this she seems more like a pathetic codependent who can't let go of loving the man who abuses her. I really don't like the writing of her character.
  22. DarthApocalypse Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2007
    star 3
    I agree with Darth Poppy. Padme went from being a strong feminist symbol, to nothing more than Anakin's plaything. In TPM Padme at only 14 is a queen, shows no fear during the Naboo invasion, rips the entire Senate a new one, then goes back to Naboo to save her people. This character arc continues into AOTC where Padme, even after having an attempt made on her life, still speaks out gainst violence in the Senate, doesn't want to run and hide on Naboo, and attempts to save Obi-Wan on Geonosis. However in ROTS everything goes to hell for Padme. She goes from being Padme Amidala to simply Anakin's wife and becomes very subservient. She goes from standing up to the entire Senate and the Trade Federation to flinching and becoming compliant just because Anakin yelled at her. Every time her beliefs clash with Anakin's, she concedes to him. Then instead of being independent she clings to Anakin despite all of his misdeeds and gives up on her life despite having a family to support. That is not how you represent feminimism.
  23. Minela Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 3
    She was in a different position in RotS, she had her baby to worry about and she was constantly on edge because her husband was off on dangerous missions and she never knew how he was. Worse even she couldn't even ask about his wellbeing and had to pretend everything was ok. That gets to a person after a while. When she had him around all she probably wanted to do is savour his presence.

    But don't forgett she was still one of the Senators who confronted Palpatine and she was on the opposite side than Anakin on the issue concerning Palpatine's power. That was very brave of her considering the political climate at the time, anything could have been considered treason. After Palpatine announces the Empire she is the one who doesn't cheer with everybody else. She defies Anakin and goes after him to Mustafar although it was dangerous. She stands up to Anakin on Mustafar, is chocked almost to death and still pulls through to give birth to the twins. At the end she is just psyhologically defeated and dies. But all that did not take away from her symbolical part in the saga. She represents life itself in Star Wars, when she dies everything goes to hell. Visually she is everything that is alive (green Naboo) she visually contrasts the men of the Empire and Vader. The end of RotS represents the darkest times in the Saga, and she ushers that period with her death. Visually and symbolically the light dies with her. Except for one small glimer of hope: her children.
  24. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    She does reject him in the end.
  25. DarthApocalypse Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2007
    star 3

    When? Even after she finds out he murdered children and killed the Jedi, she says she forgives him and asks him to run away with her. Then even after he chokes her, she still forgives him and instead of asking about her children asks about Anakin.
Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.