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A Little Good News - Equality in Star Wars?

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The world is in flames. I am sure that few reading this would really need to be reminded of that. However, there is some good news out there and illustration that not everyone's mind is defiled with hate.

By now, a great deal of footage has been released from the upcoming new Star Wars movie - The Force Awakens. The evil and hate that many people are capable of has come out in full -a group of losers have protested the role of black actor John Boyega. Both Boyega's role as Finn and Daisy Ridley's role as Rey illustrate some hope that minorities and women can be taken seriously in film.

Daisy Ridley is an attractive woman - the shots of her as a private person highlight this. She is as beautiful as Natalie Portman or Carrie Fisher ever were. Unlike either of them, however, her role in this new Star Wars does not seem overtly feminized or sexualized.

Both the characters of Leia and Padme were. Carrie Fisher was overtly sexualized in Return of the Jedi as a sex slave of Jabba the Hutt. Padme's portrayal in the prequels was even less liberated, unlike Leia, she had few points of fighting back and was mostly seen either in distress or being fawned over by a lovestruck Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen. George Lucas did film scenes in which Padme is seen opposing the creation of a clone army and petitioning Palpatine but those were removed - even those scenes portrayed her as timid or having her love affair with Anakin more on her mind than anything serious.

I obviously haven't seen the film yet - I'm not sure if Ridley's character of Rey ends up in a love affair with John Boyega's Finn (which would, interestingly, be an interracial love affair) but, from the trailers - Rey seems dressed like Luke Skywalker was in A New Hope, complete with shots of her looking at a double sunset with faded desert clothes. She is depicted taking on what's left of the empire and the villain, Kylo Ren, herself. Even in 2015, a female protagonist in a major film that is not consistently sexualized is a rare thing - the complaints about Scarlet Johanssen's role in the Avengers films comes to mind - no matter what a major role she played in the movies, her flirting with every single major male character left me groaning.

This is all early. The film hasn't been released yet - but I hope that young women will finally get a film character that shows them that they have more than just their body to offer.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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