Darth Vader entering the captured rebel blockade runner, the iconic character’s first appearance on screen, 1977.
It was the summer of 1977, and my family and I were in Philadelphia to attend my aunt’s wedding. While in town, it just so happened that we stayed at a large hotel complex featuring two movie theaters. One of them showed Herbie the
Love Bug Goes to Monte Carlo. The other, well, it was playing that summer’s surprise blockbuster hit, Star Wars. My brother was eight at the time, and it was decided that he was probably too young to handle Darth Vader and all that. So both he and dad were bundled off to see the Love Bug. But mom and I, we got to see Star Wars. It’s family story we still laugh about to this day.
And what did I think about Star Wars? Simply put, I was blown away. It was absolutely captivating. It was, apart from watching my Cincinnati Reds win back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976, the greatest thing I’d ever seen. Have the movies ever featured more awesome portrait of evil personified than Darth Vader? And who couldn’t root for Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewie and Leia? When Luke dropped his photon torpedoes in the exhaust vent and blew up the Death Star, the whole theater exploded in spontaneous applause. It was electric. And like just about every other kid my age, I couldn’t get enough.
The Force Awakens
So as something of a confessed life-long Star Wars geek, it was with great anticipation that I awaited the release of this year’s latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens. But as details of the plot slowly leaked out, my interest in seeing the film began to wane. As much as I hated to admit it to myself, Star Wars had gone over to the dark side. It had become another propaganda vehicle for the sort of ubiquitous girl-power feminism that, any time it rears its head in something I’m watching, prompts me to reach for the remote faster than the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run.
Star Wars is not and never has been a Christian enterprise. The obvious pantheism – the Force that binds the galaxy together is most definitely not the triune, personal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – displayed throught the series indicates the movie is not operating within a Christian intellectual framework. And yet, there were themes in the original movie and in subsequent episodes that were very attractive to one with a Christian worldview. Perhaps chief among them was the notion of the humble, underdog Good Guys versus all-powerful and arrogant Bad Guys. Star Wars, it seemed, had more than a little David and Goliath in it. And this is a theme that is profoundly attractive to men.
Star Wars: A New Hope, final scene.
God created men to care for their families, to be brave, to be strong. To teach and defend what is right. To oppose and defeat what is wrong. These are the actions of a patriarch. And the entirely of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation virtually screams patriarchy at us. It is God’s design for humanity. And it is very good. And watching Luke Skywalker play the man, even if it was in a sci-fi flick flashed upon a silver screen, was a great joy to me, reinforcing what I already knew to be true from God’s revealed word.
Those were the days.
Star Wars, the Force Awakens.
But now things are different, and not just a little bit. The lead character in The Force Awakens is young woman named Rey. When we first meet her, she’s eking out a scavenger’s existence on a forlorn desert planet. But not long into the movie, we find that there is much more to her. In quick order, she demonstrates the fighting skills of Bruce Lee, shows herself a techie the equal of Bill Gates, and pilots the Millennium Falcon with a brilliance on par with Han Solo himself. And not only that, but her whole persona radiates an independence such that 1977’s Princess Leia comes off like a southern belle by comparison. Sigh. I’m so tired of it all. Are we to be spared nothing?
For the girl-power propaganda doesn’t stop with Rey. Captain Phasma, commander of the First Order stormtroopers on Starkiller Base, is another of the movie’s galactic valkyries. This backstory on this character is interesting. It turns out that the Phasma character has more than a litter Caitlyn Jenner in her. Originally conceived as a male character, writers J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan pulled a switcheroo in the face of internet criticism alleging a lack of female characters in the new Star Wars installment. That’s how it works today. The feminists have a hissy fit and suddenly the First Order commander is translated to the distaff side. Thanks guys. But for my part, I thought Boba Fett made a better imperial lackey.
But a Commander in Chief of the army a woman? I think it’s unspeakable.
– Ayn Rand
And the feminist agitprop isn’t over yet. Princess Leia is no longer a princess. She’s General Leia, thank you very much. In the original Star Wars, Leia was hardly a wilting daisy. She evidenced a strong and at times rather sarcastic personality. But one never got the sense that she was trying to be a man. Leia did not engage in light saber duels with Darth Vader or try to play Chuck Yeager behind the controls of an X-Wing fighter. But times have changed, and merely possessing a strong personality doesn’t cut it with today’s feminist keepers-of-the-flame. They demand action. The princess must now be a general. According to Carrie Fisher, “What was really fun about doing anything girl power-esque is bossing men around. I know a lot of you women out there haven’t done that yet and I encourage you to do so late this afternoon.”
This woman as commanding officer theme brought to mind a response Ayn Rand gave to the question why she would not vote for a woman president. When questioned on the Phil Donahue about her stance, Rand gave the memorable reply,
It is not to a woman’s personal interest to rule man. It puts her in a very unhappy position. I don’t believe that any good woman would want that position…But a Commander in Chief of the army a woman? I think it’s unspeakable.
In this one comment, atheist Ayn Rand demonstrates a far superior understanding of human nature than that of Abrams and Kasdan and a heart closer to God, at least in this matter, than the many Evangelicals who foolishly seek for their Deborah in the likes of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Carly Fiorina.
It has long been the opinion of this author that feminism is among the most destructive, inhumane and ungodly philosophies that has ever been foisted on any people. One may object to my discussion above by saying that it’s making much ado about nothing. After all, it’s just a movie. It’s only make-believe. True enough. But if the makers of the movie see it as a vehicle for promoting feminist agitprop, and they do, those who attend should do so with their eyes wide open and know they’re be propagandized.
For my part, I find the ubiquitous, physically aggressive, feminist Mary Sues of current day movies and television to be revolting, unrealistic and unwatchable. Femininity has all but disappeared. And if you doubt it, just ask yourself when was the last time you ever saw a woman in a mainstream movie or television show give the slightest hint of the gentle and quiet spirit that Peter tells us is precious in the sight of God? This is a woman’s greatest strength. But what God calls precious, the feminists call worthless. Ironically enough, by insisting that their strong, liberated female characters utterly reject femininity and walk, talk and fight like men, it just may be that the feminists who run and influence the entertainment industry are the worst misogynists of all.