Political correctness or representation?

During the week the first trailer for the new Star Wars spin-off, Rogue One, was released and though its reception was for the most part good, I couldn’t help but notice that quite of number of the male population were left, well, disgruntled.

Why? Because the lead is female.

But apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back was not the fact that she is female, per se; no, it’s because she is a strongcomplex female character. And really, that is just a bridge too far.

Something I’ve learned from my experience with writing is that it is easy to create a male character, anything goes. But when it comes to writing a female character, they are often labelled ‘unrealistic’ or worse, a ‘Mary Sue’. This basically means that the character is too good to be true.

Before the start of this semester that reaction would have irked me. But now that I’ve studied feminism more in-dept it has left me completely offended and even enraged. It’s like seeing the writings of the likes of Catharine McKinnon in their proper context. We must ask why it is easy to see male characters such as the luckiest super spy to ever walk the planet, James Bond, as credible while a female character who has her own mind and can go toe to toe with equally strong male characters and come out on top is seen by many men as completely unrealistic.

It seems to me completely baffling that- in a universe where characters battle each other with laser swords and the ultimate weapon to destroy galaxies always seems to have that one spot that, if hit, will cause the whole thing to combust- that another female lead is just too much to believe.

While it would take further analysing to get to the root of the problem, one (male) Twitter user seems to offer a suggestion…

Screenshot (96)

Whether or not this is accurate, it doesn’t matter. There is a problem, that much is evident, and I don’t understand why it’s a bad thing that young girls will have a strong female character to look up to. Especially when up until the last installment, there had never been a female lead in the 6 preceding films. Let me know what you think!

 

All (wo)men created equal?

It’s true that I never really considered myself a feminist– until very recently that is. I would be the first to admit that that was predominantly as a result of my upbringing. I never knew discrimination because of my gender, never knew of the hardships women had to endure outside of what was in my primary school history books.

My life was- is- very comfortable and I’m ashamed to say that there was a time when I genuinely believed that feminism wasn’t needed, that women had gotten to a place where we no longer needed to assert our rights.

My opinion on the matter has done a 180 in the past couple of years, however. Even then, although I subscribed considerably to the views of feminists, I never referred to myself as such. It wasn’t until I was sitting in a class room listening to a male classmate belittle any hardship that women had ever endured by arguing that some men (some being the key word here- he knew of one man who had been ‘discriminated’ against because he was a man) have and do endure the same that I decided that yes, I would label myself as a feminist.

According to a recent study carried out, 1 in 3 women admit to having been the victim of psychological abuse by partner. 1 in 6 admitted to having suffered physical abuse at the hands of a partner (but this, according to the aforementioned classmate, does not tell us anything about the number of male victims- as if that takes away from its credibility).

If you were to ask me what kind of feminist I am (liberal, cultural, radical or postmodern), I would honestly say that I don’t fit rigidly into one category. But the goal is the same, even if some are more extreme in their views than others: equal opportunities regardless of gender.

And that is something that I can definitely get behind.