Another day, another visitor to the house asking, “Is your husband a big Star Wars fan?”
Nope. The “May the Force Be With You” throw pillows, Darth Vader soap dispenser and framed print of Calvin and Hobbes dressed as Han and Chewbacca are all mine, baby.
Not that I blame people for thinking I “let” my husband put “his things” around the house. Although females seem well into the Star Wars franchise these days, people tend to think of the die-hard fans of yesteryear being male.
To an extent, I get it. There were hardly any women in the originals, and the fight scenes did involve men waving giant phallic symbols at each other.
But the original Star Wars movies also had everything a girl growing up in the 70s/80s could want.
Imagine, if you can, how it felt for a child (me) who’d only seen women in TV and the movies look hot and acquiesce, watch Princess Leia blast a hole in the wall and shout “Somebody has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, fly boy!”
Holy f*&$#@g crap DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?
Apart from Daisy Duke, who, let’s face it, was T and A with a CB handle, and Jem, who was truly outrageous, the women I saw on TV and in the movies were heavily made up b-words who spent more time fighting each other than the actual evil in their midst.
Not Leia. She went toe-to-toe with the frickin’ Darth, a guy so huge he could have crushed her like an empty Capri Sun pouch. While Joan Collins and Linda Evans were flinging actual mud at each other on Dynasty, Leia was trading jabs with Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin (“I thought I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board” — hell yeah, girl!).
She was more like the women I knew in real life: fierce, tough and not dripping spackle from her face. She also always maintained her composure. (Well, except for when she told Tarkin the rebel base was on Dantooine and that snarky SOB still demonstrated the Death Star’s might by blowing Alderaan to pieces. But her reaction was completely understandable. I mean, it was her home planet and that explosion caused such a disturbance in the Force, what with all the millions of voices crying out in terror and then suddenly getting silenced and everything, who wouldn’t have lost their s—t? I mean, come on.)
But Leia wasn’t the only character to love. How could you not warm to Luke, the whiny little blue-milk-drinking dork who ended up getting wise and jacked and saving the whole freaking universe. Or Chewbacca, so tough and hairy on the outside yet so tender and generous on the inside. Yeah, Obi Wan was kind of a kill joy and Han could be such an a-hole at times, but you eventually came to love them.
And it’s not just the characters. Those films featured some of the best music ever written, some of the most exciting story lines ever conceived, and hands down the best shots of an exploding space station ever recorded.
You didn’t watch those films, you lived in them. From the minute the opening track played you were transported to a world beyond the stars where, even if things weren’t always fair, they made sense.
You didn’t have to feel guilty for hating the bad guys, they didn’t even have faces. Or they were British.
The underdogs were actual dogs. Or bears. Or whatever the hell the Ewoks were supposed to be.
Princesses were spies, farm boys were warriors. You went from the breathtaking vistas of the desert in the first film, to a snowy tundra in the second, to a redwood forest in the third.
Why would any of this appeal only to boys?
I think the stereotype of a nerdy man reliving his childhood fantasies through his action figure collection is a handy one for people to throw around. For me, having a touch of a galaxy far, far away around me is a comfort, and a bit of harmless fun.
My husband, not so much. He’s never seen Star Wars. He thinks the movies look dumb and feels I’m tremendously lame for loving them so much. That’s okay, because he watches UFC, which is, by actual laws of the universe, lame, because it features grown men sticking their heads in each other’s groins and crying.
So, next time you are tempted to think of Star Wars as a “boys’ toys” franchise, keep in mind that, as three of the most incredible films ever made, they have something for everyone, even the ladies.* Especially the ladies when you consider the good looks and smooth lines of Lando Calrissian, a CCAILF (Cloud City Administrator I’d Like To, um, Friend) if there ever was one.
*Yes, three. The prequels are an abomination. The Forces Awakens is okay.