As I said in an earlier post, I am huge fan of sci-fi...I think I might have to really begin to redress my unwavering approval of it though. A few days ago I sat down to watch the Return of The Jedi, with my newly attuned feminist eye. I have come to the decision that as much as I love George Lucas, his vision of the future is not one that includes the role of women as active participants. What about Princess Leigh?? Well what about her, she is only one character in a virtual sea of men saving the world from destruction. As I think back to the final big battle scene in the original Star Wars, all of the fighter pilots attempting to destroy the death star are male. Obviously flying a ship, or plane is not a skill that only men can, or could perfect, and yet it is only men that are up to this Herculean task.
Throughout all 6 movies in the series, men are the villains, heroes, the protagonists, the characters that really matter. We are meant to view the male experience as the universal experience. Some of you may be thinking..this is just entertainment, an imaginary world, why does it matter so much. It matters because even as we dream about what may come, we still cannot conceptualize a world or worlds wherein women participate equally. Movies like Star Wars are not divorced from reality even though they fall within the realm of science fiction, simply because everything we consume is a product of our social discourse.
When women are invisible, or are portrayed as needing men to save them, it only encourages our marginalization. To be truly visionary about the future we need to start conceiving of a future wherein both sexes are adequately represented. I understand that science fiction has largely been an arena for men, but I suggest that including more female roles would not only validate equality between the sexes it would open a whole new audience of viewers. Science fiction will get no more free passes from me. I want to see myself not only represented, but actively saving the world from the evil doers. My dreams of the future involve a time when differences between the sexes are perceived as antiquated and ridiculous. It is time to boldly go where no person has gone before.