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Valar Qringaomis

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On Rey being Overpowered, Female Characters' Lines in Movies and Another Instance I Wasted Time Arguing with Liberals

"Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau (attr - it's actually from Fénélon and Pierre-Claude-Victor Boiste)

***

A: Researchers have found a major problem with ‘The Little Mermaid’ and other Disney movies (on men talking more than women in Disney movies)

I was disappointed by how Frozen fared in this. I wonder how non-princess Disney films hold up (like Big Hero 6 or Inside Out, which had fairly diverse casts).

Me: If you need to tick too many boxes you can't make a film properly

A: a.) I don't follow the link between that statement and what I have shared above. b.) I dispute your statement, as many very successful films are in great part box-checking exercises.

Me: If they want to ensure women speak as much as men it is yet another consideration they need to take into account

It depends how you do it. One reason I didn't like tfa was the need to make rey strong made her unbelievable

B: The Force Awakens has laser swords, planet destroying superweapons and faster than light travel, but you thought a strong female lead was somehow 'unbelievable'?

A: You don't have to ensure that women speak as much as men in every film. However, casting and scripting choices often use men as default where gender would have little impact on a film, but in aggregate can have large impacts on how society views gender. The discrepancies are especially atrocious in a line of fantasy films specifically targeted at young children.

I agree with B. Having delved into the entire EU universe and obsessed over Star Wars as much as I have, I find Rey to be more realistic than original trilogy Luke at the least.

Me: Yup. There's something called in-universe logic.

"The female Rey, who it is heavily implied is Luke’s daughter, is the most underdeveloped character yet in over 14 hours of Star Wars films. Her story arc is practically-speaking non-existent... other major Force-wielders in the series their abilities have previously developed or are developed over years, Rey seemingly does it in less than 12 seconds, rather than parsecs. Her whole trajectory in the film reeks of “god mode”...

In the case of Anakin Skywalker in the prequels, by contrast, we learn that he is the only human pilot to engage in pod racing. His mechanical know-how has been honed over some years, culminating in his construction of both his own pad racer and the droid C-3PO. And when he destroys the droid control ship above Naboo, it is largely as a result of his good fortune, not just long-acquired skill. A decade later and with continuous training, he additionally fails to best Count Dooku on Geonosis...

That’s a plot fueled by meth. To boot, Rey’s piloting and mechanical skills, to the point of knowing everything, is mind-boggingly “get more women in STEM” in its motivations. When she starts teaching Han Solo about the Falcon, things become breathtakingly contrived. It’s as if Abrams was paid by a female science scholarship foundation to drum up some public service announcements via film"

Riley from Alien is a better model if you want "strong female lead". Though the unthinking adherence to this trope hobbles female characters' development.

OT Luke had training from Obi Wan and Yoda and still got his hand cut off in Bespin

Is there evidence that these have "large impacts on how society views gender"? This is a claim that is always bandied around but I've never seen evidence for it

Also should the media reflect society as it is or society as it should be? Why must the media be a social engineering tool?

If in the real world women do not flock to join the military, is it reasonable for them to do so in a fictional world?

40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

20 More Plot Holes in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

The many plot holes in TFA arise from the box ticking exercise to:

- Give fans something like the Original Trilogy
- Have more black people/women characters
- Make black people/women look strong/good
- Have a climatic final battle scene
- Use the old characters and introduce new ones
- Have a reasonable running time
- Make people consume all the tie-in novels and other media to find out what was going on
- Have a dangerous villain (Ren)
- Leave lots of characters alive for the rest of the trilogy
- Sell more toys
- Give cheap thrills/gags

A: LOLZ. I will agree that TFA was a box-ticking exercise, but I reallllly don't see how gender or race of the two main protagonists led to plotholes. The Deus Ex Machina used constantly to move the plot forward (Deus Ex Machina that is alive and well in both previous trilogies) is another beast altogether.

A lot of what is supposedly so unrealistic about Rey's character is explained through the visual representation of her character and small glimpses of her backstory given in her dialogue/relationships with other characters. I preferred it greatly to the exposition-heavy prequels and Luke's "I used to bull's-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home."

Is there any particular reason you would find value in gendering most supporting characters in Disney films as male?

Me: It's not really the gender/race being plotholes, but the need to have a "super strong female character" that made Rey super overpowered

There are Dei Ex Machina. And there are Dei Ex Machina. We do get glimpses of her backstory, but it doesn't explain why she can master the force and lightsaber combat in 7 seconds

B: Maybe women are just better. In-universe, of course.

Me: A: "Is there any particular reason you would find value in gendering most supporting characters in Disney films as male?"

The male is the default gender.

"One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."

I would interpret this differently from the conventional de Beauvoir interpretation.

It's the same way he was the gender neutral pronoun for the longest time.

So in most cases, making characters male makes sense. Because men are neutral, whereas women are special/gendered (it's the same way with gender roles in modern societies in developed countries - e.g. women can wear jeans but men can't wear skirts)

Also people identify more easily with male than female characters. So you can get a wider audience with male than female characters. There's some research on this (excerpted in Balderdash: On Diversity in Casting in Movies and other Media) (I also suspect that people identify more easily with white characters but I haven't found anything on this).

Also Disney worlds tend to be ones where men are more prominent in public life. Look at the historical settings. Women tended to stay in the private realm. It was men who were prominent in the public realm. So unless your story is about cleaning the floor (e.g. Cinderella) you're not going to see so many women in them.

Actually what is interesting is why the majority of Disney protagonists are female. Maybe parents (or fathers at least) are more easily suckered by girls than boys to buy toys and merchandise.

C: Ok, I gotta hop in. I'm geeking out and can't contain myself. It makes perfect sense Rey can do Jedi mind tricks and master light saber fighting after a TELEPATHIC LINK WITH SOMEONE WHO COULD ALREADY DO THOSE THINGS. I mean, she's already super strong with the Force - all it took was absorbing the knowledge/skills from the interrogation scene. How do so many ppl miss this???

A: C: I know! She only uses powers after having Kylo Ren use those same powers on her!

B: Guys guys guys, clearly women can't do that shit! Vaginas interfere with the force!

Me: I'm assuming Rey isn't an ancestor/descendant of X-men's Rogue

And if a "telepathic link" made one a Jedi Master how come all those Jedi padawans and Sith apprentices didn't do the same? Wow, that'd save lots of time training

B: In-universe logic, baby.

Me: In universe logic says that we bring in a new and totally unknown method of "training". Right.

I guess force users need to be careful whose minds they prey into since they may end up teaching them everything they know

B: Especially strong female leads. They're better with the force, after all.

A: There is very well-established precedent that being strong in the force gives you inherent use in some instances (such as piloting). In this case, Rey is able to resist Ren's mind-sap the second time he tries it, probably because she knows what to expect this time. It's not a leap that in feeling his intrusion and resisting it she intuitively twists the mind-sap around, and is then able to use it against the stormtrooper after multiple attempts.

Kind of like how Luke magically learns how to manipulate high-speed proton torpedoes using the force.

C: I think we can agree that Rey is meant to be very exceptional. Therefore it's no stretch of logic to say that she can do some exceptional things. No need to over-think it, I mean this IS the franchise that brought us Jar Jar Binks, after all.

A: "I used to bull's-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home, and they're not much bigger than two meters!"

There's a much closer parallel between the port on the Death Star and womp rats than learning mind tricks and lightsaber combat from a mind sap.

Being strong in the Force helps you do things like pod-racing, sure. But learning how to use the Force is why people go to school and have Masters.

Anakin had more midichlorians than Master Yoda and still got his arm cut off by Dooku. Maybe Rey has mutated midichlorians?

C: The only response I can give, if you don't believe me is that "I find your lack of faith disturbing".

A: I'm not sure piloting a T-16 in atmosphere and firing LOS with lasers corresponds very well to piloting a highly advanced space fighter and firing projectiles at a similar target without computational aid, and then bending the trajectory of said projectiles 90 degrees.

As for lightsaber fighting, Count Dooku was how much older/more experienced than Anakin (while Ren and Rey are roughly the same age and Rey has some combat training, just not lightsaber)? And had Count Dooku just been hit with a fracking bowcaster shot, which was established in the movie to blast stormtroopers through the air? I actually liked how the movie creators had Rey use a short staff fighting style during the lightsaber batle to explain her competence.

Me: Ok

D: I was going to post here that the article was an excellent read, but wow this truly takes the cake.

Don't mind the troll. Actually, each and every point he has made further solidifies the exact issue to which this article is pointing- an inherent societal and cultural mysoginistic disposition that is ingrained in young brains through media. To which some are apparently too feeble minded, or more likely in this specific case drowned in his own narcissistic ideology of "REAL STAR WARS LOGIC," to recognize that the sexist undertones so neatly displayed in the article are spewing out of him.

Me: Right.

Disagreement = trolling, stupidity, narcissism. Nothing new here.

Have fun masturbating each other in your echo chamber.

E: *shlick shlick shlick shlick shlick*
shlick

yeah, no, Gabriel, I think you're earnestly complacent with gender inequity in our society. My comments were mocking in nature.

C: This does raise an interesting question: how do those concerned with gender equity go about demonstrating the reality and persuading those who are willfully (trollfully?) ignorant of such things? If hard empirical linguistic evidence can't do it, as in the article, then what can? (I interpret mocking as a sign of the end of persuasive efforts in most cases).

B: Guy wastes an hour moaning that his beliefs are logical and relevant, despite multiple people refuting him over and over, then accuses us of being in an echo chamber. Yup.

E: You interpreted correctly. I have spent way too many kilojoules on people like that guy. At some point, you need to turn your attentions to actually DOING something about it on a grand scale.

A: If I'm reading Gabriel correctly, he doesn't deny the inequity, he just doesn't see a problem with it.

Me: C: Unfortunately, not everyone responds well to evidence

When I show feminists evidence that the gender pay gap is negligible once you correct for factors like hours worked, time taken off work, industry etc the response is usually one or more of the following:

- accusing me of trolling
- insulting me
- blocking me
- ignoring me and then continuing to spread misleading statistics about the gap
- claiming that anecdata is more important than rigorous statistics

Ho hum.

A: I would say that it is a very minor problem at most

E: Hmmm, that's interesting Gabriel, but irrelevant to the topic at hand. UNLESS you're saying all feminists (aka people who want to work to correct gender inequality) are exactly the same. Is that what you're saying?

Me: I was giving an example of how evidence doesn't work on everyone

E: uh huh. Man, I LOVE how MRA think that's a kill-all point. Like GENDER PAY GAP GUYS! DROP THE MIC!

Me: To quote C:

"I interpret mocking as a sign of the end of persuasive efforts in most cases"

C: Glad you all agree on something finally! :P

F: Wow. Wowowowowowowow. "Male is the default gender." Lololololololololololol. Ol.

Must be terribly narrow in that worldview you have there. I'd go into the various cultures and languages worldwide that don't use gendered pronouns, but nah. Don't wanna make you too uncomfortable.

Oh. Let me just leave this riiiiiiiight here. Consider it a little extracurricular exercise if you like:

Appeal to Tradition

G: I liked the article but loved the comments here even more!

H: Can subalterns speak ... Haha

I: yeah. Houston, we have a problem.
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