So Rogue One has landed and practically broke the internet with nerd glee. On the bad side of things it nearly made my heart sink to see some of the pathetic, misinformed complaints aimed at the new film. For some strange reason, some took umbrage with a female lead. Yes, in this day and age, some people actually allowed those thoughts to form words that were posted on Facebook and elsewhere and allowed rage, indignation and whatever adjectives used to describe cliched nerds disagreement.
So why the rage?
I love being a nerd and my nerdy interests, but we are our own worst enemies and often do not know the back-story or history of a particular movie, TV show, book etc. before complaining. THIS however is outright stupidity as women have been featured in sci-fi/fantasy roles for decades!
One of the most popular and iconic is Sigourney Weaver in the ALIEN films. Her character of Ellen Ripley became a strong symbol of female empowerment when first released in 1979. The best part of that movie is that her gender is never an issue. She confronts the problem and deals with it as effectively as possible as any male would. In fact, had the film been made with a male, other than character’s first name, nothing would have needed to be changed.
Before that, on television, Lindsay Wagner became a household name with her ABC series, “The Bionic Woman” in 1976 as Jamie Sommers, the first bionically-enhanced female. She battled a bevy of baddies, both male and female including Bigfoot. That same year Lynda Carter brought “Wonder Woman” to television as the title role fighting Nazis and later modern day baddies. Both actresses became famous for their strong empowerment and showed female resourcefulness and strength. Eschewing stereotypes and surpassing expectations. Both actresses elevate the material higher than it sometimes deserved. Wagner was so good; charming, resourceful, she earned an Emmy in season 2, an unheard of feat at the time!
Star Trek introduced it’s first female Captain in 1995, with Katheryn Janeway at the helm of “Voyager,” and in 1997, my favorite series of all time, Sarah-Michelle Gellar debuted as “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” on the now defunct WB network. A series the defied convention and surpassed expectations, it would go down as the single best genre show of its time, nominated for Emmys and won several prestigious Peabody awards. A 15 year old high school ditz who fate chose to save the world from evil became a metaphor for “high school as a living hell.” Sure, Buffy was a smart-mouth, but she also just wanted to be like everyone else. Underneath her demeanor was a warrior.
Being a big huge horror movie fan, females have always had the lead. Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween,” became the first and best “SCREAM QUEEN,” with her many horror follow ups. She was strong, resourceful- do we see a theme here? The slasher films wouldn’t have survived without the females in the lead. Hammer Horror also employed many great actresses over the years in leads up against Christopher Lee’s Dracula.
Let’s not forget all the great female leads of Hollywood’s early years. Barbara Stanwyk, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Katherine Hepburn to name a few.
And let us not forget all of those great movies with female leads- “Kill Bill Part 1 & 2,” “Jackie Brown,” “Thelma & Louise,” Michelle Yeoh in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Supercop.”
So this controversy has me perplexed. Are these nerds THAT stupid and ignorant of history or are they just stoking the fires for fun or even worse- are they actually sexist pigs? Either way, they come off terribly uninformed and as colossal douche bags. As a nerd, I’m yelling at you all to knock it off, stop playing video games for 5 minutes and research what I’ve told you and thank me later. Stop acting like sexist pigs…
The female characters add depth, spice and humanity to these fantasy worlds, they don’t detract from it.
Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.
Evolve or go away.
Written by: Dan S. Turpin
Edited by: Krystee Anidem
Photo Editing by: Pete Wadsworth