It is often quite telling to compare the opinions of feminists and traditional conservatives on current issues. This is certainly the case in comparing the views of feminists with the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Owen Strachan) regarding the latest Star Wars movie.
Warning: Plot spoilers below.
For feminists the controversy revolves around whether the feminist heroine of the movie (Rey) is too perfect or not. They love that she is a badass warrior, but worry that maybe her feminist perfection has gone too far. As Caroline Franke at Vox.com explains:
Is Rey, the new movie’s protagonist, too perfect to be a good hero? Is she, in fandom speak, a “Mary Sue”?
In The Force Awakens, Rey, a young scavenger with mysterious origins, becomes entangled with the Rebellion, flies the Millennium Falcon without prior experience, discovers that she can tap into The Force, and uses it to her advantage to best a more experienced Jedi. Any additional skills Rey has — mechanical work, hand-to-hand combat, climbing — are explained when we first meet her. She’s been fending for herself on Jakku for years. If she hadn’t picked up those skills, she’d probably be dead.
Feminist Donna Dickens at Hitfix.com argues that asking the question itself is sexist:
So if you have a problem with Rey’s skill set, ask yourself this question: would you even have noticed her ascent to badassery if she’d been a dude named Ray?
One thing is perfectly clear; The Force Awakens is the movie about women in combat that feminists have been dreaming of. Lesbian feminist Patricia Karvelas at The Guardian explains why this is the case in Star Wars is a game-changer, awakening the feminist force in little girls everywhere
Finally we have our female Luke Skywalker – an orphaned scavenger girl alone on the desert of Jakku.
As she prepare to fight scores of Storm Troopers Han hands her a weapon. “You might need this,” he says. She replies: “I think I can handle myself,” and he answers: “That’s why I’m giving it to you.” It really sets the tone of the film.
Clearly feminists loved the movie, and their only concern is if it went too far in the area of feminist propaganda. But what about Christian conservatives, the ones focused (albeit ambivalently) on gender roles? How did the president of the CBMW react to the movie?
Not surprisingly, Owen Strachan quite liked the movie*, and doesn’t note or object to the over the top feminist message. In fact, he especially liked the scene featuring a woman in combat, listing it as one of the four best in the film:
The forest battle between Ren and Rey (Ren’s lightsaber was very cool)
Elsewhere Strachan tells us:
I liked how Rey showed steel as she discovered the power to use the force.
Notably absent from Strachan’s review is a criticism of the movie presenting women as warriors. This is especially noteworthy since the Guardian feminist was so delighted to see a man hand a woman a weapon so she could go fight.
This however isn’t surprising, since Strachan and others at the CBMW are in denial of the feminist goal to erase gender roles (the roles the CBMW exists to defend) when it comes to women in combat. Back in 2013 Strachan wrote:
The decision by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to place women in the front lines of military combat is an anti-woman decision. It seems “pro-woman,” but it’s not. It will put women in situations that are not suited to them.
Strahan closed that piece with the bizarre claim that what we are witnessing isn’t an envy driven feminist usurpation of men’s roles, but men forcing women to usurp their roles:
…the call by men for women to fight in their place is the height of cowardice, and worthy of the strongest possible rebuke.
He echoed the same bizarre denial of reality in a separate article that same year:
If men will not own this responsibility, then women will be forced to take it on as did biblical women such as Deborah and Jael (and the extrabiblical figure Judith). Many modern men fail to mirror Christ in leading, providing, and protecting.
Strachan isn’t alone in this delusion driven by a willful blindness to feminist rebellion. This is a laughably common denial for the CBMW. So it isn’t a surprise that Strachan, who can’t spot the most obvious feminism in the real world, can’t spot the most obvious feminism in the movies. This is true even when the movie matches his own fantasy of a man handing a woman a weapon and telling her to go fight.