Feminist critics of Disney+’s hit Star Wars property, “The Mandalorian,” are firing back after being buried by social media, claiming that they are being “harassed” and that they are being critiqued because they are female voices opposed to “patriarchy.”
Last week, career feminist “media critic” and prominent anti-GamerGate personality, Anita Sarkeesian, tweeted that she found the first episode of “The Mandalorian,” which tells the story of a Mandalorian bounty hunter and his adventures with a quarry called “The Child” (better known now as “baby Yoda”), reeking of misogyny because there were no female lead characters.
“Am I extremely tired or is there not a single female speaking character in the first episode of #Mandelorian?? I’ve gotta have missed something right???” Sarkeesian tweeted.
She later attacked series showrunner Jon Favreau for his own contributions to patriarchy and oppression: “I guess Jon Favreau was like “well if we just make all the vehicles female like the ship and the Blurrg then we’re good right? That’s just the right amount of ‘female’…It feels especially jarring given how much the recent films have done to amplify women and women of colour who have been historically marginalized in the franchise.”
“I still feel like I just forgot an entire scene and that in this year of our Lord 2019 an epic blockbuster television show could not be released without any female speaking parts,” she rambled.
But there was one very big problem. There was a female character in the first epsiode of “The Mandalorian” — a Mandalorian guru-slash-blacksmith who fashions armor for the show’s namesake bounty hunter while dispensing ancient Mandalorian wisdom.
Sarkeesian had literally just finished an episode of the show that proved her own point wrong.
That’s not all. Defenders of the show fired back about the show’s — and Favreau’s — overall commitment to incorporating women into “The Mandalorian,” on both the on screen side and the production side. The show’s most recent episode, “The Sin” — and arguably the best episode of the show thus far — was directed by a woman, Deborah Chow, making her the first female director to contribute to the live action Star Wars film and television lexicon.
“The Mandalorian’s” cast list is also a whose who of powerful Hollywood women. Gina Carano joins the cast in Friday’s upcoming epsiode as a fellow bounty hunter named “Cara Dune” — a role that is credited as a “co-starring” role. The show will also reportedly feature Marvel leading lady Ming Na-Wen as an assassin and Bryce Dallas Howard in an as-yet-unannounced role.
All of that information is available in a simple search, though much of it also made headlines back over the summer, when the cast was present together for the first time with showrunner Jon Favreau for a panel.
But facts are tricky things and, according to Sarkeesian, this is all irrelevant. Per Bounding into Comics, it seems Sarkeesian responded by accusing reality of having a decidedly anti-feminist bent.
“Wow. Nearly 3000 replies because one woman voices her opinion that we shouldn’t be at a point anymore where we just accept media that normalizes patriarchy. Cool cool cool. Everyone’s having a normal one I see,” she Tweeted.
Yep, that’s precisely it. She’s wrong because of the patriarchy.
The good news is, she also doubled down.
“Most mass media overwhelmingly centers men, and perpetuates patriarchy. The #Mandalorian is no exception. It wastes no time in establishing a patriarchal setting: the bartender is a man, the bar patrons are men, the cab driver is a man, etc. The first “female” we meet is the ship,” she went on.
She later added that it doesn’t matter that the show features strong female characters, or that Star Wars as a whole regularly celebrates powerful women and has featured them in every iteration since the mid-1970s. It’s still patriarchy!
“It may introduce a few significant female characters later on. Great. It doesn’t change the fact it perpetuates and normalizes patriarchy. We all accept patriarchy in our mass media without batting an eye. When someone calls it out, we get upset. I wonder why,” she concluded.
It’s worth noting that Sarkeesian has made a living offering herself to entertainment companies looking to improve their appeal to women as a consultant on feminist preferences. It’s also worth noting that her consulting company, Feminist Frequency, has been teetering on the edge of extinction for some time.