Geek Girl in Hollywood: 'Star Wars' approaches gender equality

Things are getting better for women —at least in the Lucas-verse.
Princess Leia

Princess Leia won't be the only tough "Sar Wars" character anymore.


As you all know, the new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awaken”s was released this past weekend. As someone who grew up as a “Star Wars” fan, has a website named after a main character and has a Boba Fett helmet and a lightsaber in her trunk (hey, it’s best to be prepared), I was pretty psyched. And by “psyched,” I mean there was undignified, ugly-crying when I watched it.


There was just nothing like “Star Wars” when I was a kid. There were certainly very few female characters like Princess Leia. She was bold, she didn’t take orders, she could shoot far better than any Stormtrooper and she was a Senator! The only issue I had was that there was only one of her. One lone woman in a sea of men. Yes, even the blue elephant in the cantina was a boy. I actually remember asking a friend if no one had moms in the “Star Wars” universe when I was little.


When the first casting list for the new film came out, there was only one new woman (Daisy Ridley) on it, and seven new men. It’s the reason I started Legion of Leia. So you can imagine the joy I’ve felt as woman after woman was added to the cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Christina Chong, Maisie Richardson-Sellers — and the spinoff, "Star Wars: Rogue One" is being lead by Felicity Jones!


Guys might not think about it that much, but as I’ve said in many an article, representation does matter. Heck, I don’t even realize how much it impacts me sometimes. I certainly didn’t realize exactly how much it would mean to me when Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said what she did at the opening ceremonies for Star Wars Celebration. She was asked what “Star Wars” character she would be and she said, “I don’t have many choices ... But that’s going to change.” “Going forward with all we’re talking about there are going to be a lot of wonderful new [female] characters,” she said, talking about her daughters and how important this is.


I immediately got choked up. Tears pricked my eyes. I mean, I knew it was coming. The cast has been out there for months. However, hearing the female president of Lucasfilm saying this on a stage in front of thousands, on a live feed being broadcast around the world made me feel like all the hard work, blogs, websites, Twitter posts, books, fan films, etc., from female “” fans over the years have made an impact. Someone is listening and it means more to me than I can say.

May the Force be with you.

Follow Jenna Busch on Twitter @jennabusch and visit her site, Legion of Leia.
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