Star Wars: "Rey is a woman who refuses to be defined as one."

Error message

NOTE: Son Taylor says I'm all wrong about this, and maybe I am. Read The Atlantic article (linked below in the original text of this post) and decide for yourself if they're right as they're wrong, if you know what I mean? Regardless, what a contrast this is to the Blessed Virgin Mary about whom I'm preaching this morning. So this additional material from The Atlantic:

And Rey proves herself to be, in extremely short order, extremely adept as a fighter. She is brave. She is smart. She is resourceful. She is a pilot of Soloian skill. She has a ninja-like command of a bow staff.

The plot of The Force Awakens, in fact, revolves around—relies on—Rey’s martial abilities. It also gently mocks the characters who would doubt those abilities. Finn, in particular, repeatedly attempts to inject chivalry into situations where chivalry is drastically out of place. During a fight the pair has against the First Order troopers, he runs over to Rey in an attempt to rescue her—only to realize that her attackers have already been neatly dispatched with. When Finn grabs her hand as they flee, she snaps, “I know how to run without you holding my hand.” (A few moments later: “Stop taking my hand!”) When Finn asks her, after another battle with intergalactic baddies, “Are you okay?” she shoots him a why-wouldn’t-I-be look. She replies, simply, “Yeah.”

They’re good jokes, but also loaded ones. Rey, after all, has been surviving all this time not just without her family—they left Jakku years ago, and she’s waiting for them to return—but also without, for the most part, a society. And extreme self-sufficiency has a way of putting social conventions into relief. The broader joke embedded in all these small ones is that all the stuff that makes for chivalry (and inequalities, and patriarchy, and if you stretch things only a teeny bit, maybe even gender itself) is itself extremely contingent. It would never occur to Rey that she would be in need of chivalry’s attentions. She has neither the luxury nor the burden of being a damsel in distress; she’s too busy surviving. She fights alongside men and women and droids, superficial matters of identity—clothing, appearance, even gender—all subsumed under bigger questions that come down to, basically: “Can you fight?”

Now, back to my original post:

Mary Lee and I went to see the first Star Wars movie back during our first year of marriage. It was OK, but nothing special.

(Snark removed.)

Still there's no arguing with success. The latest cleared $100,000,000 the first night. That plus they've updated their sexuality to fit our times, which of course means the latest product exchanges God's gift of heterosexuality for man's wickedness of homosexuality...

From The Atlantic, this description of Star Wars's new "badass" woman:

Rey, the tantalizingly de-surnamed woman played by the Hollywood newcomer Daisy Ridley, may have been dubbed “Star Wars’s first female protagonist,” but that isn’t strictly correct: The franchise has had its Leias and its Padmes. What Rey is, however, is Star Wars’s first feminist protagonist. No distressing damsel, she’s instead a fighter and a survivor and a nurturer and an all-around badass. She may fit the trope-happy cliches of Hollywood lady-ry—the “empowered woman,” the Strong Female Lead—but she’s also something both simpler and more meaningful: a fully realized character. Rey is a woman who refuses to be defined as one.

If you find this bothersome, just keep that helpful motto of modern Christian life in mind: "Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality."

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!